Join madrasa, why sit for tough CBSE board exam?

via Organiser.org - Editorial published on January 8, 2009

The UPA’s weird ideas on affirmative action to appease its vote bank
have taken yet another absurd leap. The latest is to make madrasa
certificates equivalent to CBSE.

According to news reports, the Union Human Resources Ministry
is all set to grant madrasa certificates equal status with the Central
Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) so that it would help in
mainstreaming the students coming out of these Islamic religious
schools. It is not clear if the government is also planning either to
downgrade the CBSE curricula or upgrade the madrasa menu to make the
two certificates academically compatible. But there is no doubt that it
is a crude joke on millions of hard-working students who burn their
mid-night oil to clear the tough Board examinations.

The unkindest cut is that the plan is to implement the
disastrous move with retrospective effect. It is widely believed that
the madrasas are the nurseries of terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism
in India. If mainstreaming is the real concern, better schools should
have been established in Muslim localities and persuaded the Muslim
children to get enrolled in them. Already the government has introduced
a series of incentives to get the minorities more literate and enhance
their competence to compete in the higher levels. Many of these
incentives are denied to children of the majority community though they
are equally under privileged both educationally and economically.
Perhaps it is a crime under the UPA to be born in the majority
community and to be poor. The pampering of the minorities, in a manner
as to discriminate citizens on religious lines against the tenets of
the Constitution or affirmative social action has no legal sanction.
But it has been proved to be politically rewarding for the ruling
clique.

Though the centre has been distributing hundreds of crores
every year to modernise the madrasas they have refused to either
modernise or streamline. They have also been resisting any attempt to
persuade them to adopt some portions of the modern syllabi in their
curriculum. The maulavis have often issued fatwas against any attempt
at modernisation in these institutions though they have no qualms in
receiving huge grants from the tax-payers’ money. As a result, these
madrasas have become islands of superstition, fundamentalism and
divisive activities misleading the children in their formative years to
resist all modern and scientific outlook and integration with the rest
of the society. Again if mainstreaming was a concern, the centre should
have asked the madrasas either to close down or limit themselves to
religious teaching making any certificates issued by these fanatic
institutions invalid. But the UPA seems to have other ideas. It perhaps
wants to encourage the mushrooming of madrasas across the length and
breadth of the country and make them breeding grounds for social
disaffection.

Already at least three universities — Jamia Hamdard, Jamia
Millia and Aligarh University—have recognised certificates from
madrasas for admission to post-graduate courses. The HRD Ministry has
insisted that the UGC must enforce the criteria on other universities
as well. But some universities are resisting the move. Finally, the UGC
has set up a committee to look into the matter. On government records
there are half a million madrasas active across the country.
Unofficially, it is estimated that there are at least a million
madrasas and their number is increasing every year with liberal funding
from Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia.

The UPA claims that its anxiety is the result of the Prime
Minister’s 15-point programme for minorities and that it is one of the
key recommendations of Sachar Committee. Taking the Sachar cover the
government is already making generous contribution to minority
education. And they are highly discriminatory to Hindu students. For
instance, Hindu students get education loans at a rate of 13 per cent
whereas the minority students get it for just three per cent interest
from National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation under
Finance Ministry. To start a business a Hindu youth will get a loan at
15 to 18 per cent from banks after arranging 15 per cent margin money.
But a Muslim youth has to arrange only five per cent of project cost
from his private sources and will get the rest of 35 per cent of the
loan from NMDFC at three per cent interest and the balance 60 per cent
from commercial bank at two per cent. To ensure Muslim students
admission in the top institutions like IIMs, IITs and AIIMS the entire
fees is being given by the government. To prepare them for this and
other public service tests the entire coaching fee is given by the
government. The students are also given a pocket money from the
tax-payers’ kitty. The UPA has also announced lakhs of scholarships
only for minority students. All these are denied to Hindu students.
Now, the discrimination is total, with the centre making madrasa
certificate equivalent with the hard-earned CBSE certificate. Should
all the Hindu students leave government and public schools and join
madrasas for a simple and cost-effective qualifying certificate? Or is
the UPA determined to destroy the higher education in the country?

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