JORHAT, Jan 22 � Keeping aside financial concerns and aspiring to be highly educated through a modern-day university curriculum, 21 Madrasa students, for the first time in the state, today joined the �Bachelor preparatory programme� under the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in Jorhat, which will provide them the opportunity to qualify for the degree-level courses of Arts and Commerce directly under the open university of international repute.
Attending the induction programme at the Jorhat Central Club here, several veteran educationists, including the Vice Chancellor of the Assam Rajiv Gandhi University of Cooperative Management Dr R Zaman, said that neither any university nor other institutions of higher education had taken such an initiative earlier in the State to motivate the Madrassa students to acquire modern-day higher education.
As most of the state Madrassas (which provide only religious courses for Hafij and Moulana in Arabic) are yet to make their students competent with modern-day higher education, most of the pupils have fallen far behind the trend of the present-day education system, which teaches science, politics, sociology, literature and culture during the childhood of other school students.
The Jorhat Central Club came forward to provide financial help for the poor students during the admission into the IGNOU course that consists of three preparatory subjects � Social Science, Mathematics and Commerce. Along with the president of the club, Dr Zakir Ahmed, Rafe Yasin, Nazimuddin Khanikar, Liakat Hussain, Sajid Huda and many other people associated with the Jorhat Central Club helped the students during the preparatory programme.
�Study materials for the preparatory course have been distributed today. We are trying to appoint mentors so that it can help them in studies while staying in the campus of those Madrassas. As English will be a new medium for them, we will have to provide them mentors,� said Dr Anil Borah, Deputy Director of IGNOU�s Jorhat-based regional centre.
According to him, the university officials will try their best to inspire most of the Madrassa students of nine districts, including Sivasagar, Golaghat, Dibrugarh, Nagaon, Dhemaji and Tinsukia, for the programme so that they can directly qualify for the admission into BA and BCom courses under IGNOU.
During the preparatory programme, the students got the basic knowledge of various interesting subjects, including societal significance, commerce, political system and many others which were not included in the Madrassa teachings before.
Narrating the course curriculum, the IGNOU Regional Director Dr AS Guha said that the study materials are prepared in a very selective way and the students will not face any problem while continuing the preparatory course and their religious learning while at the Madrasas.
Applauding the joint efforts of IGNOU officials and the Jorhat Central Club members and office-bearers, several educationists opined that such an initiative will nurture the thoughts of new learning and bring out the talents of Madrassa students who were falling behind.
While interacting with this reporter, many Madrasa students here said that they could not avail the chance of being educated in the reputed institutions of higher education because of their poverty. Now, however, after receiving the study material for the course, they had reasons to be delighted as their dream of getting higher education through IGNOU�s initiative came true today.
Besides many dignitaries, educationists Dr Bijoy Chandra Sarma, Surjya Nath Phukan of Aurobindo Society and many others attended the programme and termed the academic initiative as inspiring.