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U-turn at JNU over madrassa admissions

Saturday 23 July 2005, by GHOSH*Lakshmi B.

Resentment brewing as Alimiyat Fazeelat certificates are no longer considered equivalent to Class XII

NEW DELHI: Coming from a different educational "experience", students from madrassa background are for the first time feeling "unwelcome" on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus here. With the University taking the drastic step of not just introducing an Equivalence Committee this year to assess the Alimiyat Fazeelat certificates of students but also refusing admission on the plea that these certificates were not equivalent to Class XII, strong resentment and dissent is brewing on the campus.

Describing the move as unacceptable, the JNU Students’ Union has already written to the Vice-Chancellor demanding that the new system be withdrawn as it was in complete contradiction to the policy followed by the University in the past.

Though the problem is not new for madrassa students, JNU has always had a far more friendly admission process for them, with the University enrolling at least 100 such students every year in Arabic, Persian and other languages.

What has irked the students here is the University’s refusal to admit even migration students in the second year.

"For a long time madrassa students have registered and taken admission in the second year after completing their first year in universities like Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. What is even more shocking is that no one knew about the new committee including the concerned faculties of Arabic or Persian who were never consulted,’’ says JNU Students’ Union vice-president Ena Panda.

Students say the move is uncalled for as until last year students never faced this problem. According to many students, it was normal for most madrassa students to take admission in universities like Jamia Millia Islamia, Jamia Hamdard and AMU where the educational qualifications are recognised and can be assessed. They would then apply for migration in the second year to JNU as it is considered one of the best in the country. The certificates of a number of small madrassas are apparently not recognised as equivalent to Class XII by the Association of Indian Universities. "When a university like Jamia Millia gives admission to a madrassa student, it is after checking his certificates. Till last year this was acceptable, but not now. In fact, some of the students have made it to the merit list after an entrance, so why should there be a problem?’’ asks Hafeez-ur-Rehman of Students’ Voice, a voluntary group here.

Iqubal Ahmed, a student of the Al-Jamia Al-Salafia Madrassa in Varanasi, is just one of those facing a problem. This French enthusiast joined Jamia Millia’s undergraduate course in Arabic last year and also took a part-time course in French at Alliance Francaise de Delhi. With his proficiency in French improving, Iqubal decided to apply for JNU’s undergraduate degree programme in French. But despite making it to the top of the merit list, Iqubal says he was rejected by JNU.

"University officials said they would not be able to give me admission till I could prove that my madrassa education was equivalent to Class XII. I told them that my admission to Jamia Millia was based on that but they did not agree. After clearing the entrance exam I was really looking forward to joining JNU, but I am very disappointed now,’’ says Iqubal.

University authorities say a final decision will be taken on the matter early next week after due deliberations.

See online : The Hindu

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