NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has recommended that religious minority schools such as Madarsas and missionary schools be brought under the ambit of Right to Education act.
The child rights’ body has also put a question mark on the quality of education being imparted in Madaras and has said that about 2 crore children attending these institutes across India are “as good as out-of-school kids”.
The views were presented by the NCPCR in a meeting of the monitoring committee on minority education that was constituted by the HRD ministry last year. Several NGOs, education experts and representatives from centre and the states took part in it on Monday.
“The irony is that while missionary schools follow fundamental syllabi like normal schools and have become elitist, Madaras are just imparting religious education and are meant for marginalised and deprived sections—but they both enjoy some exemptions from RTE provisions,” NCPCR member (education) Priyank Kanoongo told The New Indian Express after the meeting.
“We feel that changes should be made in the law to ensure that missionary schools start giving 25 per cent reservations to students belonging to economic weaker sections and syllabi followed in Madarsas should progress towards universal curriculum so that children attending them don’t miss out on their fundamental rights of education,” he added.
“There should be a bridge between Article 21 (A) which provides the right to education to children between 6-14 years and Article 30 of the Constitution which deals with minority education.”
NCPCR team over last one month has been reviewing Madarsa and missionary school education in 18 cities across India including in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and has found that the quality of education in most Madarsas is not up to mark.
These recommendations by NCPCR, which have large policy implications, have come at a time when several BJP-RSS leaders have also suggested that changes in the existing provisions should be made to bring exemptions offered to minority institution to an end.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat last year had said that all minority institutions should offer reservations to EWS category students under the RTE act while UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has been pushing for “modernisation” of Madarsa education and had even cleared a proposal to adopt NCERT syllabus in these religious schools.