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Educational Survey Report : 2002
Languishing Urdu Medium Schools of Delhi

What are Urdu schools?
The lot of Urdu schools is a very pathetic one. Sparsely-lit rooms (rather dungeons), dilapidated or no structures, choked and stinking lavatories, moth-eaten furniture, dangerous fittings, unhygienic water to drink, lost teachers, unconcerned parents and meandering students happen to be some features of the beleaguered Urdu medium schools of India according to Haji Mian Faiyazuddin, a social worker and a freedom fighter. The Qaumi Sr. Sec. School at Eidgah has been run under azure skies for the last 26 years since the Emergency! Nobody is concerned.
If other schools have broken records for excelling in the recently declared school Board results, Urdu medium schools in Delhi too have done the same only in the field of failure. At Chandni Mahal, and Matia Mahal Boys’ Urdu schools, of the umpteen who appeared, only few students could just scrape through with passing marks. The cumulative percentage of the result for standard ten is an abysmal 30 per cent whereas for standard twelve the same percentage happens to be a pathetic 28 per cent according to a survey conducted by Firoz Bakht Ahmed, M. Atyab Siddiqui and Iqbal Malak of Friends for Education. The Urdu medium girls are not far behind as their pass percentage in standard ten is a slightly improved 31 per cent and in standard twelve it is 18 per cent. Compared to this the all India Urdu results are still more deplorable. In sixty schools of Andhra Pradesh, the result is zero per cent! 
What is to be lamented and most shocking, is the fact that year after year their results are the same—just pathetic. A detailed analysis on the part of the Friends for Education, a platform meant for the uplift of Urdu medium schools, depicts in its yearly survey report that it is a vicious circle of intangibility and incongruity between the managing bodies, teachers and parents that is responsible for the drop out percentage and sharp decline in the falling academic levels of Indian Muslims. 

The Walled City:
Shahjahanabad – the walled city of Delhi, is an area beset with myriads of problems – the basic among them being exploding population, unhygienic conditions without adequate medical facilities, squalid sanitation, disgruntled and haphazard planning, illegal tenements, unauthorized constructions, encroachments and chaotic traffic. In fact, the walled city tops the population density per sq.km. in the world as it is about 7000 according to latest W.H.O. survey report (2001). There are about 1000 katras and kuchas in the walled city. 
Though the traditional madrasas like Madrasa Hussain Bakhsh, Madrasa Alia, Fatehpuri, Madrasa Aminia etc. still exist to cater to the theological education, yet quite a few teaching shops in the name of primary, middle and secondary schools have mushroomed all over the walled city and its outskirts. Many of them are merely ‘shops’ and are not recognized by the C.B.S.E.
The residents felt grossly neglected and complained of deteriorating educational standards in the schools situated in their areas. In spite of the feelers sent by Friends for Education and many parents, not even a single politician turned up. 

Illiterate parents:
Of about five hundred families met, it was discovered that only 10 per cent of them had a graduate in a house. 
The Parents, in general, were not satisfied with the number of schools for their children. It was found that of the 5000 students contacted about 80% of them reached school by walking. The remaining 20% used cycle-rickshaws, cycles or buses. 

Faultering teachers:
In our mass contact programme we came to analyze that the ball was in the court of teachers. They took the gigantic task of imparting education rather casually and in attitude were uninspiring and debilitating. Their approach was lackluster and slothful. Every subject had its subjective aspect as well to be taught. A science teacher must take his students to the nearest park to practically drill the botanical aspect, the History Teacher must take the students to Qutub Minar or Tughalaqabad, to places where monuments tells a silent history word by word. The students must be made to analyze and reason the theoretical aspect of subject like history or literature of any language. But that is our reading of these teachers. 

What teachers, parents have to say:
The science P.G.T. at Qaumi School retorts and irritatingly blames parents completely for the failures on the part of students. He considers these parents as a lot of demoralized, uncultured savages who send their wards to schools only because they want to get rid of them for some time by sending them to schools. One teacher of Jama Masjid Sr. Sec. School was thoroughly disgusted with some students and shammed them saying that the Urdu medium students had no manners and at times used derogatory language against teachers and ever became threateningly offensive. 

Any way out?
There is a fear that Urdu medium schools would pose problems for the future role of the children. Lack of English and regional language would cripple the future generation. There is some truth in this statement. But this is applicable to other non-English medium schools too. In non-Urdu, non-English medium schools, teachers and the community leaders play a very effective role and plug the loopholes. What needs to be done here is to take special care in introducing English to the children even outside the syllabus after regular school hours. Many schools are successfully doing this.
Since independence nobody tried to redress the wrongs of these Urdu medium schools. Various Ministers of Education since the time of Maulana Azad came and relinquished. Today there is no Ministry of Education. Only the Human Resources Development Ministry is there under which education is a dissipated department besides child and women’s welfare ministries. It’s true that various governments came and promised for better education but miserably failed to fulfill their rhetoric with deeds. It’s not strange that education is going to dogs because we spend only 3.8% of our GNP for education which is almost negligible. Unless some drastic remedial steps are taken, the Urdu medium schools will keep on languishing eating into their own entrails destroying the future potential ruthlessly. If children of today are not educated properly, which is their birthright, they will end up into a bottom less hell adding to the increasing number of criminals like drug peddlers, anti social elements, burglars, cheats and smugglers. Nation has to be accountable for that. It is a heart-rending, bitter truth.

The community should have a well-recognized control over school management. Teachers should be re-oriented to rise up to the occasion and take up responsibility to save the situation. As things stand, the number of Urdu primary schools is on the decline. There is disillusionment on the part of the community and frustration on the part of the parents. Urdu has to survive. But much depends upon the community itself. Why blame the Government and others for our ills and shortcomings.
q

Compiled by Firoz Bakht Ahmed
with inputs from: M.Atyab Siddiqui and Iqbal Mohammed Malak (FRIENDS FOR EDUCATION)

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