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The word, 'Madrasah' is an Arabic term, meaning educational institution or school imparting education to all, irrespective of religion, caste, creed and gender. This wider connotation definitely imparts a universility to this system contrary to the prevailing idea of its being orthodox and confined to a particular religion. The spirit of the word has been adopted by the West Bengal Madrasah Education setup in its entirety. This broad vision has helped in the evolution of the structure in such a way that it is able to keep pace with the rapidly changing times. West Bengal was the first state to offer recognition to Madrasahs, and this system has been able to successfully find the convergence between the country's constitutional commitment to universal education and Muslim cultural ideas and also to keep up with the changing needs of a globalizing world. Thus Madrasah system of education is not one in isolation but is supplementing the mainstream educational pattern. And there lies its uniqueness.

Madrasah Education in West Bengal is fullfilling a critical need. Madrasahs are discharging social obligation towards the nation as a whole. They are providing access to elementary education for the most deprived people, most of whom live in rural areas, where avenues and opportunities are markedly limited. The recognized Madrasahs play an integral role in creating community linkages as they were founded with the initiative of community donations, and in course of time, were recognized and funded by the Government. Most of these Madrasahs are in areas where there were few or no schools where community came forward recognizing the importance of education and created access for students, majority of whom are first generation learners. These Madrasahs have successfully synthesized the cultural needs of the community along with modern concepts in education and thus ensure enrolment and participation of the budding citizens of the country.

West Bengal has been a pioneer in the area of madrasah education since 1915, when efforts were made to reform and modernize the curriculam prevailing in this system. Once again, in 1994, West Bengal became the first state in India to establish a statutory body, the West Bengal Board of Madrasah Education and entrusted in with academic responsibilities in respect of Madrasah Education. With the avowed objective to reform Madrash Education, the Government of West Bengal, in 2001, constituted a Committee, called Madrasah Education Committee, under the Chairmanship of Dr. A. R. Kidwai. The Commission submitted its report in the year 2002.

 

     
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