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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

UP schools converting to madrassas: Report

Press Trust of India

Monday, April 20, 2009, (New Delhi)The Centre has sought a status report from the Uttar Pradesh government on media reports that several private schools in the state have converted into madrassas in the last two months to avail of special benefits.

Taking cognisance of reports that scores of private schools converted into madrassas, the Ministry of HRD has asked the state government to conduct an enquiry and submit a report, stating the factual position.

According to reports, schools have been converted with the aim to get benefit from the Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madarassa (SPQEM), launched by the Union government in February this year.

In the letter to the state government, the ministry said they should find out the affiliations and standing of the schools which have been reportedly converted.

“The state government has been asked to state the action taken by it in curbing the trend, if such conversion is happening,” a senior ministry official said in New Delhi.

Reports said most of these schools are run by Muslims and do not have more than one year of standing. However, as per norms madrassas, which have been in existence at least for three years and registered under central or state government Acts or Madrassa Board or with WAKF Boards or NIOS shall be eligible to apply for assistance under this programme.

“Ultimately the state government will recommend the madrassas for consideration under the scheme. So they should be careful while recommending the madrassas,” the official said.
Reports said the schools which have been converted were formal schools and were following syllabus and textbooks of the state education board.

At present, about 3000 madrassas from Uttar Pradesh are getting funding from the government under several schemes, including Madrassa Modernisation Programme.

The government launched the SPQEM scheme in February which aims at improving quality education in madrassas by introducing modern subjects and providing vocational training to students.

The scheme will provide funds to madrassas and maktabs to introduce modern subjects like Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Hindi and English in their curriculum. The scheme envisages an expenditure of about Rs 325 crore in the Xith Plan.

The financial assistance will be given yearly under the scheme through the state governments/Union Territory Administrations in whose jurisdiction the institution is situated.

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