The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Committee ready with madarsa reform tips

Calcutta, Sept. 28: The committee constituted to suggest measures to modernise madarsas in the state is ready with its recommendations.

The panel headed by A.R. Kidwai, constituted in March last year, will submit its report to the chief minister on Monday.

Kidwai, who was in the city with members of the committee, met several government officials today and state minority commission chief Justice K.M. Yusuf.

If Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is not available on Monday, the report will be given to him any day after that, said Yusuf, who is also the vice-chairman of the commission.

It is learnt that the panel has stressed on imparting science education in the madarsas apart from the traditional papers taught there. Recommendations have been made for setting up laboratories and libraries in the institutions to help the students get a grasp of the science subjects.

The seven-member committee had to work with six for some time after the death of Prof. Mohammad Rahamatullah.

More than 200 madarsas in the state are awaiting recognition from the state government. The government is waiting for the committee’s recommendations before issuing permits to the new madarsas.

It was not known whether the Kidwai committee has specifically made recommendations on granting recognition to new madarsas. But the panel was expected to fix pre-conditions for the institutions to be eligible for recognition.

Sources said the government would scrap the recognition of a madarsa if it failed to abide by the committee’s stipulations.

The Kidwai committee’s report on madarsa education is significant for the state government. The chief minister had created a flutter in political circles and among members of the minority community after he made statements on the objectives of the institutions, especially those in the border districts.

Bhattacharjee had insinuated that some madarsas were engaged in anti-national activities and that the government would launch a crackdown.

The comments evoked a mixed response. The CPM had to do some tightrope walking on the controversy after some senior ministers in the BJP-led Union government supported Bhattacharjee’s remarks on madarsa education.

The party felt that a section of the BJP’s central leadership was trying to extract political mileage over the issue making capital of Bhattacharjee’s remarks.

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