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Why have ‘Madrasas’ been in the spotlight in Uttar Pradesh? | Explained


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004

Mains level: Recent Judgement of Supreme court

Why in the news? 

Recently the three-judge Supreme Court Bench stayed a ruling of the Allahabad High Court on the U.P. Board of Madrasa Education Act 2004 calling it an infringement of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

  • Earlier, the HC had dubbed the U.P. Board of Madrasa Education Act “Unconstitutional and asked for immediate closure of the madrasas. It called for the relocation and integration of the madrasa students with regular schools.

Why are madrasas in the spotlight?

  • Uttar Pradesh has approximately 25,000 madrasas, out of which 16,500 are recognized by the U.P. Madrasa Education Board.
    • Only 560 madrasas receive grants from the government, leading to complaints of delayed payment and salary arrears.
    • Irregular madrasas, often lacking resources, provide only elementary learning.
  • In 2022, the U.P. Government ordered a survey to identify unrecognised or illegal madrasas.
  • A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed to investigate alleged foreign funding sources for the madrasas, claiming over ₹100 crore had been received from abroad over three years. However, evidence supporting these claims was not made public.

About Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004:

  • The Act sought to oversee and administer the operations of madrasas (Islamic educational institutions) in Uttar Pradesh, providing guidelines for their establishment, recognition, curriculum, and management.
  •  It led to the formation of the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education, tasked with regulating and supervising madrasa activities throughout the state.

Concerns Regarding the Act:

  • Limited Curriculum: Upon examination of madrasa syllabi, the High Court noted a curriculum heavily focused on Islamic studies, with limited emphasis on modern subjects.
  • Conflict with Higher Education Standards: The Act raised concerns regarding its conflict with Section 22 of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, 1956, which led to questions about its compliance with higher education norms

Conclusion: Madrasas in Uttar Pradesh are under scrutiny due to a recent Supreme Court stay on the Allahabad High Court ruling, citing infringement of fundamental rights. Concerns persist over grants, quality of education, and compatibility with higher education standards.

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