By Abdul Hannan Siwani Nadvi,
There is no doubt over avails of this law. It provides children between 6 to 14 years of age with the right to get education. If we take a look at this law, it clears central government’s intention in educating every child whether he is from tribal caste or from minority communities. However, some concerns raised by the Muslim community are genuine and need to be addressed.
According to this Right to Education Act, government will take all responsibilities of education of the 6 to 14 year old children. The government will make arrangement and will make sure in providing education to every child. Muslim community’s children can make their future bright under this law.
In spite of appreciating government’s move in eliminating illiteracy from the country, this bill is a killer of minority community institutions and their schools. Surely, madarsas and their modern institutions will be affected more if the law is implemented in its present form.
There are some points below that show how this law can affect Madrasas and the schools run by Muslims.
1. This law is silent on Madarsas, its education, syllabus and the students studying there.
2. Government’s approved education which is being imparted in government-run schools or in government-affiliated schools, is acceptable only as stated in the adjectives of the Education in this law. Such as, government’s approved and prepared syllabus will be acceptable only under this law.
Question arises here; will government accept the Madarsas syllabus? Will the education being delivered in these Madrasas be acceptable? What’s the future of Madarsas students according to this law?
3. According to it, nobody can open schools without government’s approval.
4. The adjectives and the conditions of schools are stated in this bill. Madrasas are unable to fulfill these conditions.
5. Who violates it will be punished in terms of Rs one lac as fine for the first time, after that they will be given three years to correct their mistakes, and Rs 10 thousand as fine everyday if they do not follow government’s guidelines.
6. According to it, other private schools, private Madrasas and private institutions run by Muslims will be closed automatically. Their independence is unacceptable by this new law.
7. Government will prepare the syllabus and finalize which kind of education to be taught in the schools. In that situation too, Muslims children will be deprived from their religious education. They cannot access to study and read their history.
8. This bill not only destroys Muslim’s centuries-old, religious education system, but also forbids them from opening their schools or Madarsas and teaching there the syllabus prepared by them only.
In a conference held by Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind earlier this month, Mr. Kapil Sibal had said that government will not interfere in Madarsas education. It is possible that current government will not obstruct in these institutions, however, is there any guaranty that next government will not intrude in Madarsas education in the garb of this law?
As the bill has become a law now are only assurance and guidelines can take the place of law? Or can it be accepted in the court if it is challenged by anyone in the future?
Everyone knows that various governments have tried to take Madrasas in their control. This law facilitates such efforts and provides a way within the law to stop Muslims from running the Madarsas.
In future, when Hindutva sympathizers will come to power in center, as we have experienced in past, why will their government protect Madarsas which have been a big hurdle in their eyes from the beginning.
If UPA government is honest in its work, then why is it hesitating in bringing amendment in the law to eliminate Muslims’ doubts? The current government can take any legal step to clear the air over rights of minority education which is granted under section of 29 and 30.
Muslim leaders should oppose this law and try to convince the government to make amendments in it to keep state or central government in future from encroaching upon Minority’s right of education and opening their schools and Madarsas.
(The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)