Kashmir voices call for Madrasa reforms

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By Fast Kashmir on 18/01/2018.

Kashmir voices call for Madrasa reforms
Srinagar, Jan 18: The word Madrasa usually refers to a specific type of religious school or college for the study of the Islamic religion, though this may not be the only subject studied. In some countries, not all students in Madrasas are Muslims; there is also a modern curriculum.
In our state Jammu and Kashmir the Madrasa have played a prominent role but with growing time the need is being felt to reform the Madrasa system to make it more efficient and ensure correct interpretation of religion, promoting global harmony and prosperity besides developing a solid knowledge base. The fact is the government has no idea how many Madrasas are there in State. Or at least, the confused answers have been given to this question from time to time. The government has failed to do a concrete study and need basis analysis of the Madrassa System.
Mushtaq ul haq Ahmed Sikandar, who recently authored a book on the subject titled ‘Bridging the Divide: Call for a new Dawn,’ while talking to Kashmir News Bureau said “Madrasas need to reform their curriculum, pedagogy and administrative set up. Most of the madrasas are run as personal fiefdoms by their founders and later by their families. Most of them are run on business model patterns wherein the heirs inherit the property and students of madrasas.”
“The curriculum is outdated based on Dars e Nizami that was sufficient to create administrative officers for Mughal Empire, but now most of the texts are redundant to meet the modern challenges.
Further in most madrasas Islam is not taught on the basis of Quran and Hadith but through Fiqh (jurisprudence) that is variegated depending on the school of thought and jurisprudence the madrasa adheres to. Most of the students are taught to defend their maslaks not Islam. Also, the voices for introducing subjects like social sciences and English language have met with little success. Thus we witness that madrasa alumina are most outdated when it comes to understanding and tackling the modern challenges. Regarding pedagogy the text based approach should be relaxed, that includes giving up the teacher-centric approach and replacing it with student centric one,” Mushtaq added.
Taking to KNB, Khalid Hussain a scholar said, “Definitely secular sciences must be included in the curriculum of Madrasas, adding, students of Madrasas should be aware of the achievements of their ancestors especially in field of science.”
“I feel there is a high need to introduce modern technology classes in Madrasas, besides the issue of unhygienic food and clothes should also be addressed,” said Umar Qadir who runs a religious seminary in old city Srinagar named Maktabah Muhammad bin Qasim.
Focusing on the core problem of curricular reform, the way things are interpreted and the career placement of pass outs can provide us a path out of the current policy ambivalence about madrassas. Many are saying that the students they teach are often among the Kashmiris poorest, who receive food and an education for free, thus these Madrassas remain highly unaccountable. (KNB)