With a section of the Muslim community expressing reservations about the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act for fear that it would eventually end the autonomy of madrasas, Minister of State for Human Resource Development D. Purandeswari has clarified that these institutions had been kept outside the purview of this law.

Speaking at the All-India Editors' Conference on Social and Infrastructure Issues, organised by the Press Information Bureau here on Tuesday, Ms. Purandeswari said the Right to Education (RTE) Act was not binding on madrasas and only those voluntarily opting to impart modern education under the Act, apart from religious education could do so. But the government would not make it mandatory.

Among other things, a section of clerics has expressed fear that all madrasas imparting full-time elementary education to children in the age group 6-14 could be “prosecuted” by the government for obstructing the right of children to attend recognised schooling. This issue was also raised at a recent meeting of the National Monitoring Committee on Minority Education of the Human Resource Development Ministry.

Ms. Purandeswari said the government was dovetailing the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan into the Right to Education.