IOS publication on ‘Year Book 2021-Educational Status of Muslims in India: Strive for Bright Future’ Released

IOS publication on ‘Year Book 2021-Educational Status of Muslims in India: Strive for Bright Future’ Released

New Delhi: An online programme for the release of the ‘Year Book 2021-Educational Status of Muslims in India: Strive for Bright Future, authored by Rubina Tabassum, development professional, education sector, was organised by the Institute of Objective Studies on March 8, 2022. It may be recalled that this is the latest publication of the Institute.

The programme formally began with the recitation of a verse from the Holy Qur’an by Hafiz Athar Hussain Nadwi.

The programme was moderated by an eminent economist, Dr Amir Ullah Khan, who also introduced the author. In his welcome address, the secretary-general of the IOS, Prof. Z.M. Khan, said that this was the second publication of the series and its importance lay in the treatment of the subject. She took an incisive view of the state of education among Muslims, he added. In her study, she also touched upon the status of enrolment in schools. Referring to the role of women in the spread of education, he said that a guild of Muslim educational institutions should be created to give thrust to education in the community. The IOS, too, would do something in the field, he added.

Dr. Amir Ullah Khan held that due to Covid-19, educational activities were confined to online mode for two years. Education today faced its toughest challenges due to a variety of problems. Praising Rubina Tabassum for her work, he said that suggestions made by her for the education of children would go a long way in achieving the goal of education for all. 

Introducing her book, Rubina Tabassum held that the task assigned before her was very challenging, and she took it at its face value. She succeeded in her task due to her background in education and the seriousness she attached to the subject. Sharing her presentation on the screen, she explained the educational status of Muslims in India. The book, divided into six chapters, has a historical background and the educational background of Muslims in India, among other topics. She said that Anglo-Arabic schools in India played an important role in the early years of the popularization of education. She briefly discussed the role of Muslim educational reformers in India and the state of Muslim education in the country. She also focused on the educational level of Muslims at the state and the national levels. Referring to the Muslim womenfolk as a double minority, she said that the status of Muslim females left much to be desired. She suggested that educational backwardness among Muslims in India could be addressed by way of framing policies, programmes and other initiatives.

Rubina Tabassum commented that gaps and challenges in reforms in formal education among Muslims should be identified and rectified as more Muslims fell off the education ladders. She said that the widening gap at the college level and above was worrisome. She made certain recommendations which included collecting and making data related to Muslim education, mapping Muslim-managed educational institutions, and promoting the education of Muslim students in premier minority universities. She also recommended that the change in the social behaviour change of the community should be studied, and also the mapping of Muslim-managed educational institutions should be done. Besides, she called for the designing of programmes and policies.

Distinguished Fellow, Research and Information Centre for Developing Countries, Prof. Amitabh Kundu released the book online (symbolically) on the occasion. In his address, Dr. Kundu said that the yearbook focused on the status of Muslim women. He said that he headed the evaluation committee on the Sachar Committee Report. When he submitted the report, it was the NDA government in power. The government rejected the post-Sachar Committee report outright. Thus both the Sachar Committee and post-Sachar Committee reports were put in the cold storage. Deprivation of Muslims, particularly in education, had blocked avenues of their progress. Even after 16 years of the Sachar Committee report, the government did not take a position on it. He observed that the deprivation of Muslims in various fields had not yet been updated. Appreciating the book, he said that it was very difficult to write a book, especially when one had to contend with the problem of the database. This decade saw a new low as employment data had been rejected, and no other data on employment was available. Similarly, data on poverty was not available. Data on education in relation to the income level was also scarce. So was the case with the figures on education in relation to the economic deprivation. He held that facts did not exist on their own; they were generated after an exhaustive exercise. There should be a strong line while presenting the data. Data was what the eyes believed. Holding that rural Muslims were badly affected during the Covid-19 pandemic, he called for giving primary education to Muslim women.

Speaking as the guest of honour, the chairman, Delhi, Co-operative Housing Finance Corporation Ltd., Rajesh Goyal, insisted that information and data are relevant in today’s world. He expressed the hope that the book would bust several myths being spread about different communities. He extended good wishes to Rubina Tabassum for her book.

As a key speaker, eminent journalist John Dayal observed that education was not meant to collect degrees. The empowerment of a person was a key point that could be achieved through education only. Illustrating his point further, he said that the real strength of education was displayed when burqa-clad women of Jamia Millia Islamia came out of the campus to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). Education was also helpful in controlling population growth. He also batted for a complete comparative data on the educational backwardness of Muslims vis a vis other communities.

Former vice-chancellor of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh, Prof. Furqan Qamar, said that the data on education and health issues were important, but they should be seen from a social perspective. Commenting on the book, he noted that it was one of the resource books. Rubina Tabassum, despite several hurdles, performed her job very well. Referring to the all India survey of education, he held that the issues and challenges involved in it were many. Out of a population of about 20 crores, only 21 lakh Muslims were pursuing higher education. This spoke volumes about the low participation of Muslims in higher education. The intake of Muslims in the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) was a bare 0.2 per cent. He pleaded for making efforts to prepare students for competing with others for admission to quality institutions of higher education.

Eminent educationist P.A. Inamdar from Pune pointed out that in Islam, education has been a continuous process from birth to death. Muslims needed to keep pace with the paradigm shift in technology. No efforts should be spared to make children from the age of three to 12 fluent in English. He said that currently, the enrolment of Muslims in medical colleges was only 8 per cent. The number of medical colleges managed by Muslims stood at 20, and more and more professional colleges needed to be opened to train Muslim students professionally. This would require more trained teachers in technology and other sciences. He invited young teachers to his campus for training. He believed that children should be taught spoken English. The methodology should change with the increase of educational institutions, and madrasas should impart religious education along with modern education. He said that 27,000 students were studying in his institutions. Things had become better than before, and if the community wanted to improve its plight further, it must remove blackboards and switch over to technology, he emphasized.

Dr. Malika Mistry, retired professor of economics, lauded the IOS for publishing 12 books on education. She said that the Institute was really doing an excellent job in different areas of study and research. Admitting that it was very difficult to collect data, she asked the Muslim community to educate the entire family. Both boys and girls should be educated with missionary zeal. She deplored that many well-off Muslims did not want to come out to help their brethren.

Prof. Arshi Khan, Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University, observed that the book had a lot of information on where the Muslims stood on education indicators. However, additional improvements needed to be made to make it more exhaustive. He said that Muslims were at a double disadvantage; they were highly deprived, and their representation in elected bodies of the government was almost zero. He sought to know where the Muslims were before Independence. He saw a change in the nature of the government before and after Independence. There was deliberate indifference to Muslims on the part of the government. The problem of enrolment of Muslim students in educational institutions was also a big challenge. He said that Muslims were off state and were not governing the state. He stressed that the community should be given extra care.

Prof. Nasreen from the department of Education, AMU, held that Rubina Tabassum raised pertinent questions in her book. All the scenarios of pre and post-Independence were covered in the book. She said that education was a powerful tool to empower Muslims. Case studies of families and institutions had been included in the book to have a better understanding of the educational backwardness of Muslims. Muslims should be given the freedom of choice. She urged Muslim women to take a pledge to help women in need. She called for research on social issues. 

Vice-chairman, IOS, Prof. M. Afzal Wani, praised the author for making good efforts. The data made available in the book was in good context. Several issues regarding Muslims have been analysed in the yearbook. She focused on enrolment and the level of education, besides the scenario of education. He said that several factors, including economic and self-employment, needed to be taken into account while dealing with the subject. He called for connecting with the mission of education and driving for enrolment of Muslim boys and girls. Every Muslim wanted to get a good education, but there were constraints. They needed support for mainstream education. He asked for preparing modules for educational institutions. He also stressed the need for thought producing institutions.

In his presidential remarks, the chairman, IOS, Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, said that a delegation led by the ex-chief justice of India, Justice A.M. Ahmadi, met the UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi in 2013 and discussed social, economic and political problems facing Indian Muslims. Later, the members of the delegation met the then prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, who appointed a committee headed by Justice Rajinder Sachar. He said that he presented a set of books to him on Muslim issues published by the IOS. Then the Kundu Committee report on the action taken on Sachar Committee recommendations was submitted to the then minister of minority affairs, government of India, Najma Heptullah. But no response was received from her office. Congratulating Tabassum for her work, he hoped that the next volume of the book would be out soon with more information. He held that education was the ornament of humanity and exhorted the younger generation to build future. He asked them to take a lesson from the past and plan for the future for the welfare of humanity. He said that the IOS always stood for the motto—sit, think and work together. He advised to not step into the darkness and produce light to drive away darkness, he concluded.

The function ended with a formal vote of thank extended by Ibrahim Alam, Director, Genuine Publications and Media Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.


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