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Published in the 1-15 Apr 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

IMEFNA seminar in Aligarh

By Zafarul-Islam Khan

The Milli Gazette Online 

Aligarh: A two-day seminar was organised during 5-6 March in AMU by the US-based Indian Muslim Education Foundation of North America (IMEFNA) to assess and evaluate its coaching programmes in various Indian cities under the banner of “Upward Bound Programme” (UBP). It was attended by IMEFNA president Dr Khurshid Mallick and the brain behind the scheme Atiqur Rahman, a nuclear engineer. Jamia Hamdard chancellor Saiyid Hamid also participated in the proceedings attended by people running the scheme in the cities of Aligarh, Bharuch, Patna, Muzaffarpur and Delhi. In Patna alone four centres are run in various localities.

IMEFNA coaching centre

IMEFNA coaching centre

According to a presentation, 963 students, each costing US$ 11 per student per month, have benefitted from the scheme so far. The ratio of girls is 39 percent while 5 percent were non-Muslims. 

Atiqur Rahman, who devised the scheme, said in his introductory remarks that a government cannot implement this programme while the community can since it owns the scheme.

Saiyid Hamid observed that it is rare and unique that people who migrated to distant lands still think of their brethren back home. Paying warm tributes to the people behind the programme, he said that it would be better if they could share with us some of their sincerity also.

Mr Quadir Husain, introducing the programme, said that UBP vision is “Improve Muslim and underprivileged non-Muslim participation in the intellectual leadership of India.” The solution lies in educaton, taking into account the fact that the literacy level of Muslims in India is lowest. 

The aim of the UBP is to get Muslims into quality higher education. The programme is offered to selected students of the the 9-12th grades and the goal is to achieve an annual output of 5000 students from 50 centres. 

It was learnt from regional reports that the scheme is facing problems: students drop out, do not continue after the 10th or 12th standards, college students do not show interest as the schemes are run in “school” buildings. There seemed little coordination between the centres and the programme director in India. Some centres came with complaints and problems rather than results to show.

IMEFNA representatives explained that each centre is the owner of the scheme and is expected to take over the programme entirely after four years of subsidies from IMEFNA.

The writer participated in the first day’s sessions 

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