Enrolment of madrasa students from U.P., Bihar sees a dip

Awareness on the importance of school education and increased vigilance cited as reasons

Published - May 05, 2018 10:58 pm IST - HYDERABAD

An estimated 30% to 40% of students studying in large and small madrasas in the State are from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, but the numbers are gradually falling.

Maulana Hafiz Peer Shabbir, president of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh chapter of Jamiat-e-Ulama Hind, a pan-India body of Muslim clerics, said while no definitive study on the number of such students was available, the downward trend was not only due to Islamic seminaries coming up in the two north Indian States, but owing to the awareness on the importance of school education and increased vigilance.

“We used to see students coming here by the droves. So much so that around three years ago, at Secunderabad railway station, police thought they were being trafficked and detained them as well as the teachers. The number of students from U.P. and Bihar is around 40%, but the drop in enrolment is approximately by 10%,” said Maulana Shabbir.

He said the Jamiat has been discouraging parents from sending children to the State for short-term courses such as Hifz (memorising the Quran). The nine-year Aalim course and the subsequent two-year Mufti course are different, he said. Others pointed out that the mushrooming of residential schools for minorities too has affected enrolments in madrasas.

The government records show that as many as 57,000 students had enrolled in madrasas across the State in 2016-17. And while the government provided financial assistance to 511 such Islamic seminaries under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the same year, experts said the State has around 2,500 madrasas and maktabs.

But the madrasas are not strangers to controversy. While a Maulvi was arrested on Thursday for allegedly sexually assaulting minors at an Asifnagar madrasa, financial frauds too have come to light. It was only last year that the alleged instances of fund embezzlement was found in the 16 SSA-supported madrasas. Responding to a question in the Legislative Assembly, Education Minister Kadiyam Srihari said several officials were suspended for their alleged role in fund misappropriation.

While the government-administered madrasa boards, which emphasise teaching subjects like English and mathematics, exist in U.P. and Bihar, a large section of religious leaders from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh continue to oppose it.

“It was before the bifurcation of the State that the Congress government seemed interested in mainstreaming madrasa students, which the SSA categorises as ‘out-of-school children’. But the opposition and bifurcation stalled the activity. There is a need for self-assessment in madrasas, otherwise it’s likely that the governments will intervene,” activist S.Q. Masood said.

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