Tuesday, 7 January 2014

HRM’s Speech on The Occasion of Annual Meeting of The National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education (NMCME)

HRD Minister, Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju
Following are the Opening Remarks of HRD Minister, Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju at the Meeting of the National Monitoring Committee for Minorities’ Education (NMCME) held on 6th January, 2014 at New Delhi:

 I have immense pleasure in welcoming each one of you to the Annual Meeting of the National Monitoring Committee for Minorities’ Education.

            I thank my colleagues Secretaries of Higher Education and School Education Department, Chairman of the Standing Committee, Chairpersons and Members of the Sub-committees and other esteemed members of the National Monitoring Committee for attending the meeting.  I wish you all a very Happy New Year and look forward to have fruitful discussions as we go along with the agenda items.

            We all recognize the centrality of education in individual growth and development, social and economic development and its contributory role to nation building. At the same time, we are fully aware of the need to address issues for enhancing the participation of minorities in education. 

            In this context, you are aware that several initiatives have been rolled out under the auspices of the UPA Government’s Common Minimum Programme, the Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for the welfare of the Minorities and the recommendations of the Sachar Committee. A multi   pronged strategy has been adopted to address the educational backwardness of the minorities.

            A very good beginning had been made during the XI Plan and the XII Plan also adheres to the strategy of empowerment of Minorities through educational empowerment, skill development for employability, enhanced targeting to overcome socio-economy deficiency with forward and backward linkages, structures for monitoring with greater transparency with the help of the civil society. 

            I thank the Chairman, Standing Committee, Chairpersons of the Sub-Committees and the Members of NMCME who really worked hard to evolve appropriate strategies and have made suitable recommendations by continuously interacting with the stakeholders. I have discussed these recommendations in detail with my officials in my Ministry and similarly with my colleagues in Ministry of Minority Affairs to seek better convergence of available schemes to multiply the benefits. We have accepted many of the recommendations made and we are in the process of implementing them. We look forward to the continued support of the Standing Committee and the Members of NMCME to look into the specific issues and assist the Ministry in formulating and implementing the schemes for the benefit of minorities.

            While we recognize that special interventions are essential for growth and development of Minorities, I am sure we all agree that gradually for sustained development, Minorities must grow along with the progress in the national mainstream. The challenge is to be sensitive to the needs of the Minorities and simultaneously work towards their general mainstreaming. While my Ministry has been making concerted efforts for ensuring that Minorities are given special attention while implementing the regular schemes, I am aware that the guidelines of existing schemes sometimes do not lend scope for greater flexibility for better outreach. Hence, a lot more needs to be done by devising special schemes aimed at enhancing the participation of Minorities at all levels of education. In this regard, I sincerely look forward to your constructive views and suggestions in helping the Ministry to carry forward its committed agenda. 

            I now present here a brief overview of some of the steps taken by my Ministry in furthering the education of Minorities. The Ministry on its own started to collect data on educational indicators of Muslims since 2006-07 in order to track their educational development.  The districts with more than 20% Muslim population were identified for special attention under different programmes of the Ministry.  I may share with you that our lead in this regard was followed by many other departments in the later years.  With the enactment of the Right to Education Act, 2009, guaranteeing elementary education to all children between the age of 6 to 14 years, the U.P.A. Govt has assured each and every child, regardless of caste, religion, gender and economic status, basic elementary education.

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), under implementation since 2001 and revamped in 2010 to align with RTE norms has ensured access to every child for primary education within 1 kilometer of her habitation and for upper primary school within 3 kilometer of her habitation.  The minorities including the Muslims have benefited from the expansion of elementary schools system.  This is reflected in the enrolment of Muslim children in schools which has gone up from 9.4% in 2006-07 to 14.2% in 2012-13 at the primary level and from 7.2% to 12.1% at the upper primary level during this period. 

In addition to universal access, the SSA programme also strives to reach out to children who continue to study in Madrasas to provide them formal education. Madrasas have been provided funds under the special training component of the SSA in the current year to cover children who are out of school.  Free text books have been provided to 17.3 lakh students in Madarasas under SSA. 40000 Madrasateachers have been provided in service training and 8235 Madaras have been provided a school grants under SSA in the current year.

Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas( SPQEM) is another initiative for providing modern education to children studying in Madrasas.  The allocation under the scheme has been increasing over the years which has also meant a larger coverage of Madrasas.  As against 1979 Madrasas covered in the year 2009-10, 9905 Madrasas were supported with 23146 teachers in 2012-13. 

Affirmative interventions through the Schemes like the Rashtriya MadhyamikShiksha Abhiyan, the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas, the Jawahar NavodayaVidyalayas, Girls’ Hostels, Saakhshar Bharat,  Jan Shikshan Santhans, the Scheme for Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutions, establishment of  Model Colleges are primarily focused for the benefit of the minorities in general and the Muslims in particular.

            No doubt, the efforts of the Govt. in the last 7-8 years are getting reflected in the school level enrolment. I am happy to share with you all that in the year 2012-13, the enrolment of Muslim students in elementary schools exceeded the share of Muslim in the country’s population. A more welcome feature of the development is that more girls are coming to schools and we are now able to retain them. We have made considerable progress in bringing children with special needs into the school. The number of out of school children which was close to 3 crore in 2001 has come down to 30 lakhs by March, 2013.

            We have decided to give greater focus to the needs of education of minorities in the 12th Five Year Plan. SSA and RMSA will continue to be our main vehicles for social inclusion in the field of education. Our initiatives on improvement of quality on teaching and improvement of learning outcomes inform all the schemes implemented by the Govt. In the Minority Concentration Blocks which are educationally backward, we have a programme for setting up Model Schools. 270 Model Schools have been approved in Minority Concentrated Blocks. Model Schools to be set up under PPP mode in non Educationally Backward Blocks would also include locations in Minority Concentrated Blocks. Similarly, in the 12th Plan, we would be setting up 378 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs), which are in great demand in the Minority Concentrated Blocks. Out of this 196 JNVs will be set up in Special Category Districts including Minority Concentrated Districts.

            In Higher Education the ongoing schemes such as, Model Degree Colleges, Polytechnics, Women hostels, Scholarships and skill developmentprogrammes etc. need to be closely monitored for assessing the scale and range of impact on the educational participation. We have established AMU Centres inMallapuram in Kerala, Murshidabad in West Bengal and Kishanganj in Bihar.

            A new Centrally Sponsored Scheme called the Rastriya Uchchtar ShikshaAbhiyan (RUSA) has been launched for improving access, equity and quality in the State Higher Education system with the outlay of Rs. 22,855 crores in the 12th Plan Period. It would seek to expand the institutional base by creating additional capacity in the existing institutions and establishing new institutions in unserved areas to address critical, regional and social gaps. Special emphasis will be given to cover the socially deprived communities including minorities.

            I am happy to share some of the new initiatives that are on the anvil.
·         We are proposing a new scheme on the lines of HUNAR for skill development among Minority girls covering 9.20 lakhs minority girls at the proposed outlay of Rs.978 crores

·         Under Adult Education, a new scheme called Maulana Azad Taleem-e-Baligan is also being formulated to impart functional literacy to one crore muslim adults in the age group of 15 years and above at the proposed outlay of Rs.600 crores over the 12th Plan Period. I chaired the National Consultations in this regard and had very useful feedback received from MadarsaBoards, State Resource CentresWakf Boards and other such eminent institutions working for Muslim minority.

·         Another new scheme for establishing educational hubs by co-locating KGBV, Girls/Women Hostels, Degree colleges, Polytechnics in few selected towns/ Districts which are educationally backward and have substantial Muslim concentration, is also being worked out.

            Despite significant improvement at the ground level, I endorse the expectation of the Minorities that much is required to be done. The enormity of the task requires joint endeavour by the Centre as well as the State.

            I am sure the esteemed Members of this Committee will deliberate on all these aspects during the course of the day and come up with workable strategies which will go a long way in empowering minority communities to reap the benefits of education.

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