Dhaka Tribune Editorial
September 18, 2013
Bangladesh can take a lesson from the Indonesian model, where Islamic schools are widespread, but do not offer a lesser education
The best way forward for our Qaumi madrasas is to accept government regulation that enforces a common national standard in their school curriculum. Such a move would be beneficial to madrasa students as well as the country as a whole.
A recommendation titled the Qaumi Madrasa Education Policy was submitted by a government committee to bring madrasa education more in line with the mainstream. The policy would introduce a six-tier education system and would also mandate the inclusion of subjects like English and social science, as well as a provision for women’s education. Such a move would be a step in the right direction.
Bangladesh can take a lesson from the Indonesian model, where Islamic schools are widespread, but do not offer a lesser education, instead integrating modern scientific education and standardised tests into the curriculum.
Qaumi madrasa teachers and students have said they would resist any efforts to regulate the Qaumi system, going so far as to say they would “sacrifice blood” to preserve their “uniqueness.”
These calls for resistance are counterproductive and are likely to hold back the prospects of madrasa students when it comes to the competitive job market. As things stand now, the Qaumi system grants certificates that are not recognised by any authority, cutting these students out of the mainstream workforce, and dooming them to a future of very limited options.
Madrasas have every right to operate, and proposed regulations should not be seen as an anti-madrasa step. The notion that the Qaumi system is its own authority and should stay outside of common national standards is an outdated one and should be scrapped.