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UK to bring Muslim schools under government supervision

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August 07, 2005 19:32 IST

The British government is planning to bring upto 150 independent Muslim schools under its supervision by offering them 'voluntary aided' status, a media report said on Sunday.

The radical shake-up designed to bring the Islamic education of British children under government control comes in the wake of last month's London bombings.

The step would bring thousands of Muslim children now taught in independent Islamic schools - many of which operate in shambolic back-street conditions - into mainstream education, the 'Telegraph' daily reported.

Also read: The London blasts

An estimated 120 to 150 independent Muslim schools will be offered Voluntary Aided status, bringing them into line with the 6,850 Roman Catholic, Church of England and Jewish schools.

It will bring them under the full control of local education authorities, who will determine policies on admissions and school timetables.

However, Blair's critics claim he should close the five existing stet-funded Muslim schools instead of expanding their number.

Blair is said to be determined to end the current system which sees private Muslim schools operating behind closed doors, offering a religion-dominated education little different to the madrassas of Pakistan.

An important condition of state funding will be that Muslim schools operate an open admissions policy and take children of other faiths.

The plans will go ahead in a 'twin track' strategy alongside the tough new anti-terror plans announced by the Prime Minister on Friday.

Ruth Kelly, the education secretary, is expected to make an announcement on detailed proposals later this year.

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