Educating Muslims: Need to look beyond rhetoric
By Mohd. Iqbal Jamil
We are an unaided, non commercial English medium public school catering to the special needs of backward, semi urban settlement of Dasna in Ghaziabad district of Western Uttar Pradesh. The School was established in 2001 with a commitment to take quality modern education to a targeted section of people who could not afford it.
Experiences of last 5 years at the School have
given us enlightening insights into our education system. These years have
taught us to face challenges of running an educational institution within a
backward community and to live with constant interference of corrupt state
machinery not even remotely concerned with education. We have often been
ridiculed for running the School as a non-commercial institution. This,
probably, has been in the true spirit of today’s commercialized world in spite
of repeatedly talking of values like human service, equality, liberty and of
democratic and human rights and insistence on a sense of pride in ones own
religion and community. To the common people, talk of values and rights is more
of a slogan of those in politics who never mean what they say. This made our job
far more difficult as we seldom find people who trust what we say. The initial
response of the young students was also of similar nature, probably, arising out
of their experiences at home and in the neighbourhood. It took us a lot of time
and effort to develop a relationship that was rooted in confidence. These
experiences often make us ask ourselves – are we really preparing these children
for the tough battles to come in life with such crass commercialization in every
walk of life? Are we actually doing any good to them?
With this in background, an urgent need has been felt to systematically involve all those concerned with education to collectively formulate issues and seek answers at least for a minimum common cause of imparting quality education to the disadvantaged sections of society- Dalit, Minorities and Tribals. As a first step in direction we propose to organize a day long seminar on “Educating Muslims: Need to look beyond rhetoric”.
The Seminar’s objective is to understand ever changing needs for modern education and ways and means the Muslim community has adopted to cope up with the future challenges. The Seminar proposes to restrict its scope to situations prevailing in the western districts of Uttar Pradesh. The Madarasa education which has so significantly contributed to the spread of literacy among millions of marginalized and deprived masses on the one hand and helped them preserve their ethnic and religious identity on the other has been kept out of the Seminar’s purview. This is to confine the proceedings and discussions in the Seminar to the practical issues related to modern educational needs of the new generation of Muslims in this region.
The Seminar also proposes to look into the impact of policies pursued by the state as well as central governments as both education and social security fall under the concurrent list of the Constitution. These governments wield control not only through curriculum content and evaluation methods but also by imposing rules, regulations and providing funding. They have, all through, been a controlling factor in spite a degree of freedom to private initiative.
The Seminar would strive to arrive at a minimum common strategy by educational institutions specially working in the area with similar target groups to make education a catalyst of economic development and social betterment.
The Seminar proposes to look into three important
issues related to education of Muslims in the region, namely;
The Seminar is proposed to be held on Sunday, 7th January, 2007 at Al Hira Public School, Dasna, District Ghaziabad.
We request you to please send your valued research papers and suggestions for this Seminar on any of the above mentioned issues.
The papers can be either in English, Urdu or Hindi. Any of these languages may also be used for deliberations and discussions in the Seminar.
The papers must reach the undersigned by November 30, 2006 to enable the organizers to scrutinize, print and circulate them.
Your suggestions and observations would be valuable to us.
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