GUWAHATI — All government-run madrassas in Assam will be abolished and over 620 such establishments will be transformed into general schools from April 1 onwards after a legislation passed to this effect by the state Assembly on December 30 got the Governors assent, Assam Education and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday.
An official of the Education Department said that Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi has given his assent to ‘The Assam Repealing Act 2020’ and with the enforcement of the stated act, over 620 madrassas would be transformed into general schools from April 1.
However, the state government is yet to take any specific decision about hundreds of privately-run madrassas across Assam.
Terming the development as “historic” and “progressive”, Sarma said in a tweet: “Glad that The Assam Repealing Act 2020 has recieved the assent of Hon Governor & has come into effect. Madrassa Edu Provincialisation Act, 1995 and Assam Madrassa Education Act, 2018 stand repealed. All govt Madrassas will run as general education inst.”
Amid protests by the opposition parties, including the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front, the state Assembly had passed the Assam Repealing Bill 2020 on Decembr 30 last yr, seeking to abolish the Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialisation) Act, 1995 and the Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialisation of Services of Employees and Re-Organisation of Madrassa Educational Institutions) Act, 2018.
Education department officials stated that with the enforcement of the act, the State Madrassa Education Board in Assam would also be disbanded.
The Education Minister had earlier said that the 97 government-run Sanskrit tols (centres of Vedic education) would also be shut as the government can’t fund religious education because it’s a “secular entity”.
He had stated that these 97 Sanskrit tols would be handed over to the Kumar Bhaskarvarma Sanskrit University. The tols will be converted into centres of learning and research where Indian culture, civilisation and nationalism will be studied.
“Irrespective of religion, Indian culture, civilisation and nationalism will be taught in these transformed academic establishments, making Assam the primary Indian state to show on these themes,” Sarma told the media.
Sarma had stated that the state government had been spending Rs 260 crore yearly for operating the madrassas and “the government can’t spend public money for religious teaching”.
A survey conducted by a Gauhati University professor, who happens to be a Muslim, found that the parents and guardians of most madrassa students are not aware that their kids are not taught common subjects however imparted lessons mostly in theology.
Sarma claimed that most Islamic students are also not in favour of madrassas run by the government, and added that these had been a legacy of the Muslim League.
The Education Minister had stated that madrassa education had begun in Assam in 1934 when Sir Syed Muhammad Saadulla was the Prime Minister of Assam during the British regime.