You are on page 1of 32

Acknowledgement:

As always, I would like to start by thanking the Almighty Allah. Without his will, it wouldnt
have been possible for me to complete this entire project. I would also like to thank all the
people who took the liberty to fill out the questionnaire which was the one of the life-blood of
this research. Furthermore, Huzoor Saleh, the principal of the Rehmat Ali madrasa located in
Tejgaon and Mr. Ikramul Hoque Khandakar, respected neighbor have helped me a lot,
compiling this report, through their concentrated insight of Madrasa education approach as
followed by their respective companies.

I am grateful to my mother. Every night I remained awake to compile this project; she would
come to me to give encouragement. My gratefulness also goes to my elder sister and brotherin-law, who were passive listeners and fundamental critics of this project. It is also a duty on
my part to thank my best friends, Sameer Altaf Chowdhury & Progwa Paromita Mukherjee,
who helped me throughout the report- gathering secondary sources, writing up and giving
crucial opinions.

And last but not the least, I would like to convey my gratitude to my ENG105 course
instructor, Dr. Deena P. Forkan who along with giving directions, has answered patiently to
all my relentless questions & enable me to develop an understanding of the subject.

Executive Summary:

Bangladesh is a secular Muslim country in the world with a view of great respect on Islam.
According to the age old religious belief, socio-economic pressure and illiteracy resulting the
growing number of students who are being enrolled in the madrasas every year. After the
2001 tragedy, most of the Muslim countries are being trapped into troublesome concern and
madrasa education gets the medias attention. Medias are trying to construct a plight
relationship between madrasa education and Islamic militancy all over the world. Throughout
this research paper I am trying to prove Madrasa education has no direct link with the rise of
Islamist militant groups in Bangladesh rather than its age-old curriculum needs to be
modernized. This research paper examines tertiary-level Islamic education in Bangladesh,
providing in-depth analysis of the relationship between madrasa education and Islamist and
radical politics. I had an endeavor to find the general peoples perception about madrasa
education and I have got very satisfying outcome, that many of them have given me a
spontaneous reply that they need an immediate change of that turmoil situation .I think my
research paper will bring some remarkable changes in the society .

Table of Content:

1. Introduction ----------------------------------------------------------------------page 6

2. Background-----------------------------------------------------------------------page 9

3. Area of research ----------------------------------------------------------------page 13

4. Hypothesis-----------------------------------------------------------------------page 20

5. Methodology--------------------------------------------------------------------page 21

6. Data presentation---------------------------------------------------------------page 23

7. Data Analysis -------------------------------------------------------------------page 27

8. Limitation------------------------------------------------------------------------page 34

9. Conclusion-----------------------------------------------------------------------page 35

10. Recommendation---------------------------------------------------------------page 36

11. Reference List -------------------------------------------------------------------page 38

12. Appendix

Introduction:

There are approximately 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. The four countries with the largest
Muslim populations are in Asia: Indonesia (160 million), Pakistan (140 million), Bangladesh
and India (120-130 million each). There are twice as many Muslims in China (35 million) as
there are Southern Baptists (the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.) in the world. A
number of factors are operating simultaneously in predominantly Muslim countries to give
rise to politically active individuals and groups, often referred to as Islamists. At the same
time, very specific historical, political, social and economic circumstances are giving rise to
different movements in particular settings. One ideology that plays a role in Islamic militancy
is the principle of Jihad, which broadly means struggle. Militants generally use jihad to mean
defensive or retaliatory warfare against actors that have allegedly harmed Muslims.
In 1971 Bangladesh had around 1000 Aliya madrasas and an unknown number of Quomi
madrasas. Aliya madrasas teach science, history, agriculture, biology, English, Bangla
besides religious education, and is regulated by the government. Majority of the graduates of
the Aliya madrasa system can pursues higher education in universities or join the job market
while the graduates of the quomi madrasas end up being 'Imams' or 'Muazzens' in mosques or
teachers in Quomi madrasas. With their level of knowledge and quality of education and
skills they are unable to make any meaningful contribution to the normal economic and social
life of the country.
No credible statistics are available relating to the number of quomi madrasas in Bangladesh.
From a variety of sources, including the Ministry of Education, it is estimated that there are at
least 10,000 quomi madrasas in the country where more than 1, 00,000 students are enrolled.
The first ever survey conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Education Information and

Statistics in December 2008 said that there were 5,230 quomi madrasas with about 1.4
million students. The limited learning of secular subjects and absence of skill development
results in higher unemployment rates for those attending such religious schools. There are
other exaggerated statistics available.
Today twenty percent of students in educational institutions are in madrasas (both variety)
and the government expenditure in madrasa education is higher than the mainstream public
education. Since the 1980s the number of madrasa and enrollment in these has been
increasing faster than the mainstream educational institutions. Between 1999 and 2005, while
the number of secondary and higher secondary educational institutions increased by 16
percent, the registered madrasas increased by 27.9 percent.
Over last few years the percentage of enrolment of students into madrasa has been increased
dramatically compared to other branches of education in Bangladesh. In the newspapers and
other branches media sources it has been showing that the increase is due to the rise of
Islamic militancy in Bangladesh. In general perception, madrasas have become synonymous
with terrorism and terrorist training camps. Many journalists and commentators have
suggested that these madrasas teach jihadi literature in their course of studies and that their
entire curriculum is intended to produce holy warriors. It has also been suggested by many
Western scholars that there is an inherent relationship between what is taught in the madrasas
on the one hand and religious extremism, Talibanism, militancy, anti-Americanism, and even
terrorism, on the other. It is also argued that madrasa students, through their reading of
religious texts, become soldiers of God and engage in militant activities against those they
consider enemies of Islam. Let us critically examine these assertions. First, if the madrasa
education is the only or the main cause of Islamic militancy, radicalism, and anti
Americanism, why did these tendencies not manifest themselves before the 1990s? The
curriculum of the madrasas has remained the same for about 150 years. Second, those who

suggest an inherent relationship between the madrasa curriculum and Islamic militancy and
describe madrasas as jihad factories are probably unaware of the fact that this curriculum is
the most pacifists in its orientation. Its approach to Islam is ultra-conservative, literalist,
legalist, and sectarian, but definitely not revolutionary, radical, or militant. It is interesting to
note that in the standard syllabus on the study of Hadith, chapters on jihad in all the six
standard collections of the Prophetic tradition are not discussed at all. During the study of
fiqh (jurisprudence) texts also, the entire time is spent on problems of menstruation, laws
relating to marriage and divorce, and other legal hairsplitting rather than on political or
jihadic issues. There is absolutely nothing in the madrasa curriculum that can be deemed as
promoting or encouraging militancy, not to mention terrorism. Radicalism that we see in
some madrasas in Bangladesh today is an extraneous phenomenon brought into madrasas by
some international and domestic political actors who wanted to use the religious capital and
manpower of these madrasas for their own objectives. According to Professor Mumtaz
Ahmad, professor of political science and history, Hampton University, The madrasas in
Pakistan have become a hotbed of Islamic extremism and the breeding ground of terrorism
(2006, June 7).
Like other people I was also very much worried when I first heard about it. The questions
that struck into my mind were - "How much do the parents of the madrasa students know
about Islam? Do not the parents know anything about the connections between the Islamic
terrorists and the madrasas? Why do they send their children there?" Then I decided to work
on the parent's of the madrasa students' point of view towards madrasa education and the
ways to overcome this situation.
When I completed my survey, I came out with a totally different answer. I found that parents
send their children to the madrasas mainly due to the financial reasons. Education in madrasa
is the cheapest among all the education branches. It becomes hard for the poor people to

afford the other branches of education. Moreover in our country, people have sympathy
towards the madrasas. Many people provide financial help to the madrasa students through
the madrasa authority.
As most of the parents of the students are very poor, they do not have much educational
qualification. Most of them could not tell me what necessary steps should be taken to
improve the education quality of the madrasa. But they certainly feel that in some way the
education quality should be improved.
Moreover, I got ensured that there is hardly any relationship between the madrasa and the rise
of Islamic terrorism. People mix up these two issues without knowing much about it. So I had
to change my idea about the matter. Now I should say that, increasing number of students in
madrasa in recent years in Bangladesh is due to cheap education and the financial help the
madrasa authority provides to the children and their families.

Background:
Nearly 83 percent of the population of Bangladesh claimed Islam as its religion in the 1980s,
giving the country one of the largest concentrations of Muslims in the world. Although
initially Bangladesh opted for a secular nationalist ideology as embodied in its Constitution,
the principle of secularism was subsequently replaced by a commitment to the Islamic way of
life through a series of constitutional amendments and government proclamations between
1977 and 1988. In spite of a history of religious strife, Bangladeshi Muslims tended to be
accommodating toward adherents of other religions. The Muslim community in the Bengal
region developed independent of the dominant Islamic trends in India.
The most important issue that has governed the political discourse of Bangladesh in the
recent years is the Madrassa education and its alleged connection with the militant activities.
Madrasas (1) occupy a dominant position in socio-religious and political life of Bangladesh
as well as in the Islamic world. Indeed, Madrasas have been central to Islamic education and
religious imagination of the Ulemas (2) and Islamic political activism in the region of South
Asia. The origin of Madrasas go back as early as to the emergence of Islam and continued to
grow for centuries to teach and spread Islam in the Arab and non-Arab lands, and throughout
middle ages offered enormous contribution to the preservation of ancient thoughts as well as
to the promotion of philosophy and sciences. Madrasas were, therefore, not just centers of
religious teachings, but also a happy blending of different branches of knowledge.
In the history of Islamic education, Madrassa based traveling scholars have played a vital
role in preserving Ancient thoughts, training generation of Islamic scholars, reawakening the
consciousness of Islamic solidarity during the colonial and post colonial period as well .
Madrasas, therefore, have emerged as the most powerful instrument for teaching Islam as
well as influencing the political direction of Bangladesh, neighboring Pakistan, and
Afghanistan and in the Muslim world. In this order, Bangladesh is a case in point to be

researched. Indeed, Bangladesh is the third largest Muslim country after Indonesia and
Pakistan and ninety percent of her Muslim population is religious, God fearing, peace loving
and begin early schooling in the Masque based Maktabs or Madrasas. It is, therefore,
remarkable to see a Madrassa attached to a Mosque (3) everywhere although the country has
a long record of secular social trail.
The present system of madrasa education was introduced in the British period as Muslims
refused the British style education. Since then, madrasa had been an important part of our
education system. But due to the absence of proper attention the outcomes of this branch of
education have never been good (Bari, 2006, p. 14).
But recently madrasa education has received more government favor than general education.
In last five years, as many as 1,720 general educational institutions (schools and colleges up
to higher secondary level) were set up, raising the total to 19,370. On the other hand, a total
of 1,618 new madrasas were set up during this period. The number of students in general
educational institutions rose 8.64% while the madrasas saw a 10.12% rise in enrolment
during this period (Byron & Mahmud, 2005, p. 10).
The statistics of the growing number of madrasa and madrasa students are published the daily
newspaper "The Daily Star" of August 04, 2005. There the comparison between the rise of
students of madrasa and other branches are discussed with proper explanation.
The internet article "The Problems with Madrasa" written by H. I. Wamy talks in support of
madrasa against Islamic terrorism.
"Madrassa education - An Anachronism or A Victim of exploitation" written by M. Rezwan
provides the information about madrasa education system and the syllabus.
In the daily newspaper "The Independent" of March 10, 2006 the writer M. H. Bari discussed
about the ways to develop madrasa education in his article "Madras Education: How It Can

Be Modified. There he emphasized on how to improve the educational quality of the


madrasas.

Finally I got to know why the then ruling Government emphasized on madrasa education
more than the regular system from the TV series "Grameenphone Tritiyo Matra" episode
"Madrasa, How Much Does It Contrubute?". Here former Finance Minister of Bangladesh M.
Saifur Rahman talked about it.

Now I want to share a real story of Islamic militancy which may rise in the madrasa:
In 2005, Police in Bangladesh say they rescued dozens of students from an Islamic seminary
where they were being brainwashed by extremists. Some of the 68 students found at the
Bagura madrasa were found chained in a basement, Doinik Janakantha reports. Police say the
students were denied food and pressured to join the Taliban. Two staff members were
arrested but the madrass leader escaped.

"They gave us jihad training," one of the students told reporters. "They warned us if we ever
tried to escape, we would be severely punished." Police say some of the students were drug
addicts sent there by relatives unaware of conditions at the madrasa. "These young people
were chained," Bangladeshs interior minister said. "They were brainwashed. The aggression
these people felt toward society, other people, you can't expect them to feel particularly
positive."(Doinik Janakantha, 2005, June 5)

Areas of Research

In my research paper I intend on uncovering the reasons behind the growing number of
students in madrasas. In order to uncover the facts, I will be addressing the following
research questions:

What are the major causes that currently increase the enrollment of the students in
madrasa?
What is the quality of madrasa education system in our society?
Is madrasa education a rationale choice?
Is there any relation between the madrasa education and Islamic militants?

(1) What are the major causes that currently increase the
enrollment of the students in madrasa?
Some of the major reasons for increasing the enrollment of the students in madrasa in
Bangladesh;
The primary reason behind increasing the enrollment of the students in madrasa is
increasing the government intervention after the independence of 1971. The political changes
of 1975 only made the increase in the number of Madrasas easier. Since then a number of
steps have been undertaken to increase the number of Madrasas.
In addition to this institutionalization of Madrasa education, every budget submitted after the
Liberation increases the allocation for Madrasas. This increase in allocation indicates that if
not as a matter of belief, at least for political reasons, all governments of Bangladesh have
played a positive role in favor of Madrasa education.

Children from poor families are more likely to attend madrasas because their parents
cannot afford the expenses associated with enrolment in mainstream schools. Alternatively,
school choice in rural Bangladesh is determined by the religious proclivity of households.
For conservative parents, a religious education for one child, or more, is appealing
particularly given the subsequent opportunities those parents think their children are likely to
get to make a living, whether as mullahs or as madrasa teachers.
The choice for many rural parents in Bangladesh is between no government school at all or
a madrasa that usually offers free (or nearly free) education.

(2) What is the quality of madrasa education system in our


society?

The education policy of registered madrasa is beyond the level of standard and therefore it
would require substantial reform. The primary focus of the madrasa education is Islamic
education, rather than other relevant subjects which resulting that both the boys and girls
scored lower in Mathematics and English tests than the students of publicly-funded nongovernment schools.
According to Dr Niaz Asadullah, Economist at the University of Reading, "We found that
learning outcomes for English and Mathematics were lower in registered madrasas than in
other non-government schools. This is an important concern for registered madrasas, but it is
also important to recognize that test scores were low across all types of secondary schools,
suggesting a need to focus on improving the quality of the overall secondary education sector
in Bangladesh." (August 12, 2010, n.p.)

(3) Is madrasa education a rationale choice?


Why do parents choose a madrasa education? Three factors need to be evaluated. The first is
employment. Critics of madrasas are right to say that a madrasa education is not a great

preparation for a full range of jobs in the future. The curriculum is often narrowly focused on
religious subjects, although self-discipline, an important life skill, does potentially follow
from the highly regulated and intense environment of an urban madrasa. A madrasa graduate
is unlikely to be able to become a doctor, engineer, or a pilot. When competing with a good
student from a government school, a madrasa graduate is unlikely to prevail. This is a
concern, and one that analysts of madrasas are right to raise.

(4) Is there any relation between the madrasa education and


Islamic militants?
I am going to discuss certain scenario under this topic in order to determine whether there is
any relationship exists between madrasa education and Islamic militant in the context of
Bangladeshi society:
Both radical Islam and madrasa education came to the spotlight after the sudden outbursts
of militant incidents in Bangladesh on August 17, 2005. As Quomi madrasas are not
controlled by the government in the way the Alia madrasas are, and are doctrinally affiliated
with the School- the school that inspired the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, they received
more media attention. The autonomy of Quomi madrasas also generated considerable
curiosity and suspicion among civil society groups, academia and the international
community. Hathazari Madrasa, one of the oldest and arguably the most reputable Quomi
madrasa in the country, was at the center of media reports for quite some time.

Aside from these incidences, there is hardly any evidence to link the Bangladeshi Quomi
madrasas with any radical politics and militancy. Those who were linked with the militant
activities of the JMB and its affiliated clandestine networks primarily had Alia madrasa and
general education backgrounds. Among those who were arrested and indicted for terrorist
activities during 2005-2007, only fifteen were reported to have attended Quomi madrasas,

and nine of them had attended madrasas affiliated with the Ahl-e-Hadith. But even here, the
common denominator was the experience of the Afghan jihad, and not madrasa education.
Te Secretary General of Wafaqul Madaris-ul Arabia, Maulana Abdul Jabbar, also thought
that the militant activities that occurred in Bangladesh were isolated events and that the
involvement of some madrasa individuals in those events was an independent act, and not a
product of madrasa education.

Hypothesis Testing:

I personally believed that the increasing number of madrasa students is due to the rise of
Islamic militants all over the world.
The madrasa mentors influenced the poor people to send their children to madrasa by giving
them food, clothes and other financial benefits. But some people do send their children
because of their religious beliefs but they are few in number.
Basically children from poor families study in madrasas because education is very cheap in
the madrasas. Often it is free. Moreover parents are given a few financial benefits in return of
sending their children to madrasas.
These people do not have a clear knowledge of Islam. They do not even expect anything
particular from their children which can influence them to send their children to the madrasa.
They remain happy that the food and finance of the family in ensured at least to a certain
extent.

Research Methodology:

In order to do the research I have went through Primary data collection and secondary data
collection. For primary data I have conducted survey and took interview of focus group by
personal communication. My focus group was parents of madrasa going students in our
society basically within the Dhaka city. I have targeted 30 people both middle class and lower
class families. Though my target group was more or less illiterate and little academic
knowledge, therefore I prepared two questionnaires both in English and Bengali language in
order to conduct my research in most fruitful manner. Madrasa education is really a very
sensitive issue and arise debate which I keep in mind at the time of preparing the
questionnaire. In the questionnaire 16 questions were asked, where all were multiple choice
question along with four options and only one question was open ended question. I think
these questions will provide a clear insight about the peoples thinking on that issue. Last
some of the questions had an endeavor to dig the answers.
For the purpose of my primary research, I went to the Ramat Ali Madrasa in the Tejgaon
neighborhood of Dhaka. I had navigated a series of dark lanes and tiny roads to get to the
madrasa, passing shops selling car batteries, ceramic tiles, thread, water pipes, exotic birds,
mutton and mosquito nets. The school is at the end of a narrow alley where the stench of
open drains and rotten food is overpowering. I went there because the research paper makes
me the urge to know what madrasa education is all about. Rehmat Ali's principal, Huzoor
Saleh said, 'The madrasa was founded 35 years ago and now we have over 500 students...
Some of our students go on to teach at very prestigious colleges and universities.' He helped
me by providing some relevant information about the reality and objective of madrasa
education which would be concerning very much beneficial for me to do this research paper.

My secondary research will mainly consist of the articles taken from the internet and
newspaper. I will be using typical search engines like Google, Yahoo and various online
Bangladeshi newspaper websites. I will also take help from the television discussion program
related to this issue. Thats how I collected necessary data by using both primary and
secondary sources.

Primary Data Presentation:


Questions:

Options & Survey Findings:

(5)Have you ever read the Quran or Hadith

No, I have never but I would like to understand

16

with understanding?

No, I never try it.

09

Yes and I really appreciate it.

04

Yes I understand some meaning but not 01


completely.
(7)How much do you know about madrasa

I have very precise knowledge about madrasa

education system?

education
I know enough as a parent

02

15

I dont know much about madrasa education 10

I do not have any idea

03

(8)Who motivated you to send your

I was self motivated

06

children to the madrasa?

My relatives motivated me

04

Local political representatives motivated me

The madrasa authority motivated me

20

Secular schools do not provide good education

09

I don't like secular school education system

07

(11)Why did you not send your child to a


secular school?

I can't afford the expense of secular school 03


education
My well wishers want my child to study in 11
Madrasa

(14)Do you want to see Islamic reign in

Yes,

Bangladesh?

Bangladesh as an Islamic

want

to

see

05

Nation
Yes, but I am not bothered

11

if it is not.
No, I would rather like to
see religious harmony

06

No, I dont want the

08

country to be ruled by
religion.

(15) Do you want to see your child to fight for

Yes, I want to

Islam?

Yes, But peacefully

11

No, I dont want to

18

No, I dont want them to

01

get involved with violence.

Primary Data Analysis

This survey has been done randomly on the parents of the madrasa students. Doing survey on
30 people I have come up with the following results.
Monthly Income of the Parents of the Madrasa
Going Children
38.09%

40.00%
35.00%
30.00%
25.00%
20.00%
15.00%
10.00%
5.00%
0.00%

33.33%
23.81%

4.76%

Monthly
Income

< tk.5000

tk.5000 tk.10000

tk.10000 - > 20000 tk


tk.20000

This is a bar graph. It represents the monthly income of the parents of the madrasa students in
percentages.
The graph says that 33.33% parents of the madrasa students earn below tk. 5000 per month,
23.81% earn between tk. 5000 - tk. 10000, 38.09% earns between tk. 10000 - tk. 20000 and
only 4.76% earns over tk. 20000.
So it is clearly visible that most of the parents of the madrasa students belong to either poor
or middle class family. And we know that most of the Bangladeshi family has two or more
children. Madrasa provides the cheapest education in Bangladesh. That is why they have
chosen madrasa as a medium of their children's education.

Ratio of Students According to


Financial Help Provided By The
Madrasa Authority

Does Not
Get
Financial
Help,
49.53%

Gets
Financial
Help,
50.47%

This is a pie chart. It represents the ratio of students according to financial help provided to
them by the madrasa authority.
The chart tells that 50.47% of the students get financial help from the authority and the rest
49.53% study without any financial help.
From the previous graph we have come to know that people send their children to madrasa
because education is cheap there. Here we see that 50.47% of the students cannot bear this
cheap education. They get financial benefit from the madrasa. By providing this financial
benefit the authority holds the students. If the poor parents send their children to regular
school instead of madrasa, they will not get this financial help.
Lt. Col. Joarder (retd.), financer and member of advisory board of a madrasa named
Hedayatul Ummat Bangladesh said that, the increasing number of students in madrasa is
mainly due to cheap education. This is a kind of bonus for the parents that their children are
getting the light of education (personal communication, December 2, 2011). No there is left
no chance to disagree that the increase in numbers of madrasa students is due to cost of
education.

Parents Who Supports Islamic Militancy

No comments
25%

Yes
10%

No
65%

This is a donut chart. It notifies the percentage of parents of madrasa students who supports
Islamic militancy.
To the questions related to Islamic militancy, 65% people said that they do not support it,
10% said that they support and 25% decided to give no comments.
We see that the major percentage of people do not support Islamic militancy. That means
they have not sent their children to madrasa to be a militant. They want their children to be
educated.
After interviewing a parent Mr. Mir Nuruddin Shahin, Accountant of Islam Group of
Industries, I have come up with the idea that people also want a good religious education for
their children. For this reason many people send their children to the madrasa even after
having the capability to admit their children in secular school (personal communication,
November 01, 2011).
There are a few good madrasas such as Mohammadpur women madrasa, Bakshibazar Aliya
Madrasa etc. These institutions provide good education. Regular school students find it
difficult to compete with them in many competitions. But the problem is these kinds of
madrasas are very few in number (Lt. Col. Joarder (Retd.), personal communication,
November 08, 2011).

Moreover, from the Graph -1 (Appendix) we see that most of the parents expect their children
to be highly educated. That means in the hope to see a bright future of the child the parents
send him/her to the madrasa. And Graph -2 (Appendix) shows that around 78% of the parents
offer their prayer regularly. That means they believe in Islam. They are not motivated by
others to send their children to madrasa. To illustrate this issue we can have a look at the
Graph-3 (Appendix). It shows how the parents are being motivated to send their children to
the madrasa. Around 80% of people are motivated by themselves and by their relatives to
admit their children to Madrasa.
Most of these people do not think the increasing number of students in madrasa is unnatural.
According to Mr. Mir Nuruddin Shahin, Accountant of Islam Group of Industries, "when
madrasas provide this much help to the poor people, there is no chance to say the madrasas
bad. You should appreciate the increasing number of students (personal communication,
December 02, 2011).

Secondary Data Analysis:


Bangladesh has a large population and each year an ever increasing number of pupils are
entering school. Therefore, the country faces problems in improving quality education for a
large number of pupils at the primary level. Government usually sanctions a large proportion
of our annual budget in the education sector. Bangladesh is considered as a member of third
world country and it would be quite difficult for the government to stick with elongate
consideration in the improvement of education in wide spectrum. Though government spends
money to provide subsidy and other attractive benefit packages toward the aggregate portion
of poor families mostly belong in the rural areas, but this budget is not considered to be
sufficient enough to cover the large figure. Our government is contributing much to improve
the madrasa education system. In a TV show called Grameenphone Tritiyo Matra (2005)
former Finance Minister M.Saifur Rahman said, "Madrasa students contribute a huge portion
of our youth. A huge section of education budget is kept for them. It is not that the
Government is making foolish contribution. We need to bring up those neglected youth".
The ideology of Bangladesh is a composition of socialism, capitalism, secularism and
democracy. From the very beginning of the birth of Bangladesh, madrasa education of our
country gets the financial assistance from multiple sources. Though large portion of illiterate
as well poor people belong in the society and dont financially capable for sending their
children in the primary school, they are being persuaded to send their children in the madrasa
for nominally free education.
Most of the students of these madrasas especially in Qaumi ones are from financially weak
Muslims families which is a common phenomenon across South Asia because most of the
madrasas provide free lodging and food to its students. So poor parents feel it is convenient to
send their children to Qaumi madrasas which at least can mitigate some burden from their
shoulders.

According to Bazlur Rahman khan (2010) But it is not money only that pushes poor parents
to admit their children in madrasas. The religiosity of people also pushes them towards
madrasas. That is why a large number of students in reputed madrasas are found to be hailing
from wealthy families.
But there have been much debate on the unstructured and obsolete curriculum of Madrasas
with superstitious concepts and antiquated social values; which produces students, who
cannot even read or write properly in their own mother tongue Bengali let alone English.
Science, Geography, Physics and other modern subjects are conspicuous by their absence,
with most students encouraged only to memorize the Koran (Rezwan, 2004).
Some would see the integration of madrasas into mainstream education as a de-radicalization
measure, especially in the context of concerns that that some madrasas could be encouraging
militant and hard-line Islamism. The discovery of a huge cache of arms in a madrasas in 2009
in a remote village of Bhola district triggered fears of the rise of militant Islam in
Bangladesh. Since then the government has taken a tough stance on militancy and leaders of
many hard-line groups have been arrested. The integration of madrasas could not only help
youngsters opt for job-oriented courses but also help diversify, instead of focusing merely on
religious studies. The integration plan might not be directly aimed at de-radicalization; but
the step would certainly help the cause in the long-run.

Even if this plan primarily aims at improving the quality of education in Bangladesh, it is
imperative to bring in Qaumi madrasas into the fold. A World Bank report on Bangladeshi
madrasas suggests that initiatives to reform Qaumi madrasas will be a challenging task given
that they are unregistered and their sources of financing are unknown, and many are
organized informally under numerous federations/ boards. The report of World Bank (2009)
suggests that despite this complex challenge, the government should engage with this sector

to discuss how students can best be imparted skills that are relevant to the needs of modern
economy.
As the governments efforts to convince Qaumi madrasas to be a part of the integration plan
have not yielded positive results, what could an alternative to ensure quality education to the
students of these madrasas? Apart from revamping the syllabus, providing training to the
teachers and improving the quality of education, there is a need to understand the presence,
standard and output of government schools in rural areas, where most of these Qaumi
madrasas operate. World Bank report (2009) suggests that the presence of Qaumi madrasas
in any location indicates a population of education consumers (students) whose needs are not
being supplied by government schools. In that case, the government should set up schools
nearby and provide stipends to the students. If parents get an option of better government
schools that provide their children with accessible and affordable education which offers
better job opportunities, they would prefer sending their children to government schools
rather than to madrasas. This move could put additional pressure on administrators of Qaumi
madrasas to introduce a modern program of study along with their traditional religious
structure.

Limitation:
While doing the survey I had to encounter some restrictions. The survey could be better if I
could overcome those limitations. Some of the problem areas follow;

Open ended questions:


After I collected all the primary data from my samples and started to peruse it before
analyzing, I discovered that almost all my samples were reluctant to devote their time to
answer any of the open-ended question. There was one open ended question in the
questionnaire that was prepared for the parents of madrasa going students and 90 % of them
didnt take the liberty to answer them properly. The aftermath, I fell short of primary data
relating to that.

Time and Scale of survey:


My research topic was a very vast one. However, due to time constraint I had to limit my
sample size considerably. Such compromise, I believe, could have undermined the findings
of this research.

The survey could be more relevant if it assembled the opinions of the people of different
class, age and race. As incident of madrasa education, mostly takes place in rural areas, so
distance restrict me collect the data from there.

Summary of Findings

The survey and interview results clearly go against my hypothesis. I thought there must be a
connection between the increasing number of students of madrasa and the rise of Islamic
militancy. Parents are forced to send their children to the madrasas.
But now after the survey and talking to the experts I have found that parents send their
children to the madrasas willingly. There is no connection between the increases of madrasa
students and the rise of Islamic militancy in our country. The only thing which I think is
needed to be improved is that the education quality.

Conclusion

Once again, I say that there is not any relationship between the increasing number of students
in the madrasa and the rise of Islamic militancy in Bangladesh. The increase is due to cheap
education. If it is possible to develop the education quality of the madrasa education system,
these students can make our country proud.

Recommendation

must enable
students to tackle challenges of the real world out there. They need be taught a larger syllabus
that will include social science, pure science, and mathematics as well as English and a
comparative study of other religions as special subject (Wamy, 2004)

allowed special financial benefits. A Shariah council constituting of the most outstanding
Islamic scholars will govern these Madrasas and for funding the Government should play the
major role (Bari, 2006, p.10).
Government should engage in a dialogue with Qaumi madrasa representatives to explore
opinions such as introducing modern subjects and forming of a regulatory body to oversee the
overall improvement. (The Daily Star, August 11, 2010)
Teachers of the madrasas require continual training as the technology changes, since new
and more effective applications are developed, there is more to be learned about learning with
technology.
most of the madrasa students usually belong to the poorer society and they are being sent to
the madrasa because their parents could not afford the cost of normal schools. Hence the
government and the several NGO should work together to increase the stipend and other free
education for minimum SSC or other facilities to inspire the target group to choose normal
school for better education.

Government should emphasis investment in improving infrastructure of rural madrasas


alongside improving education.

References:

o Bari, M. H. (2011, March 10). Madrasa education: How it can be modified. The
Independent, p.

14

o Byron, R. K. & Mahmud, S. (2009, August 04). Madrasas mushroom with state
favour. The

Daily Star, p. 1.

o Rahman, Z. (Director). (2005). Madrasa, how much does it contribute?. Channel I


(Producer), Grameenphone tritiyo matra. Dhaka: Channel I Studio.

o Rezwan, M. (2004, September 22). Madrasa education - an anachronism or a victim


of

exploitation.

Retrieved

November

18,

2011,

from

http://rezwanul.blogspot.com/ 2004/09/ madrassaeducation-anachronism-or.html.

o Wamy, H. I. (2004, September 22). The problem with Madrasa. Retrieved November
04, 2011,

from

http://moodlogic.blogspot.com/

004_09_01_moodlogic_archive.html.