April 05, 2018

India: Students of madrassas and pathshalas may have to kiss their job future goodbye - Editorial, DNA

Daily News and Analysis (DNA)

DNA Edit: Students of madrassas and pathshalas may have to kiss their job future goodbye

Written By DNA

Updated: Apr 5, 2018, 08:37 AM IST

The Central Advisory Board of Education’s recommendation to the HRD ministry to consider children studying in unrecognised pathshalas and madrassas as out-of-school students, can render their future uncertain.

In many communities, these small centres of religious learning are deemed more important that government-recognised educational institutions. Most of these establishments are loath to embrace the modern curriculum and have virtually no access to technology.
The teachers concentrate on scriptures and other religious texts as the basis for imparting education. In India’s protracted struggle against illiteracy, madrassas and pathshalas have done their bit, albeit in a limited fashion.
However, their reluctance to join the mainstream stems from the fear of losing their identity and relevance. It’s a classic battle between science and age-old beliefs. However, there are lakhs of youngsters who are forced to leave school in order to supplement their families’ income.
There is also a strong gender bias against educating the girl child. Moreover, lack of toilets, or their unhygienic conditions, often acts as an impediment for girls. Many schools in this country lack teachers, thus forcing students, bereft of an alternative in their neighbourhood, to abandon education.
Along with creating exhaustive databases of out-of-school children, the Centre and state governments would do well to improve the condition of government-run institutions. State governments should also renew their drive to bring these religious educational centres into their fold.
In many cases, incentives – financial and otherwise – can bring about a change in rigid mindsets. Governments should also take note of the National Sample Survey Organisation’s 2015 findings. The survey revealed that more than 32 children out of 100 who dropped out of school in the age-group of 10-14 did so because they did not think education was necessary. There are systemic flaws in our education system because the future of children is accorded least priority in the nation-building exercise.