13 Feb 2020
Assam to convert state-run madrassas, Sanskrit centers into regular schools
The institutions of religious teaching will be shut since "the government is a secular entity," Sarma said.
The government plans to convert the institutes into regular schools instead.
Here are more details.
Not government's job to fund religious teachings: Sarma
According to PTI, Sarma said that all government-aided madrassas and Sanskrit tols will be shut since it is not the government's job to provide religious books.
He said if government funds are used to offer religious teachings, then the Gita also had to be taught in Sanskrit tols.
He said the institutions will be converted to high and higher secondary schools within three-four months.
Madrassas, Sanskrit tols offer matriculation, high secondary certificates
Sarma told NDTV, "We have about 1,200 madrassas and 200 Sanskrit tols in Assam without any independent boards to run them."
He added, "A lot of problems have cropped up because these people get a certificate equivalent to matriculation or high secondary school. That is why the state government has decided to convert all madrassas and Sanskrit tols into regular schools."
Will introduce law to manage private institutions: Sarma
Although private madrassas and tols will not be impacted by this move, the Assam government plans to introduce strict regulations to manage their functioning.
Sarma said, "We will soon bring a new law to ensure they function in accordance with a regulatory framework."
He added, "As the state government is a secular entity, it cannot fund organizations involved in religious teaching."
Sarma said the government aims to ensure proper education
Sarma said, "As the students going to these places are under 14, it is often their parents who decide where they should be admitted. We don't want any student to be deprived of general education due to overindulgence in religious learning."
He added, "We will bring a regulation requiring madrassas to make certain mandatory disclosures and impart compulsory general education along with religious teachings."
Assam disbanded madrassas, Sanskrit Tol Board in 2017
In 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Assam had notably disbanded madrassas and the Sanskrit Tol Board, merging the two with the Secondary Board of Education, Assam. Now, the government intends to shut them down entirely.