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224Re: [arkitectindia] Madrasa Education System

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  • monam khan
    Feb 1, 2005

            "Madrasa: Concept, Relevance and
                     Scope for Modernisation"




      This should be read in the continuation of Dr. Shaheen Ansari's mail dated February 1, 2005.  Some people may raise questions  about its importance in discussing here.  So, I think, it is important to state about the relevance of this discussion.


      Every Muslim locality has a mosque and majority of them have Madrasas.  We at Ark Foundation believe that instead of building new infrastructure we should work on  reconstructing the already existing Madrasas in the country. This is not only economical but practically viable also. We can get teachers and students easily. What we need is to reorient old teachers of the Madrasas and appoint a couple of new teachers with the background of modern education system.


      Relevance of the discussion also lies in analyzing importance of Madrasas in majority of the Muslim society. In view of the ongoing changes in the social, cultural, economic, and political environment drastic changes is required in Madrasa system of education so that Indian Muslims could come to terms with the changing needs of contemporary Indian society.

      It is true that the  Indian Madrasas  have produced a number of world famous Islamic scholars, but lakhs of Muslims educated from these Madrasas are deprived of the job opportunities because of their ignorance of modern knowledge.  This create a vicious circle as majority of the students going to Madrasas are from economically weaker section of the society. Those who can afford send their children to mainstream schools including public schools.

      The debate is justified in a sense that it will provide a balanced synthesis of the classical and the modern method of teaching. The concern will be to seek ways in which Muslims can learn to integrate the revealed fundamentals and the ever transforming world of modern knowledge. It will show how the changes do not involve the dilution of the traditional thought, but the affirmation of the dynamic nature of the faith.

      Modernisation is understood primarily in relation to the need for modern subjects in Madrasa- not just for their own sake, but also in order to further understand the deeper implications of the Quran. A deeper study of history of the wider world for instance, is one such areas of improvement. Likewise, the study of social sciences, Hindi (national language of India), English (the language of the world) is necessary in order that the graduates feel at home in the world they live in and interact with. At the primary and intermediate levels, the pupils need to be exposed to key subjects taught in the alternative system of education.

      Modernisation is also important in terms of promoting employment oriented programmes. These are programmes through which the pupils will be given technical and professional training as well as religious, in order to be able to maintain themselves and their families. It is also making of Madrasa system of education relevant to modern times. 


      So on behalf of Ark Foundation I would like to request you to kindly throw some light on it.



      Monam Khan


      Research Team

      Modernisation of Madrasa Education

      Ark Foundation


      PS: Friends we are looking for innovative ideas but we will also welcome ideas which you may have come across in books, journals/magazines and newspapers. You can also help us by sending names of references or web links on the above topic.  The purpose is to learn and develop a model for the modernisation of Madrasa education system. So the ideas should not be necessarily  your own creation but relevant to cause or the topic under discussion.

      shaheen ansari <shaheen@...> wrote:

              Madrasa Education System: A debate


      In recent years Madrasas have attracted immense attention in India, more so than mosques and other endowed institutions of India. This has partially been on account of the general perception that fundamentalism, Islamization and extremist violence stem from the Madrasa. Orthodoxy, religious conservatism and obsession to medieval identity remained the main focus of Madrasa education in India. And this is the point from where the demand for debate on modernization of Madrasa on Indian soil gets strengthen.

      Before reaching at any conclusion we should ask ourselves:

        1. Is the perception per se is correct? or
        2. Is it a creation of media? or
        3. Is it propagated by people with vested interest?

      Well, in JNU people have different opinion. To understand this a group of students, coordinated by Monam Khan (monamkhan2002@...), has identified six Madrasa in South Delhi. They have selected South Delhi because it is close to both JNU and IIT, from where we draw most of our volunteers for the programme called "Two Hours A Week". I should tell here that in this programme every volunteer gives at least two hours a week for the development of our underprivileged brethren. Monam is taking this initiative not only to understand the above mentioned perception but also to initiate the experiment of Modernisation of Madrasa Education in India.

      We know that every individual carries his/her own socioeconomic, religious and educational background for his/her understanding on various issues. Several volunteers have come out with different argument to introduce different kind of courses/subjects in order to modernise Madrasas. There was a long debate on the issue and before reaching at any conclusion we decided to share it with the esteemed members of arkitectindia, an online group discussion forum and seek their opinion.

      Some of us believe that the Madrasas are playing a vital role in literacy movement. It is the real foundation of Muslim education in India. Now the questions to ponder are:

        1. Do the people who run these institutions lack clarity of vision about the present day economic and social needs of Indian Muslims?
        2. Are they playing a positive role in the scheme of their education?.
        3. Can Madrasas be converted into vehicles for communication of secular and modern knowledge so that Muslim participation in civil society increases?
        4. Is it possible to empower the entire community through the modernisation of Madrasas?

      Though we will welcome discussion on concept and relevance of Madrasa but we would like to focus on the scope for modernization of Madrasa. We invite suggestion and views for:

        1. Understanding Madrasa Education System
        2. Process or method for its modernization
        3. New syllabus taking into account the changed conditions of modern life and
        4. Steps to improve economic conditions of Madrasa students through vocational training.

      Now the forum is open for debate and discussion on "Madrasa: Concept, Relevance and Scope for Modernisation". Can you spare a few minutes for this cause? Then kindly educate us on the above issue.

      Thanking you
      Yours sincerely
      Shaheen Ansari


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