Darool Uloom Deoband’s new Vice-Chancellor Maulana Abul QasimNomani has said that the Islamic seminary will oppose theRight to Free and Compulsory Education.
Speaking at a programme organised by the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind in Delhi on Thursday, Nomani described the Right to Education as an attack on the sovereignty of madarsas and other minority institutions. The Human Resource Development Ministry, however, described these apprehensions as baseless.
“The seminary will strongly protest the move to snatch rights of madarsas through RTE and it is with the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which is already opposing it. If minority institutions are not excluded from the Act,Deoband will lodge its protest whether on its own or under the banner of AIMPLB,” the newly-appointed vice-chancellor said. According to Nomani, the Act poses a threat to the independence of madarsas and their education system.
Deoband’s V-C said despite assurances by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, madarsas and other minority educational institutions are yet to be kept out of the ambit of the act. Noomani’s public opposition to RTE comes close on the heels of AIMPLB’s protest meeting against RTE on Sunday.
AIMLB decided to launch a nation-wide agitation against RTE after the month of Ramzan if the Centre does not exclude madarsas and other minority institutions from the ambit of the Act.
On his part, Sibal stressed that the government has no intention of bringing madarsas under RTE. “Madarsas are not treated as schools, therefore do not come under the purview of the Right to Education,” Sibal said.
Apprehensions that RTE and its norms would be applicable to madarsas arise from the law’s definition of schools as any recognised institution imparting elementary education. This definition is not applicable for madarsas. The primary identity of the madarsa is not that of an elementary school, but one that offers religious instruction.
RTE is silent on madarsas because these are not treated as schools by the government. The ministry has a separate scheme for the modernisation of madarsas. The ministry encourages these units to offer modern, secular subjects along with religious instruction.
“Under the Scheme for Providing Quality Education to Madrasas, the government encourages madarsas to offer modern subjects, incentivises training of teachers. But at no point are madarsas treated as schools,” a senior ministry official said. Economic Times