Madrasas throwing open doors to non-muslim students

Those who appeared for the board exam doubled

Updated - July 11, 2016 11:03 pm IST

Published - June 02, 2012 02:01 am IST - KOLKATA:

Madrasas in West Bengal are increasingly opening their doors to non-Muslim students, with one of them making it to the merit list of the West Bengal Board of Madrasa Education (WBBME) recently.

“Not only has the number of non-Muslim candidates appearing in the examination increased this year, but Brajeshawar Maji, a non-Muslim student from Khalatpur High Madrasa in the State's Howrah district also made it to the merit list,” Ghiyasuddin Siddique, president of the board, told The Hindu on Friday.

He said the candidate scored approximately 80 percent marks, and ranked 97th in the merit list.

Officials of the WBBME said the number of non-Muslim students who appeared for the board examination this year doubled, compared to last year. Approximately 1590 such examinees — which is more than four per cent of the total number of candidates — appeared in the board examinations held in February this year, they said.

Interestingly, the number of non-Muslim girls who took the examination is higher than boys. While 723 non-Muslim boys appeared in the examination, the number of girl candidates was 867.

Nurul Islam, the headmaster of Khalatpur High Madrasa, whose non-Muslim student has made it to the board's merit list, says Hindu students comprise 15 per cent of the entire student strength in his madrasa.

“We have seen instances where Hindu students leave schools and join our madrasa,” Mr. Islam said.

He explained madrasas in the State don't limit the curriculum only to subjects like Arabic and Islamic Studies, but give equal emphasis to science, mathematics, and languages, including English.

“Of the 600 madrasas in the State, only 100 are Senior Madrasas which exclusively teach theology. The remaining are High Madrasas where all subjects, including theology, are taught,” Mr. Islam said.

It was the High Madrasas which were attracting students from non-Muslim communities, he said.

Officials of the WBBME claimed that in the past few years, some High Madrasas in the State had more non-Muslim students on their rolls, compared to Muslim students.

Anwar Hussain, headmaster of the Orgram Chatuspalli High Madrasa in the State's Bardhaman district which had 61 per cent non-Muslim students, said this year a Hindu student from his madrasa scored the highest marks in the board examinations.

“Prince Halder, a Hindu student, scored the highest marks in our madrasa. He scored well in Islamic studies, and got the highest marks in Arabic,” Mr. Hussain said.

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