Positive Muslim News

News about good things Muslims are doing in North America and around the world.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bangladesh's Madrassas bring empowerment, education to girls

Al Jazeera's Nicolas Haque reports from Dhaka, the capital, where over the past few years the government has been implementing a series of reforms to include more secular subjects in the curriculum and increase the numbers of female students.

The authorities have been offering incentives - providing cash to cover 80 per cent of scholastic costs - to see their reforms through.

This is proving to be hugely successful, bringing most madrassas under state supervision; religious schools that are largely funded by the government now follow both the state and religious curricula.

Zainul Abedine, the headmaster of the country's largest Islamic school, says: "In order to access government funds, many madrassas have opened their syllabus to other subjects like teaching languages such as English or Bengali. The number of madrassas have multiplied and so have the [numbers of] students".

With more then six million students currently enrolled, the madrassa system in Bangladesh is the second-largest in the world and is likely to get even larger as religious institutions open their doors to female students for the first time.

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