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

Educational backwardness of girls: a moment of thought 

By Syed Ziaur Rahman Ghausi

The Milli Gazette Online

From Islamic point of view acquisition of education and knowledge is obligatory for every man and woman. Without education man is ignorant of his distinguished and high position. Because of education only man enjoys the position of highest of the creations. From temporal point of view also without education man is left far behind in this competitive world.

This is an undeniable fact that womanís role in manís education and training is very important and that is why a motherís lap is called the first school of a child. In this school real foundation of manís education and training is laid on which the superstructure of future life is built. Hence the stronger this foundation, the stronger will be the building or the superstructure. That is to say, if the education and training imparted by the mother is correct, that of the child will also accordingly be correct. On the contrary, if the education provided by the mother is not correct or if she is totally uneducated or even illiterate it can very well be understood how the education and training of the child will be. That is why it is said that if a girl is educated, the entire family and even the whole society can be educated. 

Similarly, the role of girls education is important in the evolution of a society also. Educational backwardness of girls is a serious problem for the society. In spite of these facts there are many Muslim majority areas in our country even today where no serious attention has been paid to girls education. In far off and remote rural areas specially even today there are no suitable arrangements for education and training of girls and women.

Such a remote and backward region is Kishan Ganj district in Bihar situated at north eastern border. Educational backwardness of this Muslim majority district is extremely sorrowful and disappointing whose average literacy rate is far less than the national rate of literacy. Literacy rate among girls is even more disappointing which is 0.22 percent ie out of 400 girls, only one is literate. Obviously this rate is not only of great concern but also extremely sorrowful. Parents in this area in spite of their great desire are unable to provide suitable education to their daughters because there are no proper arrangements for this. Some arrangements have been made for boys somehow but there are many difficulties for providing suitable education to girls. Parents find themselves quite helpless in this respect because on account of religious and social taboos they cannot freely arrange for the education of their daughters, like boys, in other places. Locally, except for some madrasas for primary religious education there are no suitable and satisfactory arrangements where they can send their daughters for modern education and training along with religious education. A lot needs to be done in this respect.

By the grace of God, All India Talimi wa Milli Foundation has paid special and immediate attention to this important Milli requirement. Head of this Foundation, the renowned religious scholar, Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasmiís name needs no introduction in the countryís religious, Milli, educational, journalistic and welfare circles. In spite of holding key posts in various milli organisations and institutions in the country, he has rendered great service in educational field along with social service. Educational backwardness of minorities, specially of Muslims, has always not only engaged his attention but in the practical field also he has been rendering selfless service for educational advancement of Muslims. He took part in many educational caravans for spreading educational awareness and has undertaken tours in distant illiterate and backward rural areas of the country. He has conducted different surveys through his own sources about population of Muslim in different regions and areas of the country, how many of them are literate and educated, how many are illiterate, how much is the literacy rate among women in Muslim society in particular areas, how many women are illiterate, what is the percentage of school going girls among Muslims in different areas etc and all such statistics are at his finger tips. In his speeches and writings he often refers to these statistics and tries to shake Muslim society to rouse them but the regrettable truth is that Muslimsí lack of interest in education was a matter of concern yesterday also and is today also. These are the reasons because of which Maulana Qasmi himself and All India Talimi wa Milli Foundation of which he is the president, have given full attention, along with other milli services, for rendering educational services and have set up educational institutions in educationally backward areas of the country in such a short period. Among such educational institutions, Milli Girls School, Tapu in Biharís Kishan Ganj district, Talimabad deserves special mention. Kishan Ganj is the Muslim majority district of Bihar where their population is more than 65 percent but it is a matter of great surprise that in this district percentage of education in women is zero. That means that there is no tradition of womenís education there. No body can deny the fact that for better education and training of future generation, it is more important that women should be educated. Educated mothers only can provide better education and training to every child who is brought up in their laps, rather than the mothers who are uneducated. 

Judging from this point of view, setting up of Milli Girls Schools in this educationally most backward region of the country is such a farsighted step whose importance and value can be understood and appreciated probably by future generations only but it can be said that this school which is only a small institution at present will definitely turn out to be a milestone in bringing about an educational revolution in this entire area in future.

In such a back ground let us have a birdís eye review of Milli Girls School which is an important centre of womenís education run under the Foundation. As stated above it is located in the Muslim majority area in the suburban region of Kishan Ganj district (Talimabad, Tapu, Post office Tara Bari Chowk). This peaceful, serene, green, safe and secure place is adjacent to the Indo-Nepal borer and is the only and unique educational institution in this area. As soon as you step in the compound of this school you will be surprised to see how all this has happened in such a backward and isolated place. This can only be called Godís mercy.

Milli Girls School was set up on 8 December 2002 on a plot of land which was gifted by Muslims as well as non-Muslims. After its establishment its expansion and development is going on where in addition to modern subjects like science, mathematics, sociology, English and Hindi, special attention is also paid on religious education and Urdu to girls. This is an English medium school under CBSE syllabus. Since it is a residential school there are good arrangements for boarding, lodging and perfect supervision and control for all the 24 hours. Services of efficient, experienced and virtuous lady teaches belonging to places like Delhi, Patna, Kerala and other cities are available to the students of this school. Special attention is paid to better growth and development of the personality of girls. There are also good arrangements of transport for bringing girls from far off villages and dropping them back. The atmosphere in the school is healthy, neat, clean and affectionate.

The building of the school is large, spacious, properly ventilated and airy. There are big fields and play grounds for sports activities. There is separate hostel building with boarding and lodging facilities. Double-storeyed building of the school is already completed. For higher classes, plans for building of third storey, another hostel building and staff quarters are under consideration.
So far there were arrangements for education from KG to 5th class. Now for the current year ie 2005 arrangements are being made for education up to 8th class. New admissions are going on. Last year there were 110 small girl students and it is expected that this year their number may exceed 200. The position of this school is undoubtedly like a ray of light in the educational darkness of the neighbouring areas. If people interested in public service and in promotion of womenís education provide special attention and help this school will, Insha Allah, soon create a special identity in the field of education and training.

When this school is fully established and developed, setting up schools on similar pattern in other backward areas of the country is among the priorities of this Foundation. 

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