Consensus eluded a daylong meeting of Muslim religious leaders on a model of an autonomous Central Madarsa Board suggested by the National Commission for Minority Education Institutions.
The commission on Sunday had circulated a concept note stating that the madarsa board will have statutory powers and will be outside the purview of the government. Moreover, the madarsas will have freedom to run schools without being affiliated to the board. "Affiliation to the board would be voluntary, and it would be set up under a Parliamentary act and have no control over madarsas in states," Justice (retd) AA Siddiqui, chairman of the commission, said.
Now, based on the daylong deliberations with representatives of madarsas and minority commissions from all over the country, the commission will submit its report to the HRD ministry. "In three weeks the report with specific recommendations will be submitted to the ministry," a commission official, said.
Among those, who didn't agree with the commission was Kamal Faruqui of All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board. "We want the government to leave madarsas alone," he said.
The Sachar Committee had favoured working out mechanisms for linking madarsas to a higher secondary school board for integrating the traditional way of teaching with mainstream education.
However, HRD minister Arjun Singh said the government was open to suggestions from all quarters to set up a Central Madarsa Board to modernise education in these seminaries. "There is this theory that thousands of madarsas have sprung up in the country and most of them are breeding terrorists. It is not true," he said, while delivering the inaugural address at the meeting.
Admitting of poor state of education among Muslims, Singh called upon the community leaders to come up with suggestions to change the scenario before commencement of 11th five-year plan. "Statistics have shown hardly four per cent of Muslim children go to these madarsas and it is the responsibility of the government to correct those figures," he said.
Singh on Saturday constituted a 13-member committee headed by Minister of State MAA Fatmi to examine the Sachar panel's recommendations on education and to prepare a plan of action. He, however, ruled any reservation to Muslims based on religion.