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Education conference a resounding success
By By Aftab H Kola, Bhatkal

The picturesque town of Bhatkal (Karnataka) had a different agenda. The banner on either sides of the Highway just outside Bhatkal welcomed the delegates who were to converge for a historic All-India Muslim Educational Conference. Zeroing in on the venue, smartly dressed handsome boys were busy escorting the 300-odd delegates who had landed at Bhatkal from across the country. An impressive pandal greeted them. The guests were treated to a delectable local cuisine.

Anjuman Hami-e-Muslimeen, Bhatkal, a pioneering Muslim education trust administering a string of institutions including professional ones, realizing the pathetic conditions of Muslims in the domain of education had come forward to host the All-India Muslim Education Conference in Bhatkal, as part of their platinum jubilee celebrations.

The three-day conference, held during 5-7 May, took significant steps by addressing pressing issues facing the Muslim Ummah in the field of education. It resolved that the community should strive to establish a Muslim Education Board at All India level to address all issues relating to the education of Muslims and to improve educational conditions of Muslims. It also resolved the Muslim community needed to focus on ensuring that every child was provided with quality primary education in his/her mother tongue, which was their constitutional right. It should be ensured that basic and primary education is provided with a focus on retaining the linguistic, cultural and religious identity of the Muslims and their value system. The conference further resolved that the community should focus on utilizing fully the facilities provided by the Govts in the field of secondary education to ensure that it achieves maximum possible representation in the number of matriculates. It further resolved that the govt must be persuaded to provide adequate reservation to Muslims in all professional and technical institutions run by the government, as was being done in Karnataka, Kerala and some other states. It was also resolved that the community should prepare time-bound action plan to educate every Muslim girl at her highest potential. It was further resolved that the maktabs and madrasas be opened as adjunct to those mosques for the promotion of primary education and literacy.

The conference attracted a galaxy of eminent Muslims who presented their papers on different topics related to literacy abd education. Prof AM Khusro, former chairman, Finance Commission, Govt of India, called for the establishment of regional institutes in the southern and northern parts of the country under the supervision of a central authority to improve the educational standards of Muslims. Speaking on the topic, “educational conditions of Muslims and the formation of an All-India body to monitor their educational progress” Khusro stressed the need for the formation of a national think tank of Muslim scholars to improve the educational standards of Muslims. He added that the think tank should evolve strategies to integrate religious education and modern education. Prof Khusro suggested that the modern educational and vocational courses could be introduced in madrasas without disturbing their syllabi. Syed Shahabuddin, chairman, All-India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat, said country’s constitution provides full freedom to the minorities to establish educational institutions on their own. He was speaking on the topic,”Constitutional safeguards for education of minorities”.
Noted Islamic scholar and vice-president of Jamite-Ulama-e-Hind, Maulana Abdulla Mughisi claimed that due to the efforts of luminaries like Maulana Mohammed Khan and Ali Mian today the state of Uttar Pradesh is home to 36,000 primary schools, out of which 27,000 are recognized by the state Govt. Making it clear that the ulama never opposed learning of English, Maulana said the community needed along with the ulama doctors, engineers and other professionals as well. The Maulana asserted , Islam, from the very first day of revelation, focussed on knowledge. Speaking on ‘Upgrading of Madrasa education, with special reference to introduction of modern subjects’ he said it was the responsibility of the community to provide education up to standard five with strong ground in one’s culture and values and added that later on a Muslim student can enter whichever field he wants to take up.

Mr Moosa Raza, chairman MOEMIN, spoke on the need for the minorities to take full advantage of the opportunities thrown open in the information technology field. Giving a key-note address Raza averred that IT is fast becoming an integral part of everyday life as everyone that matters will be using PCs, internet, palmtops and cellphones and appealed to the Muslims not to miss the IT bus as they had missed the Industrial Revolution earlier.

Dr KVA Bavappa, an eminent researcher and consultant, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said institutions should integrate teaching of secular and religious subjects, provide facility for prayers and give personalized attention to students to groom them as leaders with vision. He said that institutions should also look at the economic situation and to motivate idle manpower to get engaged in some gainful employment for which need-based training should be organized. He added that to bring a change in the present situation in education a national body to study, plan and design action programmes, train manpower, undertake research and publish information useful to the society should be created.

Maulana Saalim Qasimi, rector, Darul-Uloom (Wakf), Deoband, asserted that Islam has stood the tests of time. It is therefore within its parameters to utilize all modern tools-telecommunications, computers and internet- in the fulfillment of objectives of Islam, rising above distinctions of caste, creed and tribes and economic disparities. Maulana said,”It becomes duty of all of us to use these tools, such as internet, etc, to take the message to every home. The Jamia and other institutions cannot remain aloof from acquiring the knowledge of these technologies.The Jamias should train students in such fields so that a correct picture of Islam is projected and also to combat the mischievous and sinister campaign unleashed against Islam.
Speaking on,’Building up a database for educational and social uplift: A case of Muslim education in Bengal”, Mr MKA Siddiqui, ex-research professor, Asiatic Society, Calcutta, said, in framing policy and fixing up priorities as also for estimating the changes, data both qualitative and quantitative, is a must and cannot be ignored and fixing up baseline helps estimation and measurement of periodic changes’. Lamenting about the bleak educational situation of Muslims in Bengal Mr Siddiqui said that it requires an all-out endeavour to locate and sort out the barriers to progress, both historically and in contemporary situation.

Prof. KM Bahauddin from Kerala, said lack of information on technical careers is one factor that keeps away Muslims from venturing into technical field. He said that it has become necessary to set up information and guidance centres in different states so that opportunities available in different categories could be communicated to maximum number of candidates. Prof Imtiaz Ahmed speaking on “Attitudes and achievements of Muslims in relation to education with special reference to social stratification”, said Muslims should not solely rely on institutions set up by them, instead they should take advantage of state institutions wherever they exist. While Mr B Sheikh Ali, ex-vice-chancellor, Mangalore university spoke on”Upgrading Muslim educational institutions and effecting socio-economic improvement in densely populated backward localities” Prok Ahmed Sajjad dwelt on ‘Counselling and guidance relating to education, employment and information technology”.

The key-note speeches were followed by an open session in which delegates deliberated upon various topics. 

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