14 June, 2021

The Bridge To Life

The blend of religious and regular education is changing the face of the Andhra madrassas

The Bridge To Life
It started as a small experiment six years ago at a madrassa in the Musheerabad locality of Hyderabad. The idea, aimed at school dropouts, was to integrate four hours of regular education with two hours of religious instruction so that the curriculum was more holistic. Today, the model is all set to go mainstream, with the Andhra government encouraging more madrassas to replicate the model created by the CAP Foundation, a Hyderabad-based NGO which is associated with several educational initiatives.

A survey of 2,300 school children and adolescents in Muslim-dominated Musheerabad in ’01 led to CAP sensitising parents about its programmes. It also engaged police attention on child labour, child rights and the role of the police in protecting children at risk. Says project director Gurpreet Bhatia: "We formed a mothers’ committee to actively mobilise children to return to education without which many would end up as domestic help." There was considerable scepticism. But it didn’t take long for Muslim mothers to change their minds....

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