Millennium Post

Yogi's 'third' eye on UP Madarsas

Yogis third eye on UP Madarsas
After the much-hyped diktat asking the aided Uttar Pradesh madrasas to ensure the recital of the national anthem by their students during the Independence Day celebrations on August 15, and submitting the footage of the function to the authorities, besides launching an exclusive portal for madrasas, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath government has announced their geo-tagging. The government has said that for keeping a constant vigil on the trespassers posing as students and staff, all madrasas across the state will be geo-tagged through a GPS-based service. These minority educational institutions, offering study in Islamic theology and religious law, had also been asked to share maps of classrooms, photographs of the building and teachers' banking details, besides uploading all the employee's Aadhaar details to the newly launched portal. The state government had made it mandatory for the madrasas to be registered on the portal. With this new order, at least 10,000 more accredited madrasas have to provide their information. At present, around 8,000 madrasas in Uttar Pradesh – including 560 fully-aided – are recognised by the Uttar Pradesh Madarsa Shiksha Parishad, an autonomous body of the government. These educational institutions have also been asked to maintain records of all functions conducted within their premises. This new notification, however, is said to have been motivated by the goal of proper development and modernisation of Islamic education in the state. The government order states: "The launch of the portal and other services is to ensure development, competency-mapping, simplification of processes and improvement in education quality of madrasas," the order said.

The state government also plans to modernise these institutions and introduce contemporary pedagogy to enable its students to come at par with students of other educational systems to capture better job opportunities. As proclaimed in the UP Annual Budget 2017-18, the government had allocated about Rs 1,700 crore towards minorities' welfare and Rs 394 crore out of it had been allocated towards providing modern education in recognised madrasas and maqtabs (primary schools). On the other hand, for partly defying the Yogi Adityanath government's order that the tricolour must be unfurled and the national anthem recited on their premises as part of Independence Day celebrations, quite a few madrasas in Uttar Pradesh fear facing action under the stringent National Security Act (NSA). Nevertheless, only time can tell about the impact of this GPS-enabling of madrasas, but at present, it seems that such diktats are themselves defying the true spirit of the education system in India stating 'sa vidya ya vimuktaye' (What frees the mind is education). And, even if keeping a scanner on them is necessary – the government should keep a close eye on one and all. It should then lead to the comprehensive development of education system in the state for all the communities.
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