Peace Awareness and Vocational Training Programme for Madrasa Students

A three-Day workshop

23-25 NOVEMBER 2012, GUWAHATI

A report

 

 
Sitting from left: Maulana Hilal Qasimi, Mr Sanjay Wadwani, Mr Tarun Gogoi , Mr Wasbir Hussain and Syed Iftikar Hussain
  A five-month long project titled ‘Peace Awareness and Vocational Training Programme for Madrasa students’ was launched by the Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on 23 November 2012 at Guwahati. The project is undertaken by Centre for Development and Peace Studies and supported by the British Deputy High Commission, Kolkata. It has been initiated in collaboration with Assam Markazul Uloom (Islampur Madrasa), Guwahati.
 

Day 1

23 November 2012

Addressing the three-day long workshop on ‘Peace Awareness and Vocational Training Programme for Madrasa students’, organized by CDPS, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi stressed on the need for the introduction of religion as a subject in educational institutions to foster awareness about each others' religion, a move, he said could foster harmony in a multi religious society like India and Assam in particular.

The Chief Minister also said there is need for having a platform for dialogue among different communities and said there could be something like ‘religious council’ that can be put in place. “No religion teaches people to hate one another, and therefore, it is necessary to appreciate the positive qualities that are taught by different religious beliefs”, he said.

Lauding the initiative taken by CDPS, the Chief Minister said that skill development hold the key in providing livelihood options to youths and Madrasa students are no exception. “Unemployment is a big problem and we must give utmost importance on education to reduce conflict. Government is giving importance on vocational and skill development training”, he said. Apart from the principals and teachers of the selected Madrasas, the familiarization workshop was attended by leading Muslim opinion makers besides academics and intellectuals belonging to different communities.

In his introductory address, CDPS Director Wasbir Hussain said that the present programme is only a pilot project designed to impart basic peace awareness among Madrassa students as well as to provide opportunities for vocational training on computer education, tailoring, etc.

Mr Sanjay Wadvani, British Deputy High Commissioner to Eastern India, said that the workshop is one in a series of events that the British Government has been involved in over the course of several years with the Muslim community in India to promote and share experiences of religious harmony and encourage understanding between faiths. “This current programme aims to go a step further and encourage education and set up pilot vocational units in select Madrasas in Assam”, he said.

 
 
A view of the participants
 

Syed Iftikar Hussain, IAS, Commissioner, Upper Assam Division said that the step taken by CDPS may be a small one, but taking into consideration of the significance, it is actually a giant step towards progress in the society.

Addressing the participants, Dr ANS Ahmed, sociologist and former professor IIT, said that due to the advance of technology, the world has become a global village. The Madrasas cannot be left behind in this age of technical progress. Therefore, apart from carrying out their religious teachings, the Madrassas have to include basic education on technical as well as vocational courses for the benefit of the students, something which is now being done in countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh and Malaysia.

Delivering the vote of thanks, Maulana Hilal Qasimi, Principal of Assam Markazul Uloom (Islampur Madrassa, Guwahati) said that its time to introduce other major subjects like science, mathematics and English in Maadrasas and said vocational education must be integrated in Madrasa education system. He urged the Chief Minister for help in expanding the programme in a big way covering all the Madrasas in Assam.

The three-day long workshop was attended by the teachers from the selected Madrassas along with opinion makers from various communities.

 

DAY 2

24 November 2012

On the second day of the workshop, Mr Wasbir Hussain, Director CDPS addressed the participants and conferred an introduction to the Peace Awareness Module prepared by CDPS.

Dr ANS Ahmed, sociologist and former professor IIT, presented the Peace Awareness Module in detail. CDPS researchers Syed Miraz Ahmed and Aslam Hussain also participated during the presentation of the Module. Various perspectives of peace vis -à- vis the popular idea, its definition, the message of peace as propounded by Islâm, pluralism and its presence in Islâm, unity in the face of diversity, Assam’s unique examples of communal harmony, peace and gender equality, types of conflict, peace building methodologies and the kinds of violence were discussed and explained.

Maulana Tafazzul Hussain Khan, Principal, Madrasa-tul-Banat Khandakarpara, Barpeta stated that the combination of the Peace Awareness Module and Vocational Training Programme aimed at knowledge cum skill development of the Madrasa students is a strong intervention by CDPS, a method which has not been adopted by others so far.

During the second session in the afternoon, CDPS representatives and Assam Markaz-ul-Uloom Principal, Maulana Hilal Quasimi had a series of consultations with the Madrasa Principals and Teachers. It was followed by interviews with the Madrasa Principals to find out minute details of the infrastructure of the selected Madrasas where the programme will be implemented. Doubts and queries of the Madrasa authorities were answered and their expectations duly acknowledged during the open house.

 

Day 3

25 November 2012

During the concluding session in the third day of the Workshop, the CDPS team had brainstorming with the Madrasa Principals and Teachers on the available vocations of the training programme and similar other issues after trades were selected by the respective Madrasas. The workshop ended with the finalization of the project implementation modalities wherein the Principals of the Madrasas were asked to submit a list of 20-30 students who would undergo the Vocational Training. Details of the computer instructors, who will be mostly locals of the respective Madrasas, were also sought. A field visit schedule was also prepared by CDPS and Assam Markaz-ul-Uloom.