BHUBANESWAR: Madrasas in Odisha are far ahead in embracing modern and contemporary education along with their religious studies even as the issue has sparked a raging controversy in other parts of the country.
The Odisha State Board for Madrasa Education (OSBME) is looking forward to integrating computer education in the curriculum of institutions. Computers have already been introduced at one institution in Kendrapara district and efforts are being made to introduce it in four others, which are imparting education of Matriculation level and upwards.
While Maharashtra Government’s decision to not grant school status to madrasas that do not teach general subjects like science, maths and social sciences along with their theological curriculum has generated outcry, Odisha has taken the very reforms path much earlier.
There are 167 madrasas registered in the State and all of them teach Odia, English, science, maths and history besides the theological studies of Quran, Fequah (the Namaz prayer system), Arabic and Urdu. While the Senior Madrasa at Binjharpur offers MA level (Fazil) education from Class I, Madrasa Sultania at Buxi Bazaar, Cuttack, is up to BA (Alim). Madrasa Gausia Raufia at Dhamnagar goes to plus two level (Mahir) while two others at Balasore and Kendrapara are upto Matric (Maulvi).
There are 13 other madrasas offering education upto seventh class and the rest are from one to five class. Besides, there are scores of masjids where theological studies are offered but not at an institutional-level like madrasas, Secretary, OSBME, Mumtaz Khan said.
For Muslim scholars and teachers of the State, inclusion of general education with Islamic studies in madrasas has contributed to advancement of the community, particularly of the backward sections. There are more than 9000 students studying in madrasas.
“Students of madrasas have seamlessly crossed over conventional educational systems like schools and colleges and achieved high positions in life,” general secretary, All Odisha Madrasa Teachers’ Association Sk Manawar Ahmed said.
An assessment of the state of madrasa education in Odisha has termed the institutions vital for development of the community. With preference for English medium schools increasing day by day, children from poorer sections, who cannot afford private education, opt for madrasa education.
“Though there are funds for madrasa repair, school improvement, learning materials and teachers, infrastructure development is a pressing issue. There should also be greater efforts to generate awareness and persuade parents to enrol girls in the institutions,” said Farhat Amin, secretary Bold Initiative Research and Documentation (BIRD), which conducted the study.