A parliamentary panel reported a “ disturbing trend “ which affects children from the most educationally backward communities as the government spending on improving education at madrasas drops drastically and the states were asked to support funding.
It was revealed that only 15% of the allocated money was used last year after a change in the funding ratios and only a month is left in the current financial year and only half of the funds have been spent. After noting this trend the Centre despite the low utilisations in the last two years intends to hike allocations to more than 80% next year.
In a report on demand for grants in 2020 – 21 submitted to the Rajya Sabha last week by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource development, concern was expressed that the school education department had not used the allocated funds allocated to Madrasas over the past three years for providing education, and these funds remained underutilised.
The panel commented that “This is a disturbing trend and needs to be rectified.”
A local mosque is usually responsible for running Madrasas which are minority institutions by using community donations. The teaching in Madrasas focuses on Islamic teaching and theology and “ignores the growth of scientific knowledge and technology in modern education “ as elucidated in a 2018 study by the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA). This has been cited as one of the reasons for the lowest levels of literacy in the Muslim Community and probably accounts for the high rates of school drop – outs.
The centre over the last three years has allocated ₹120 crore for the scheme. ₹108 crore was spent in 2017 – 18. The remaining ₹12 crore, the panel noted was allocated to the north eastern states where there was no demand for the scheme.
Only ₹18.25 crore was spent in 2018 – 19 for the larger component of the scheme the funding was changed from a 100 % Central grant into a Centrally sponsored scheme with a 60:40 split between State and Central funding. The Parliamentary panel was informed by the Centre that procedural delays in the submission of proposals by State / UTs and the subsequent shortfalls in releases ensued due to this change.
The year 2019-20 saw ₹63.57 crore as on February 10, 2019 as the expenditure under this scheme and is just above half of the allocated amount. There is still over a month to go and the Centre told the panel that it hoped that the final expenditure would be higher.
With the budgetary allocation being hiked to ₹220 crore the scheme’s funding will grow 83% IN 2020 – 21 . The projected financial outlays for the next two years are slated to be higher, with an increase to ₹250 crore in 2021-22 and rising to ₹280 crore in 2022-23.
It is projected that by 2023, this scheme will be providing assistance to 9,000 madrasas and will be, paying salaries to 27,000 teachers in modern subjects. Infrastructure funding will be given to about 250-300 institutions, as informed by the Centre to the panel which went on to add a Project Monitoring System was being set up by the School Education Department to keep a check on the scheme projects.