Mangaluru, Aug 10,2017: In a major language change, madrassas in seven districts of Karnataka, which earlier used Malayalam and Arabic as the medium of instruction, will switch over and use Kannada.
For several decades, even though children did not know or speak Malayalam and Arabic, they underwent Quranic studies in these languages. Karnataka Salafi Movement, Dakshina Kannada which has 60 madrassas under its jurisdiction realised it is easier for children to grasp a subject in their native language and switched to Kannada as the medium of instruction for the past few years from class 1 to 8. The transition to Kannada from Arabic and Malayalam began in 2010. Their aim is to adopt Kannada totally till class 10.
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"Children used to find these two languages (Arabic and Malayalam) a hard nut to crack as they did not speak either at home or school. So, we thought about imparting madrassa education in a language they study at school (Kannada) and it has worked positively ever since its introduction," explains Ismail Shafi, president, Dakshina Karnataka Salafi Movement.
The Salafi Education Board under the Salafi Movement has schools in seven districts -Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Shivamogga and Kodagu. "Currently, 6,000 students are being taught in Kannada and it has been successful."
Shafi said even Quranic lessons are being translated to Kannada. The madrassa lessons are held every morning and evening for about an hour.Having entire madrassa school literature in Kannada has also brought about transparency in what is taught.Time and again doubts were raised about content of madrassa studies, with doubts that it is the hotbed for jehadis."There were allegations that madrassas are being used to propagate terrorism and related activities through teaching. However, with all the literature in Kannada, one can see what’s imparted to children," Shafi said.
In the near future, the movement wants to extend Kannada teaching in madrassas to the rest of Karnataka, especially Uttara Karnataka, where the number of such schools is higher compared to South Karnataka.