Madrasas have long been an integral part of the education landscape of South Asia. In the context of rapidly modernizing Bangladesh, far from being moribund, these longstanding religious institutions are playing a large and expanding role as education providers. Madrasas currently account for approximately 14 percent of primary enrollment and 21 percent of secondary enrollment.
However, madrasas, and Quomi (orthodox) schools in particular, are controversial institutions in Bangladesh, central to the polarized discourse regarding the role of Islam in society and concerns about radicalization. After first placing madrasas in historical context, this forum explored key contemporary issues such as ongoing government reform efforts, issues of gender and girls education in madrasas, and social marginalization of madrasa students and graduates. The goal was to inform the ongoing and often contentious debate around madrasa education in Bangladesh.