The government's move to set up a national board to provide modern education in madrasas failed to get full backing of Muslim MPs today as a majority of them felt that the composition of the proposed body did not fully represent the community.
The human resources development ministry held consultations with Muslim parliamentarians to take forward the process of setting up of the Central Madrasa Board. While 18 MPs from across various parties turned up for the meet, a majority of them raised concerns over the formation of the board as envisaged in the draft bill.
"Four to five MPs suggested that such board should not be formed. There were equal number of MPs who supported such body while about ten of them said the draft should be recast," HRD Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters.
He said that most MPs said the board should be well represented from all sects from the community.
"I have agreed to their views and asked them to give their suggestions within a month on how the board should be formed. After we get their suggestions, we will incorporate them in the draft bill and circulate for consensus," he said.
As per the Central Madrasa Board Bill 2009, the proposed body will consist of a chairperson and 15 members. The members will include three Muslim religious scholars of theology, one each from Deoband school, Barelvi school and Ahi-i-Hadith school.
The draft bill said that a religious scholar of Imam Shafai Sect, a scholar from Shia sect and another from Dawoodi Bohra sect will be members of the proposed body. One member should be a Muslim scholar of the traditional madrasas education.
Six members will be Muslims who have made outstanding contributions in the field of social sciences, humanities, sciences and education, the draft bill said. One member will be a Muslim philanthropist with contribution to education of Muslims.
These members will be appointed by the Central government from a panel. Chairperson and other members will be appointed for a period of three years. Chairperson should be an educationist of eminence, integrity and standing with distinguished contributions, the draft bill said.
Sibal said the government is in no hurry to introduce the bill.
"We will evolve consensus and then we will move forward. The Muslim community should not think that there is any interference from the government in the religious teaching. If the community does not want, we will scrap the bill," Sibal said.
As per the proposal, the board will take steps for standardisation of non-religious aspects of madrasa education. It will also recommend introduction of modern textbooks other than religious texts as extra reading to complement students' knowledge.