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Govt moves to incorporate history of liberation war in Qawmi madrasa curriculum

  • Published at 02:10 am November 7th, 2019
Qawmi madrasa
Madrasa students studying Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

'Steps have been taken to give students a clear idea about the chain of events, facts and figures of the Liberation War'

The government has decided to incorporate the history of the Liberation War of 1971 in the Qawmi madrasa curriculum in an effort to instil into younger generations, the spirit of Independence and self-determination.

The decision was made following discussions with the Qawmi Madrasa Board.

"Steps have been taken to give students a clear idea about the chain of events, facts and figures of the Liberation War," said Jabed Ahmed, additional secretary to the Ministry of Land, who served the Secondary and Higher Education Division during the government's decision to incorporate a liberation war history into the Qawmi madrasa curriculum. 

He told Dhaka Tribune the process has just started, following a seminar held last month. The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) will now examine the proposal.

According to the government plan, the authorities concerned want to incorporate a history of the liberation war in the curricula of the country's entire education system including English medium and Qawmi madrasa. It means, a dedicated textbook on liberation war history will be followed by all students in the general education system, English medium, and madrasa education boards, across the country. 

A course on Bangladesh and Global Studies has already been included in English medium school curricula and a course curriculum will shortly be developed by the NCTB to teach madrasa students the history of the liberation war, said officials.

NCTB Chairman Narayan Chandra Saha said, following a recent seminar held in the capital, education and curriculum development experts have given their opinions.

“We’ll start developing a course structure after we get instructions from the top level of government,” he added.

Fazle Hossain Badsha, member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education Ministry said a history of the liberation war should be included in the Qawmi madrasa education within a very short time.

Officials at the NCTB observed that experts have emphasized the need for teacher training on the history of the liberation war to achieve better outcomes. They said, apart from designing the course curriculum, the training must start now so that teachers are better equipped to impart knowledge to their students.

Eminent educationist and former advisor to the caretaker government, Dr Rasheda K Chowdhury, told Dhaka Tribune that tens of thousands of Qawmi madrasa students should know about the correct history of the liberation war.

"We basically emphasize ethics and morals, as all Islamic textbook content is religious and normative in nature, and that should be updated to recognize and highlight other faiths and values,” She added.

Rasheda K Chowdhury was present at the meeting at the Education Ministry when the government took the decision to include a history of the liberation war in the Qawmi madrasa curriculum. 

She said: “As per National Education Policy 2010, the government is required on principle to include a spirit of the liberation war in all sectors of the education system in Bangladesh.” 

The Qawmi madrasas in general operate following their own curriculum without any government monitoring, oversight, or support. They are mostly funded by private donations.

Al Hayatul Uliya Lil Jamiyatul Islamia member Mowlana Musleh Uddin Raju said that they did not have any discussion on the matter of curriculum development and they did not receive any letter either to include the history of the Liberation War in the syllabus.

He did however say that the government's move to incorporate a history of the liberation war is a positive one. Another member, Mowlana Fariduddin Masud, said that he was not aware of any recent discussions about the matter, though the government had spoken about the issue a long time ago.

Befaqul Madarisil Arabia Bangladesh is the largest madrasa board for the Qawmi education system. Mawlana Anas Madani, who is joint secretary of the organization and son of chairman Mawlana Shahi, has declined to talk about the issue.