Published On:04 January 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Eighth Foundation Day of National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions celebrated

Presented here is the Text of Speech delivered by Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju, Union Minister for Human Resource Development on Celebration of ‘Eighth Foundation Day’ of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) on 28th December 2012 in New Delhi

‘My Cabinet colleague Shri K. Rahman Khan, Minister of Minority Affairs, my colleague in the Ministry of HRD Shri Jitin Prasada, MOS, Chairman, NCMEI, Justice M. S. Siddiqui, Members of the Commission, officials of the Ministry and the Commission, distinguished academics, friends from the media, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am delighted to be with you on this ‘Eighth Foundation Day’ of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI). Education is power. Education being the most effective instrument for social and economic empowerment and vital for horizontal and vertical mobility in the society, it is imperative to promote education among all other backward sections, especially the minorities, who have fallen far behind the national average in education. The Sachar Committee as well as other studies have found that the reason for the relative social and economic backwardness of the minorities, especially of the Muslims, is due to their educational backwardness. Therefore, in order to pull such minorities, constituting approximately 18.42% of the country’s population from the brink of marginalization and to infuse a sense of inclusiveness in the national mainstream, it is essential to enhance education of the minorities.

As you are aware, UPA Government is committed to empowerment of minorities. The Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme and the recommendations of the Sachar Committee address this challenge of enhancement of education of the minorities. The XI Five Year Plan had also underlined that education is the critical factor that empowers participation in the growth process and a key element of XI Plan strategy was to provide essential education to those large parts of our population who are still excluded from these.

I am happy to share that the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) has been established by an Act of Parliament with the key objective of ensuring that the true amplitude of the educational rights enshrined in Article 30(1) of the Constitution is made available to the members of the notified religious minority communities, including the Muslims. I am happy to learn that during the short period since its establishment since November, 2004, the Commission has issued 7021 Minority Status Certificates to the educational institutions and has also disposed off 13147 out of 14908 petitions/applications. I am also informed that the Commission has proved to be a very cost effective way of providing minority status to institutions as also to grant of affiliation of minorities educational institutions which is indeed praiseworthy.

Several initiatives have been rolled out by the UPA Government to achieve the targets envisioned in the Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for the welfare of the Minorities and the recommendations of the Sachar Committee. To address the low participation of minorities in the national education system, particularly Muslims, my Ministry has taken several initiatives.

Under the Prime Minister’s 15 Point Programme for Welfare of Minorities, Schemes amenable to earmarking of financial and physical targets for minorities, have been implemented to ensure that benefit to minority communities is beyond 15% as in case of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) where share of minorities is upto 20%. In order to enhance participation of minorities in the national education system, various initiatives have been undertaken – 121 districts with concentration of Muslim population are specifically targeted for maximising school access and eliminating infrastructure gaps through opening of 1470 new Primary Schools and 445 Upper Primary Schools; construction of 45541 additional classrooms and recruitment of 32728 teachers during 2011-12. Also, out of 3609 KGBVs sanctioned, 555 KGBVs have been sanctioned in these 121 Minority Concentration Districts.

The States have been urged to cover out of school children going to madarsas/ maqtabs. 7828 recognized madarsas/ maqtabs covering 10.1 lakh Muslim children and 4040 unrecognised madarsas/maqtabs covering 1.6 lakh Muslim children under Education Guarantee Scheme/ Alternative Innovative Education under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Due to these interventions the share of Muslim children enrolled at primary & upper primary level has gone up and those out of school have decreased. According to District Information System of Education (DISE) the enrolment of Muslim children at primary and upper primary level for the year 2010-11 was 13.04% & 11.25% respectively.

Under Elementary and Adult education, earmarking of financial and physical targets of minorities under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV), coverage of children in Madarasas /Maqtabs, focus on minority concentrated districts in Sakshar Bharat and under the Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) Scheme. In Secondary education, focus on minority concentration districts under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), equivalence of certificates and qualifications of Madrassa Boards with State education Boards, CBSE and COBSE. The two schemes viz. Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madarasas (SPQEM) and the Scheme of Financial Assistance for Infrastructure Development for Private Aided/Unaided Minority Institutes (IDMI) carved out of the former Area Intensive and Madarasa Modernization Programme (AIMMP) during the XI Plan has shown significant outcomes in promoting minority education. Under Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madarasas (SPQEM), during 2012-13, out of budget provision of Rs.175.00 crore, Rs.131.65 crore has been released and under Scheme of Financial Assistance for Infrastructure Development for Private Aided/Unaided Minority Institutes (IDMI), out of budget provision of Rs.50.00 crore, an amount of Rs.18.49 crore has been released. Due representation of minorities in selection committees, appointing teachers from minority communities, are some other initiatives.

The National Monitoring Committee on Minorities’ Education (NMCME) has been reconstituted on 23rd December, 2011 under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Minister of Human Resource Development. The Committee has representations from eminent educationists, Members of Parliament, representatives of State Governments and representatives of Minority communities, educational institutions and other stake holders. The The Committee is assisted by a Standing Committee and five Sub-Committees on (i) Vocational Education & Skill Development of Minorities, (ii) Implementation of Schemes Aimed at Minorities, (iii) Mapping of Educational Requirements of Minorities – Region & District wise, (iv) Girls’ Education and (v) Promotion of Urdu language and enhance compatibility amongst minorities through knowledge of English have also been constituted. The Standing Committee and Sub-Committees have already visited a number of States and have interacted with the representatives of the minority communities, managements of educational institutions and other stakeholders. We are expecting reports of the Committee alongwith their recommendations for furthering the cause of the minorities’ education.

In Higher Education, setting up of Women’s Hostels, establishment of Model Degree Colleges in districts with low higher education GER, setting up of polytechnics, setting up of Equal Opportunity Offices in universities, establishment of Centres for study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies in universities are some of the schemes/initiatives which have benefitted minorities/minority concentrated areas. The professional development of Urdu teachers and setting up of residential coaching academies for minorities are some other initiatives. Strengthening the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) and expanding its mandate has been a significant milestone.

A new scheme to assist States for establishment of a model degree college in each of the 374 identified higher educationally backward districts having Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education lower than the national GER has been operationalised. As far as Minority Concentration Areas/Districts are concerned, 64 such areas/districts have been identified under this scheme. Approval has been granted to 15 model degree colleges in Minority Concentration Areas/Districts.

Under the Sub-Mission on Polytechnics, the Government of India provides financial assistance to the State Governments/UTs for setting up of polytechnics in the un-served and underserved districts during the 11th Plan. As per the Scheme criteria, 57 districts out of 90 Minority Concentration Districts are eligible for consideration under the Scheme. So far an amount of Rs.291.66 crore has been released as initial grants for setting up of polytechnics in 49 Districts out of 57 Districts.

The UGC has approved/sanctioned 285 Women’s Hostels during 11th Plan in Minority Concentration Districts/Areas. Out of total allocation of Rs.370.19 crore, Rs.203.69 crore have been released till 27th February, 2012. It has also approved the guidelines for establishment of centres in universities for study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy and sanctioned these centres in 35 universities. Rs.21.53 crores has been released.

Rs. 61.31 crores has been sanctioned for establishment of ‘Residential Coaching Academies for Minorities, Women/SCs/STs’’ in Aligarh Muslim University, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Baba Sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar, Jamia Hamdard and Jamia Millia Islamia so far, an amount of Rs. 30.66 crore has been released by University Grants Commission.

Academies for Professional Development of Urdu Medium Teachers have been set up at three Central Universities viz. Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh (AMU), Jamia Millia Islamia(JMI), New Delhi and Maulana Azad National Urdu University(MANUU), Hyderabad. The Academy at JMI has trained 1675 teachers. MANUU has trained 3083 teachers and AMU has conducted 17 Refresher Courses/workshops for Primary/Secondary school teachers and has covered 416 teachers for teaching modern subjects in Urdu medium.

It is heartening to note that we have made substantial progress during the XIth Five Year Plan in the different sub-sectors of education. The RTE Act, into force from 1st April 2010 mandating educational opportunity to all children between the age group of six to fourteen is the single most effective step taken since the independence to eradicate illiteracy in the country. I take this opportunity to call upon all the citizens, especially those who are educated, to extend their support and active participation in achieving the vision, behind this path-breaking constitutional provision.

Under the Saakshar Bharat Programme, during 2011-12, Rs.456 crore and during 2012-13, Rs.256 crore have been released as central share to various States. In Higher Education, focus on access, equity, and excellence translated into strategies for achieving expansion, inclusion and improved quality.

From my part, I assure you that our Government will do its best to promote education and overall welfare of the Minorities in general and of the Muslims, constituting major chunk of the Minorities, in particular. However, the constitutional mandate of Article 30(1) can only be achieved with the participation and co-operation of the general public. I sincerely hope of getting such participation and co-operation in our common endeavour. Let us join hands and move ahead on the path ahead of us.

With this expectation, let me end here by wishing NCMEI and its Chairman and members all success in their endeavour of educational empowerment of minorities and a very prosperous and purposeful new year to all of you.’

(Courtesy: Press Information Bureau, GoI)

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