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Education for Minorities

Sachar Committee Report on Educational Status of Muslims

The Government of India constituted a High Level Committee (HLC) under the Chairmanship of Justice (Retd.) Rajinder Sachar to prepare a report on the Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim

Community. The High Level Committee (popularly known as the Sachar Committee) submitted its report on 17th November, 2006. In its Report the Committee observed that Muslims have been left behind Muslims have been left behind in the growth and development process. It recommended setting up of an autonomous Assessment Monitoring Authority (AMA), creation of National Data Bank and constitution of an

Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC). It also suggested provision of hostel facilities at reasonable cost, inclusion of minority aspects in the general curriculum for teacher training, setting up and strengthening of state run Urdu medium schools, linkage of Madarsas to Higher Secondary Board, recognition of the degrees from Madaras for eligibility in competitive examinations, provision of financial and other support to

Madarsas. It also suggested that the outreach of upper primary schools, particularly for Muslim girls, should be expanded with girls only schools, wherever required and by opening residential Kasturba Gandhi Balika

Vidyalaya (KGBV) schools, on priority, in areas with substantial Muslim population, opening of secondary/senior secondary schools in areas of Muslim concentration, a special literacy drive to be taken up in these distincts to improve the overall literacy rate and especially the literacy rate of Muslim women.

Some facts highlighted by Sachar Committee about educational conditions of Muslims:

  1. The literacy rate among the Muslims in 2001 was far below the national average.

  2. Muslims have not been able to respond to the challenge of improving their educational status.

  3. 25% Muslim children in the 6 − 14 years age group have either never attended school or have dropped out:

  4. Only one out of every 25 Under-Graduate and 50 Post-Graduate students in premier colleges is a Muslim.

  5. NCAER figures show that only about 4% of all Muslim students are enrolled in Madaras.

  6. A comparison across Socio Religious Communities (SRCs) reveals lower level of Mean Years of Schooling for the Muslim community.

  7. The increase in enrolments has been highest among SCs/STs followed by Muslims.

  8. Drop out rates among Muslims are highest at the level of Primary, Middle and Higher Secondary compared to all the SRCs.

  9. Muslims are at much larger disadvantage at the higher secondary level.

  10. Lower enrolment in Urdu medium schools is due to limited availability of such schools at the elementary level.

Enhancing Educational Opportunities for Minorities

  1. The government is trying to enhance educational opportunities for the minorities through a number of programmes. These include Scholarship Schemes:

  2. The Ministry of Minority Affairs has implemented three scholarship schemes, a coaching and allied scheme specifically for students from the minority communities. Students from minority communities are being benefited under Meritorious Girl's Scholarship Scheme of Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) and a fellowship scheme called Maulana Azad National Fellowship. Multi-Sectoral Development Programmes:

  3. A Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) was launched in 90 identified minority concentration districts in 2008 − 09. Prime Minister's New 15-Point Programme:

  4. Prime Minister's New 15 Point Programme was launched in 2006 aimed at ensuring the well-being, protection and development of minorities. The focus of the new Programme is to make certain that benefits of various schemes/programmes flow equitably to the minorities. For this, its quantifies a certain portion of development projects to be established in the areas with minority concentration. It stipulates that wherever possible, 15% targets and outlays under various schemes will be earmarked for the minorities. All Central Ministries/Departments, State Governments/UT Administrations have been advised to implement this new Programme. One of the objectives of the Prime Minister's New 15 Point Programme is to enhance opportunities for education for students belonging to minority communities.

Conclusion

  1. The problems of educational backwardness amongst minorities, especially Muslims, are being addressed in a holistic way and the efforts being taken in this regard would need to be sustained. The efforts being made in this direction have already started showing positive results.

  2. More effort is required to publicize the benefits of education through awareness campaigns in vernacular languages especially in minority concentration areas. Innovative methods like use audio-visual, nukkad natak etc could be included in the awareness campaigns. Further, local conditions, means of livelihood and occupation of minority communities would need to be factored in. For example, the approach towards children engaged in assisting agricultural activities or in handlooms etc. For attending schools would need to be flexible.

Courtesy: Yojana