Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

UP: Over 21,000 Modern Subject Teachers in Madrasas Lose Jobs After Yogi Govt Halts Honorarium

The Adityanath government’s decision will impact the livelihood of nearly 21,216 teachers of around 7,442 madrasas across the state.


File Image

Lucknow: "We are not voters of the ruling government, otherwise it would have not done this cruelty to us by snatching jobs of around 21,216 teachers," Mohd Azam, a madrasa teacher, who has been teaching since 1993 for a meagre salary, has lost his job after 31 years of service, said.

 Azam, a sole breadwinner who is nearing retirement age, told NewsClick, that it would be difficult for him to find a decent job at this age. He said he did not even have enough savings to buy an e-rickshaw or set up a vegetable kiosk. 

"When Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power at Centre in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said madrasas needed modernisation and emphasised that Muslim youth should hold the ‘Quran in one hand and computer in the other’. However, this has proved a distant dream for the whole community in these nine years," an emotional Azam said.

 Years of Struggle End... Hopes Dashed 

 In an unprecedented move, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has decided to discontinue the honorarium or "additional money," that it has been providing to teachers hired to teach modern subjects in madrasas under the Centre's Madrasa Modernisation Scheme (MMS) in the state since 2016. The decision comes nearly six years after the teachers' wages were purportedly terminated by the Modi government at Centre. 

The state government’s decision will adversely impact the livelihood of nearly 21,216 teachers of around 7,442 madrasas across the state. It has also dashed the hopes of nearly 10 lakh students who are studying modern subjects, such as mathematics, English, Hindi, science and computer science. 

Iftikhar Ahmed Javed, Uttar Pradesh Madrasa Education Council Chairman, on Wednesday penned a strong letter to Prime Minister Modi requesting that this scheme be renewed.

In the letter, accessed by NewsClick, Javed wrote that after the Centre stopped its contribution under the MMS six years ago, the state government had also issued an order on January 5 this year to stop the additional state share for paying honorarium to the those teaching under this scheme.

Speaking with NewsClick, Javed, said, "Despite our salaries being stopped by the Centre in 2017, modern teachers continued teaching students in madrasas in the hope of getting their dues. The “additional money” given by the state government was the only source of income for over 21,000 teachers and their family members dependent on them, but that too has been stopped. PM Modi's concept of providing modern education to madrasa students has ended."

 SPQEM Budget Cut by Modi Govt

In an effort to provide students in madrasas with modern education, the Union government in 1993-94 launched the Scheme to Provide Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM), under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) by the late HRD Minister Arjun Singh. However, it was renamed by the ruling government as Scheme for Providing Education in Madrasas/Minorities (SPEMM). 

Under the MMS, modern teachers who are graduates earn Rs 6,000 a month and those who are post-graduates are paid Rs 12,000. Instead of salaries, these teachers have been receiving the “additional money” — Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000 for graduate and post-graduate teachers, respectively —announced by the state government in 2016 after allegations by the modern teachers that their salary disbursal was “irregular”.

These teachers teach subjects such as Hindi, English, maths, science, and social science to nearly 10 lakh students in 7,742 schools across the state. As many as 560 among the registered madrasas are government-aided.

Notably, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by Manmohan Singh had consistently increased the budget by Rs 50 crore every year. In 2008-2009, the budget for the scheme was Rs 125 crore. In 2015-16, the budget was Rs 375 crore. However, the BJP government led by Modi slashed the budget to just Rs 120 crore, alleged union leaders. “Even that amount (Rs 120 crore) was never released,” alleged union leaders.

The Adityanath government's decision to halt this financial support has led to questions being raised about whether BJP will follow through on the PM’s pledge to ensure that madarsa children have  ‘computers in one hand and the Quran in the other.’

Meanwhile, hundreds of modern teachers from across the state have been protesting in Lucknow's Eco Garden for the past one month, demanding “pending salaries”. Now, after learning about the state government’s decision to stop  the additional money they relied on, the teachers have decided to intensify their protest. 

"We will fight till we get justice. We will not move an inch until the government clears all pending dues. Both the Centre and state government should clear our dues," Deepak, a madrasa teacher told NewsClick, adding, “We were teaching with the hope that if the state government is giving us honorarium, then the Modi government will also release the pending dues."

NewsClick had earlier reported on how madrasa teachers were struggling for survival. Some of them have been forced to take up odd jobs like weaving rugs, tailoring and driving rickshaws to keep their families afloat. Dozens of teachers also died due to lack of medicines during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Notably, madrasas were under the spotlight recently after the BJP government said it would clamp down on "illegal" madrasas receiving foreign funds. According to government reports, about 4,000 madrasas in the state receive foreign funds, but several don't have legitimate records of these sources.

However, three months after the Adityanath government ordered a survey of “unrecognised madrasas’ in the state, the Centre instructed the state government to stop providing scholarships to seminary students enrolled in Classes 1-VIII, citing provisions of free education under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

The announcement drew criticism from several Muslim intellectuals, madrasa teachers and Opposition parties. A Communist Party of India leader commented that the Uttar Pradesh administration and government were not running as per the Constitution, but on the “directions of communal elements.”

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram