In a significant decision, the Assam government has decided to shut all state-run Madrassas and Sanskrit Tols in the state. The religious schools running in the state will be converted to regular high schools and higher secondary schools within 4-5 months.
Announcing the decision, education minister Himanta Biswa Sharma told media that it is not the job of government to teach religion, religious scriptures and Arabic and other languages for religious purposes. “If someone is teaching religion using own money that is no problem, but if state funding is used to teach Quran, then we have to teach Gita, Bible also,” he said. Therefore, the govt run Madrassas, High Madrassas and Sanskrit Tols (schools) operating in the state will be converted to regular schools very soon.
The minister clarified that only government-run religious schools are being shut down, which means Madrassas run by mosques, Sanskrit schools run by non-govt organisations etc will not be affected by this move.
The teachers working in the Madrassas and Sanskrit Tols will not lose their jobs. Teachers teaching religious subjects will get salaries till their retirement while sitting at home, as they will not be needed to teach anything in the schools. Teachers of other subjects will continue to teach their subjects in the converted general schools.
Himanta Biswa Sarma made this announcement while talking to reporters after launching a scholarship program for students named Gyan Deepika. Under this scheme, college students are being paid Rs 700 per month for ten months in a year towards their expenses. Rs 7000 for the current year is already being transferred to bank accounts of the beneficiary students. He said that from next year, the government will make payment for hostel admission and monthly mess dues on behalf of students staying in hostels.
Earlier the education minister had said that the state government is planning to disband the State Madrassa Education Board and Assam Sanskrit Board, and their academic duties will be handed over to the Board of Secondary Education.