HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday told Muslim religious leaders that legally valid guidelines would be issued to ensure the Right to Education Act did not hinder madrassas, but ruled out an “immediate amendment”.
With this, a bridge between him and influential madrassa administrators appeared to have been built, but Sibal strongly urged them to reflect on the importance of modern education for the community.
“Our government is miles away from interfering with religious education. But apart from religious education, what can it offer to the community? We want every Muslim child to have access to education and be able to compete with the best,” he told a conference organised by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind.
Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind leader Mahmood Madni, however, demanded that these guidelines should be followed up with suitable amendments.
The madrassas, which have resisted efforts of the HRD ministry to float a national board to reform and standardise curriculum, proposed to come up with their own reforms and seek government recognition.
Sibal said, for this, they would have to be conform to some standards of curriculum and teaching. “The Constitution confers religious minorities with the right to administer their institutions but not mal-administer them,” he added.
Sibal said his ambition was to create “800 world-class universities”.
“Where will we get candidates and how will Muslims compete if they do not have access to education?” he asked.