Madrasa education has long been a bone of contention in Bangladesh.
Existing as an entity entirely separate from our main education system, madrasas have drawn their fair share of criticism for ignoring the subjects and skills needed for a productive life.
The solution lies in bringing madrasa education into the mainstream, under a common standard with oversight from the education board.
This integration would prove beneficial to not just madrasa students, but the nation as a whole.
It is good to see efforts being made in that regard, with the recent government move ordering madrasa education boards -- which includes Alia, Qawmi, and Hifz -- to remove any references to “Jihad” from their textbooks.
Last month, the University of Dhaka decided to open all departments to madrasa students, who were previously considered ineligible for seven departments, which included English, Bangla, international relations, and women and gender studies.
This means the onus is now on madrasas to prove that their education is up to speed, and that they are paying enough attention in their curriculum to science, social studies, mathematics, and English.
Madrasas have every right to operate, but they need to be regulated in a way that does not allow them to deviate from the principles of a well-rounded education that makes one a productive citizen with good job prospects.
Surely, in an increasingly globalised world, madrasas would not want to be left behind and deprived of the opportunities that other systems enjoy.
As such, the madrasa system needs to be updated for the times.