Big Question In This UP Madarsa: How To Implement Government's Textbooks Order

In the months that Yogi Adityanath's government has been in power in Uttar Pradesh, there has been a special focus on Islamic seminaries.

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There are no specialized teachers for subjects like Science and Maths

Barabanki:  At Barabanki's oldest Madrasa or Islamic Seminary, implementing the Uttar Pradesh government's new compulsory Maths and Science teaching order for students above Class 8 - using NCERT textbooks - is likely to pose a headache for Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi, the acting principal and sole religious teacher at the 70-year-old state government funded Darul Uloom Madrasa.  

The seminary has 63 students above Class 8, who have all opted for specialized religious training courses. Another 300-odd study between Class 1 and 8, where Science and Maths are compulsory subjects for appropriate classes. But in the last three decades, the number of teaching staff here has come down from 23 to just eight - no new teachers have been hired and there are no specialized teachers for subjects like Science and Maths even in the junior section. 

"I welcome the Yogi government's move with the condition that teachers have to be here. Without teachers how will we teach? Books and teachers have to be arranged," says Mr Qasmi. 

But for Madrasa students like 18-year-old Sakina - studying to be a religious scholar - the UP government's move has a big thumbs up. Like many others who go to Madrasas, Sakina is from an extremely poor family. She lost her father many years ago - after her time at the Madrasa, she helps her mother run a small general store in her village 20 kilometres away from Barabanki. 

"Whether it is man or a woman they have every right to move ahead in life. Maybe someone like me could open a coaching centre, teach other students if I was imparted the right training. I have Science as an optional subject here but there is no Science teacher. Only by giving books... this won't work," she says. 

On the streets of Barabanki, former Madrasa students like Imran Ahmed, who dropped out after Class 8 and then worked his way from being a helper at a local store to owning his own cloth shop, says more focused teaching at seminaries is much needed. "I have not sent my children to a Madrasa... the private school they go to - all subjects are taught... and they are taught well," says Mr Ahmed. 

In the months that Yogi Adityanath's government has been in power in UP, there has been a special focus on Islamic seminaries. In August this year, the government asked all 16,000 Madrasas in UP to register themselves online with the government - a verification into their authenticity is currently on. In the same month, the government directed all Madrasas in the state to unfurl the national flag on Independence Day and outlined the events after the unfurling of the national flag.

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