In a major shift, the Madrasas, where for hundreds of years the medium of instructions were Arabic and Malayalam, are adopting Kannada in their teachings, textbooks and examinations.  The students at Madrasas are now learning about Quran and Islamic teachings in Kannada, reported Kannada Prabha.

The change is in a way an answer to the allegations that in Madrasas fundamentalist texts are being taught in Arabic.  Teaching in Kannada is helping the Madrasas to be more transparent.  Around 60 Madrasas in the southern part of the State coming under the Salafi Education Board covering Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Chikkamagaluru, Hasana, Shimoga and Kodagu districts are teaching Kannada texts from standard 1 to 8.  Around 6000 students are studying the texts in Kannada. The SSLC texts will also be in Kannada in a phased manner.

The syllabus contains Quran, Hadis, Prophet’s teachings, prayer methods and lessons for personality building. Of them apart from Quran and Hadis the rest are taught in Kannada.  Though Quran and Hadis texts are in Arabic, its meaning and explanations are in Kannada. Earlier Arabic used to be the first language. Now Arabic is a language of option.

Earlier, teachers with Kannada expertise were in short supply. Hence students were forced to learn Arabic and Malayalam and master them.  In 2010 Salafi Education Board decided to introduce Kannada texts at first standard. After that in a phased manner, standard by standard adapted Kannada. Now till 8th standard students learn in Kannada. In the next 2 years till SSLC they will be taught in Kannada said Ismail Shafi, president of Salafi movement in the southern Karnataka.

Ismail Shafi said earlier teaching in Arabic and Malayalam gave opportunities to suspect that something else was being taught at Madrasas. Now, anybody can check the Kannada texts and clear for themselves what is being taught at Madrasas.

The making Kannada as the medium of instructions is going to spread across the State.  In the southern part of the State the number of Madrasas is less whereas in the north Karnataka more than 1000 Madrasas are running. Since Urdu is prevailing in the north Karnataka, there is a dearth of Kannada knowling students and teachers. Salafi Education Board is collaborating with Ahle Adis in the north Karnataka to implement Kannada at all Madrasas.  The organisations are planning to meet the Chief Minister to appeal for help. The Kannada implementation could be taken up by the State Government or can be given the responsibilities to the organisation through grants, said Ismail Shafi.