The Waqf Board in Uttarakhand will introduce the syllabus of the National Council of Educational Research and Training, or NCERT, in all the 103 madrasas that it runs across the state from the next academic session, reported The Hindu.

The board has also decided to open madrasas to children of all religions, and introduce a uniform dress code as part of efforts to modernise its education.

“The efforts to bring the students of madrasas in the mainstream is our priority,” Uttarakhand Waqf Board Chairman Shadab Shams told The Hindu. “We will also try to get CBSE [Central Board of Secondary Education] or Uttarakhand State Board affiliations for the madrasas in the years to come.”

Shams, who is also a former state Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson, said that religious education in madrasas under the Waqf Board will be taught in the first hour of the school, from 6.30 am to 7.30 am, following which general classes for all subjects will take place.

The board is planning to introduce the NCERT syllabus till Class 12 and will also replicate it in 419 other registered madrasas in the state, reported The Hindu. The state Waqf Board will use its own funds generated from religious institutions under it to hire teachers and modernise the classrooms, reported the newspaper.

“We have now proposed in the recent board meeting that we will develop seven of our madrassas into model madrassas,” Shams told The Indian Express. “These seven will include two each in Dehradun, Haridwar, and Udham Singh Nagar, and one in Nainital.”

A waqf is a property given for a religious, educational or charitable cause by Muslims. In India, waqfs are governed under the Waqf Act, 1995. Each state has a Waqf Board led by a legal entity, who is vested with the power to acquire, hold and transfer a property.