The government's move to set up a national board to provide modern education in madrasas failed to get the full backing of Muslim MPs today as a majority of them felt that the composition of the proposed body did not fully represent the community.

The HRD Ministry held consultations with the Muslim parliamentarians to take the process of setting up of the Central Madrasa Board forward. While 18 MPs from across various parties turned up for the meet, a majority of them raised concerns over the formation of the board as envisaged in the draft Bill.

“Four to five MPs suggested that such a board should not be formed. There were equal number of MPs who supported such body while about ten of them said the draft should be recast,” HRD Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters.

He said that most of the MPs were of the opinion that the board should be well represented from all sects from the community.

“I have agreed to their views and asked them to give their suggestions within a month on how the board should be formed. After we get their suggestions, we will incorporate them in the draft Bill and circulate for consensus,” he said.

As per the Central Madrasa Board Bill 2009, the proposed body will consist of a chairperson and 15 members.

The members will include three Muslim religious scholars of theology, one each from Deoband school, Barelvi school and Ahi-i-Hadith school.

Integrated development

As per the draft Bill, the proposed body will take measures for comprehensive, systematic and integrated development of the Madrasa education system.

It will undertake an evaluation of curriculum framework once in five years so as to make the madrasa system of education a fit and effective tool for empowerment of Muslims.

The Board will establish equivalency standardisation with other educational institutions and grant certificates or other equivalent distinctions to persons who successfully complete courses of study affiliated to a Madrasa.

Some Muslims MPs wanted certain concepts like curriculum and training to be properly defined in the bill.

Sibal said the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, the body to protect and preserve the educational rights of minorities, had held consultations on the issue after which the draft bill has been prepared.

The bill was prepared after the Sachhar Committee recommended setting up of a national board to provide modern education to Muslim children. At present, about four per cent of the Muslim children are studying in madrasas.

“The community feels that the government may interfere with the theological teaching. But I want to tell them that you let us know how to go forward and then we will move forward accordingly,” Sibal said.

Muslim MPs from CPI, CPM, National Conference, BJP and Samajwadi party attended the consultation programme.