Education ministry ordered closure of all institutions till May 22 amid a resurgence of Covid-19 infections
Several Qawmi madrasas have been continuing to hold classes and examinations despite the government directive for all educational institutions to stay closed till May 22 due to a resurgence of Covid-19 infections.
On visits to five different madrasas in Dhaka this week, it was found that academic activities were continuing in violation of the orders by the education ministry.
Although classes were continuing to be held, a notice on the gate of one of the madrasas read: "All students and parents are being informed that, as per the announcement of the government, the educational activities of all departments of the madrasa will be closed from March 30 to May 24."
Exams have been suspended at Alia madrasas, but residential madrasas have been kept open and classes are continuing on a limited scale.
Most educational institutions of the country have complied with the government’s order and suspended academic activities.
In a notification on April 6, the Education Ministry ordered the closure of all educational institutions, including Qawmi madrasas, till May 22 as coronavirus infections continued to rise.
"A lockdown has been imposed across the country. However, some madrasas, both residential and non-residential, are still open, which is highly risky,” read the notification.
With more than 8,000 students, the Jamiya Islamia Darul Ulum Madrasa is one of the largest Qawmi madrasas in Dhaka. It was one of the venues for the Dawra-e-Hadith exam, equivalent to a master’s degree, that began in early April.
Around 3,000 students participated in the exam without maintaining social distancing or wearing masks. The exams were held at 222 centres under six Qawmi madrasa boards across the country.
Officials of Jamiya Islamia Darul Ulum Madrasa were reluctant to speak to the media and did not allow the taking of any pictures. Classes appeared to be continuing.
Similar situations were found at Jamia Rahmania Arabia in Mohammadpur, Tamirul Millat Kamil Madrasa, Jamia Shari'ah in Mailbagh, Jamia Arabia Imdadul Uloom Faridabad Madrasa, Gendaria and Talimul Quran Al Islamia Madrasa in Rampura.
When asked about the government's directions, some of the residential students of the madrasas said “Boro Hujur” (the principal or head teacher) has secured permission from the government for the exam.
Many of them plan to stay at the residential madrasas during Ramadan, they added.
Police denied any sort of arrangement to keep madrasas open.
Moulana Nurul Amin, joint secretary general of Befaqul Madrasil Arabia Bangladesh, said: “There is no mention of stopping the examination under the direction of the government.”
Among Alia madaras in Dhaka, the Darul Ulum Ahsania Fazil Madrasah in Gendaria, Gausia Islamia Fazil Madrasah in Mohammadpur, and the Government Madrasah-e-Alia in Bakshibazar were found to be continuing academic activities.
KM Ruhul Amin, director-general of the Madrasa Education Board, said: "We are closed like all other schools, colleges as per the directive of the government. I do not know details about residential Alia madrasas being open now.”
In August last year, the government allowed Qawmi madrasas to conduct academic activities amid the coronavirus pandemic.