HRD ministry’ committee for minorities' education
By Andalib Akhter
New Delhi: In his effort to induce educational awareness among the minorities, particularly the Muslims, the Union Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh has constituted a 27-member monitoring committee. The 'National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education', consists of four members of Parliament belonging to minority communities, vice chancellors of various universities, educationists, particularly those who have interest in education of minorities, journalists and others. The HRD minister will be the chairman of the committee.
The committee will collect data on the status of minority education at different levels in the country, recommend opening more schools in minority-dominated areas under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, recommend opening of Urdu-medium schools at primary and secondary levels, prepare way to give special attention to the education of girls belonging to minorities, suggest amendments in the guideline of UGC and AITEC for the recognition of minorities’ educational institutions particularly the professional institutions. The committee will also monitor different schemes launched for minorities by various ministries and advise the government about the implementation of programmes meant for minority communities. The committee is constituted under the recommendation of National Policy on Education 1986.
Talking to this correspondent, the HRD minister Arjun Singh said that inducing educational awareness among the minorities and making them educated is top priority of the United Progressive Alliance government and this committee is a step in this direction.
In 1995 a similar committee was constituted by the HRD ministry and had recommended several measures for the educational
upliftment of the minorities. But in 1998 the NDA government neither extended nor reconstituted the committee. It did not even adopt the recommendations made by that committee.
It may be recalled that the HRD ministry recently organized a two-day conference on the educational
upliftment of the minorities in the capital. The seminar was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. Several intellectuals, educationists, social workers and journalists took part in the conference. Following suggestions came during the two-day deliberation:
Education should be linked to employment as well as empowerment in order to improve the social and economic conditions of the minorities as well as ensure their equal participation in the governance of the country.
The Minorities Education Board that the government proposes to set up should also look into the various problems that minority educational institutions face from politicians and bureaucracy such as getting recognition and providing funds etc.
Minority community representatives should be included in all government-appointed educational bodies and commissions.
n Minority professional educational institutions should be exempted from common entrance test.
Minority educational institutions should be able to gain affiliation not only to central universities, but also to other leading institutions of higher learning.
There should be reservations for minorities in all state-run institutions of higher learning.
Various government schemes and projects for education should focus on the minority communities as well. Budget allocation for all such schemes and projects should be commensurate with the numerical ratio of the minorities in the total population.
The state needs to take special steps to promote modern and technical education among the minorities such as setting up ITIs in minority-dominated areas.
The wrong propaganda against Madarsas, branding them as breeding grounds of terror must be stopped.
Muslim community leaders, including politicians, must make modern education one of their principle concerns.
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