Building character and integrity, not just building careers is what the teachers strive for, in this 110-year-old school ‘Ashraful Madaris’ located in Yakutpura, one of the oldest localities of the historic city of Hyderabad.
Founded in 1918 by Janab Ashraf Ali Sahab, the school has both girls and boys and it caters to the poorest of the poor section of the slum area of the Yakutpura. Ashraful Madaris which is originally an Urdu medium school has recently started English medium in the year 2008.
Ashraul Madaris is not your regular run-of-the-mill school. Standing on 2 acres, it has a large playground with sports facilities, a good library, 30 classrooms, and qualified staff the highlight of the institute is moral and Islamic education, teaching the Arabic language, Quran Nazerah and other subjects of Deeniyath.
Killing Urdu and Urdu medium schools
The school has produced several successful students who have gone on to achieve great laurels in their careers. Two of the alumni who stand out are the late Syed Abid Hussain, a recipient of Padma Bhushan and the late Syed Turabul Hassan, an IAS bureaucrat.
While time and again many students have studied from Urdu medium and topped their exams and carved successful careers, the language is still being side-lined and pushed to the extent of extinction. One such step is the ban on the appointment of teachers in Urdu medium Government-runand aided schools; making books and literature for children in Urdu unavailable, all of which have led to a drastic decrease in the strength of the Urdu medium school.
In order to keep the century-old school alive, the school management started an English medium school in 2008.
“The Government is trying its best surreptitiously to end support for Urdu medium schools so that eventually the Urdu medium schools will shut down and the language will die a slow natural death because there will no longer be new generations to learn Urdu” said Adv. Khalid Hasan, Principal of the school and also General Secretary of Awami Insaaf Movement.
The unavailability of textbooks of all subjects because they are not printed in sufficient numbers and even the absence of chapters in the school syllabus on Muslim freedom fighters, religious figures, scientists, writers and other prominent personalities either English or Urdu is discriminating as it leads to the young minds doubting the contribution of Muslims in nation building, he further shared.
Day boarding – a unique feature of Ashraful Madaris
Day boarding school has been established onthe 1st of Nov, 2021 for boy students of High School (8th, 9th and 10th). The day boarding school is a unique methodology where students of Urdu medium come to school right from the morning prayers at 5:30 AM after which they do some physical exercises, and then study Islamic tenets and the Holy Quran. After breakfast, they join the regular school and study according to the Telangana State Board syllabus. Afternoon prayers are followed by lunch for all Urdu medium students, supplied by the Govt through their mid-day meal scheme. In the evening, after some refreshments and games, they revise the day’s lessons and do their homework. After the night prayers and dinner, they head home by 8 pm.
The rationale for establishing this facility is to provide intensive moral and spiritual education for 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours of supervised study, 5 times prayers and tutorials in the evening supervised PT and games, healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is good for character building, removing stunted growth and malnutrition and providing a healthy mind in a healthy body with spiritual strength.
The day boarding is running successfully and is appreciated by the parents and the students.
Initiatives adapted to survive
The school management is struggling to keep the Urdu school alive. It is an aided school and the fees are nominal. The nearby schools are running in small packed buildings with no playground yet people prefer going there because these schools are English Medium. No private school offers Urdu Medium education apart from Ashraful Madaris.
Mr Maqsood Ali, School Leader, says, “We are trying to get donations from generous people so we can waive off the fees of the poor students. A majority of our students are orphans or their parents are daily wage labourers and they cannot pay even the nominal fees. What we are offering in our school is far better than the other schools, yet due to extreme poverty, our students are unable to afford quality education.”
The expenses of the schools (English and Urdu medium) come to around Three lakh rupees monthly which are still difficult to manage for the management given the poor economic condition of the students resulting in a low collection of fees.
Apart from keeping Urdu alive, the school Principal and the management endeavour to provide nutritious and free mid-day meals, adding substance to what the Govt supplies, school uniforms and books for Urdu medium students, provide computer classes, digital education through projectors, start an NCC (National cadet corps) centre, provide scholarship to deserving meritorious students along with sessions on life skills, legal literacy and career guidance.
“We wish to give to the community educated, well-trained, dedicated and healthy children who will grow up to be responsible citizens and lead the community towards progress. And we hope the community will reciprocate and enrol their children in our school”, said Khalid Hasan, the principal of the institute, in conclusion.
Appeal to the community
Ashraful Madaris – like the name suggests – Madaris (which is a plural of Madrassa), the educational society runsother educational institutes viz., primary and high schools of both Urdu and English media, National Institute of Technical training, Ashraful Madaris MahilaSanatkar and Ashraful Madaris challenger junior college. But to run the higher level institutes, the primary level institutes need strengthening. Despite being an aided school, the Ashraful Madaris Urdu medium school is witnessing a fall in its strength every year even though the results of the school are impressive.
The committee which is doing its best to keep the torch burning want the well-wishers of the institute and those who want the community to progress in the field of education and lovers and promoters of the Urdu language to contribute in whatever way they can so the end result is the sustainability of the institute and excellent output from the school.
(For more information you can contact School Principal Adv. Khalid Hasan on 9291523184)