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Education Summit 2018: Naqvi speaks on North and South India education gap and need for ‘shaadi shagun’



Mail Today’s seventh Education and Skill Summit 2018 came into force to bring together experts, citizens and those in charge of the education sector India – to discuss the key issues surrounding the Indian education system.

This year, the focus has also widened to include the importance of skill development in our country.

While speaking at the Education Summit 2018, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi spoke on various education initiatives to boost education of minorities such as measures taken to provide free coaching classes for government jobs, the education gap of minorities between North and South India, the need for providing funds for the marriage of girls and how communal violence needs to be tackled.

More than 100 minority candidates crack Civil Services exam: Naqvi explains how
For the first time in the history of India, more than 100 candidates have cracked the Civil Services exam from the minority community and 72 per cent of them were Muslims. The minister was asked how did this achievement had come about.

Minority Affairs Minister Naqvi stated that food, clothes and shelter have always been the focus areas of development but education hadn’t been considered that important till now.

“When I got this responsibility, I focused on three E’s – education, employment and empowerment,” said Naqvi. “In minority communities, children had a school drop-out rate of 72-75 per cent,” he added.

To reduce the dropout rates, apart from the pre and post matric scholarships, a special scholarship was started for girls by the Maulana Azad Foundation named the ‘Begum Hazrat Mahal’ scholarship.

“As a result of this, today, the drop-out rate has decreased to 40-41 per cent,” the minister said.

Naqvi mentioned that coaching classes were also a problem to afford for the minority sections. But the government started coaching classes for minorities in various cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

“Through free coaching centres, classes were provided not only for UPSC, but state services banking services, and others as well. In 2017, 126 candidates from minority communities were selected of whom 58 were from the Muslim community, and in 2018, 132 candidates were selected, out of whom 32-33 were Muslim candidates,” said the minority affairs minister.

However, Naqvi said that the government didn’t have much to do with such brilliant results that were seen for the first time in the history of India.

“They were capable already — this was merely the result of providing an atmosphere of development without discrimination along with free coaching classes,” the minister added.

Big gap between North and South India in terms of minority education

The minorities minister quoted Kerala’s 100 per cent literacy rate and the high education rates in south Indian states and compared it with that of north Indian states such as Bihar and UP.

He said that there was a huge gap between North and South India in the education statistics of minorities.

3 crore scholarships given in four years

He points out that literacy rate and awareness has increased in North India and goes on to say that the government had given more than three crore scholarships in these four years. “The scholarship goes straight to the accounts of the boys and girls,” he said.

“More than 60 per cent of this number are girls,” Naqvi adds.

He also mentions the mobile app for scholarships launched by the government a month back. The app allows everyone to apply for scholarships sitting at home and check the status as well on their smartphones.

Skill development programmes

The minority affairs minister explained how the government wanted to link education to employment by carrying out skill development programmes. However, they weren’t focusing on stereotype course development programmes.

“When the GST rates came out, we started a course on becoming a GST facilitator of one, four and three months,” he said. This was because it was apparent that many companies were troubled by how to implement or go about the GST rates.

We have provided the livelihood for 18.5 lakh people through skill development in these four years, he said.

Minister defends provision of funds for marriage of girl child

When the question of providing “shadi shagun” or funds for the marriage of girls was mentioned as a “big problem”, the minister defended the move by saying that marriage funds was definitely a big issue for the economically weaker sections who would rather save money for marriage by not putting their girls in school.

Free training for madrassa teachers

Naqvi mentioned the free classes offered to train madrassa teachers so that minority students could be educated in conventional subjects better.

When this was done, the minister stated that the problem of linking mainstream education to madrassa teaching was solved.

Why providing ‘shaadi shagun’ is so important

The minister said that it was “fact and ground reality” that economically weaker sections feel that despite free education and scholarship, the expenditure on girls’ marriages was an extra expense. This increased the drop out rates of girls to a great extent when the period of free education was over.

Thus, the government came up with a scheme that provided ‘shaadi shagun’ or marriage funds for girl children if the parents had educated her till graduation using the government shcolarship.

“This was a measure to promote and encourage families to educate their girls,” Naqvi said.

Educational development provided to 300 districts instead of 90

Naqvi said that under the earlier UPA-led government 90 districts were chosen for developmental work.

But the Modi-government turned that number into 300 and carried out a large number of developmental activities from establishing educational institutions and community centres for training to drinking water facilities.

On communal violence, Naqvi said that people who take the law in their hands and spread disturbance is the communities are purely criminals.

“It is our commitment and priority that all these factors do not come between developmental activities. People who do such heinous crimes need to be tackled with law and it is done,” Naqvi said.

‘Minorities and majorities cannot be diffentiated’

In closing, Naqvi pointed out that the more we differentiate between ‘minority issues’ and ‘majority issues’, we won’t be able to ensure development for the entirety of India.

“We said that countries problems are minorities’ problems. If education problems exist is in various parts of India, then it will definitely be a problem for minorities as well,” stated the minorities minister.

“If we need to uphold our aim of ‘Sabka Saath SabkaVikass’, we cannot differentiate between minorities and majorities,” he said.

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