State, Qawmi Madrasas and Children in Bangladesh: From a Social Protection Perspective
Qawmi madrasas was evolved in the Indian subcontinent more than 150 years ago by the conservative part of the Muslim community as a rejection to the British education policy. Instead of taking funding from the state, these madrasas took community support as their basis for survival. Keeping the curricula almost unchanged, these madrasas have been provid-ing fundamental Islamic religious education since that time. Even after more than 70 years of the end of the colonial rule and many subsequent historical upheavals, the madrasas have still been maintaining almost the same conservativeness with the government. Even today the madrasas solely rely on people’s donation. Studies say there are at least 1.4 million chil-dren in about 15000 qawmi madrasas in Bangladesh. Studies also say that the madrasas have a concentration of children from the very poor households, including orphans and vulnerable children, who cannot afford education in the mainstream secular institutes. However, the country’s constitution and other major policies aspire to social protection initiatives for such vulnerable groups. While Bangladesh’s social protection expenditure has been increasing every year with a large number of child focused programmes, there is no study so far if these programmes include the children in qawmi madrasas. This study is an attempt to investigate into the outreach of the child focused social protection programmes to qawmi madrasas in Bangladesh. At the same time, it has identified the policy berries at the government end as well as the barriers (reservations) at the recipient end (madrasas) to receive support from the government (i.e., social protection). A mixed method approach for data collection and anal-ysis has been approached with emphasis on qualitative techniques such as key informant interviews and focus group discussions with various stakeholders such as madrasa teachers and governing body members, government officials implementing major social protection schemes in education and social sectors, NGOs working on child rights, and research-ers/scholars on education and child rights. Review of relevant government policies and pro-grammes has also been another major source of data and information. The study has come up with several crucial findings. Almost all the child focused social pro-tection schemes exclude children in qawmi madrasas by design. Most of them target children through institutional arrangements, e.g., school education stipend. Registration of the insti-tute with any government department and an approved curriculum are essential criteria for inclusion. The view of the departments implementing the major child focused social protec-tion schemes and other stakeholders is that the children in qawmi madrasas deserve support from the government in terms of social protection. However, unless the madrasas are fol-lowing government rules (e.g., registration, curriculum etc), there is no scope to include them. Lack of interest to come under a government system is also another reason for this exclusion. Madrasas are surviving solely on donations of the people which is insufficient for the well-being of the children. However, they will accept any support if the government only provides it without any condition. Tension about too much control/influence by the government has also been viewed as another reservation by the madrasas. Whatever the reasons are, because of this rigidity of both of the parties, the children are being deprived from state benefits which has immediate and long-term implications. There is scope for supporting the children with/without any change and modification of the curricula which must be decided by the state. The recent recognition of the highest degree of qawmi madrasas by the government may bring about serious changes in the policies in the future.
|Keywords||Social protection, Child Poverty, Child Sensitive Social Protection, Qawmi madrasa, Unrecognised religious education, Social Exclusion|
|Thesis Advisor||Chhachhi, Amrita|
|Series||Social Policy for Development (SPD)|
Al Hussain, Abdullah. (2018, December 17). State, Qawmi Madrasas and Children in Bangladesh: From a Social Protection Perspective. Social Policy for Development (SPD). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/46690