Jiribam Students hardly get the Benefits : Minority Commission Reports

Dr. Md. Raheij uddin Sheikh *

1.	Ch. Sonamani Singh, BDO Jiribam, 2. Th. Ketuki Devi, ZEO Jiribam, 3. Dr. M. R. Sheikh, Minorities Commission Secretary (standing) and 4. Moulana Tajuddin of Kashimpur Madrassa
1. Ch. Sonamani Singh, BDO Jiribam, 2. Th. Ketuki Devi, ZEO Jiribam, 3. Dr. M. R. Sheikh, Minorities Commission Secretary (standing) and 4. Moulana Tajuddin of Kashimpur Madrassa

"But, as far as my knowledge is concerned, our students did not enjoy any of the benefits because, we never applied for the same, and we even, never thought of the place from where we should collect the forms and to where should it be submitted" replied the Principal of Jiribam Higher Sec School, Jiribam when enquired of how many students of the School have been benefited by the Pre and Post Matric Scholarship Schemes implemented under the Directorate for Welfare of Minorities and Other Backward Classes (MOBC) and SC , Government of Manipur and how many of them are applying this year for the scheme.

As a part of the Manipur State Minorities Commission 2 day's official visit, the status of implementation of the various welfare schemes implemented by the MOBC &SC Department have been reviewed by visiting various schools and Madrassa's in the Jiribam Sub Division of the Imphal East District. The Commission felt disappointment when the students of Jiribam Higher Secondary School which has strength of more than 600 students including about 300 OBC students, 200 Minority Christian Students and 150 Minority Muslim Students have not enjoyed the benefits of the Pre and Post Matric Scholarship Schemes though advertisements are pasted in the local news papers.

The Commission also visited Madrassa's in the Sub Division which are included in the Madrassa Modernization Scheme implemented by the Wakf Board, Manipur. The Commission also visited one Remedial Coaching Class for students from Class V to X which was organized at Ahmadabad High School, Jiribam by the Department of MOBC & SC under the Remedial Coaching Scheme implemented by MOBEDS. All teachers of the Coaching centre have to go a long distance of more than 10 kilometers everyday to teach the students. Students from Leishabithol came to join the classes by travelling a long distance on foot or on bi-cycles. The teachers faced many hardships including irregularities in receiving the monthly remunerations. The teachers complained for immediate payment of remunerations which is still pending in dues for about two and half months.

On the second day of the visit, a 1 - Day Workshop cum Interaction Programme was also organized at Kashimpur Madrassa on 9 Nov, 2012. The ZEO of the Jiribam Subdivision, Smt. Th. Ketuki Devi, BDO of Jiribam Shri Ch. Sonamani Singh and I attended the workshop as resource persons and Moulana Tamijur chaired the session.

Attended by about 200 delegates - local guardians, youths and religious leaders, the workshop focused on the opportunities and challenges of the Muslims in implementation of the Madrassa Modernisation Schemes and health & Sanitation facilities for the adolescent girls. Highlighting the various welfare schemes meant for the Minorities I expressed my views as Secretary of the Commission that Jiribam is inhabited dominantly by Minority and OBC Communities and special attention is being given by the State Government for the upliftment of the Minorities.

I further emphasized on the need for providing quality education in Madrassa's for which the Governing Councils of the Madrassa's need to apply for the Centre Sponsored Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrassa's (SPQEM) which is being implemented by the Central Government through State Education Department. Adequate funding would reach directly to the Madrassa's Governing Councils/ Boards. The Guidelines and Prescribed Application Format for applying for the SPQEM were also distributed in the Workshop.

The modalities for filling in the forms and necessary documents were also discussed in the Session. The ZEO Smt. Ketuki Devi highlighted the scheme for health and sanitation facilities for the school girls and women empowerment. She also distributed the guidelines and the application formats for the schemes. Mentioning the importance of providing proper education to the girls, she said that girls belonging to the Muslim Community are sometimes deprived of their rights to education. This is not really encouraging.

The negligence of today's girls shall lead to the negligence of tomorrow's children because it is the girls who shall become mothers and shall directly involve in their children's education. Special care must be given to the girls during the period of adolescence by giving nutritious food, iron tablets and regular health check -ups at the nearest health centers.

Interacting with the participating delegates in the interaction programme, It is reiterated that a rather animated debate is on among different sections of the Muslims as also among the civil and the uncivil society in India about the Madrassa, their importance, the role they play and the need to make them more modern, thereby converting them into institutes that are more relevant to the contemporary requirements of both the Muslims and the market. The Madrassa was not traditionally a place that only imparted religious education.

The Madrasa Ghazi-ud-Din Started in the first decade of the 18th century, that was to later become the Delhi College, was a major centre of education that aside from teaching the Quran, Islamic Jurisprudence and fiqah etc also offered courses in Philosophy, oriental disciplines, languages, literature, Arithmatic and the like. Even to this day the Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband, aside from being a major centre for Islamic education also conducts courses in Urdu, Persian, Hindi, English, Geography, Arithmatic, Arabic Grammer & composition and Calligraphy.

Traditionally subjects like mathematics, science, philosophy, engineering, astronomy, history, medicine were also taught in Madrassas and till well after the colonization of India by the British many Madrassas continued to admit students who were not Muslims. The image of the Madrassa as primarily an institution that imparts religious education alone and is open only to Muslims is thus a fairly recent development. As per the data provided by the Sachchar committee report only three percent of Muslim Children of school-going age go to Madrasas and not to any other kind of school, an overwhelming majority of these 3 percent, would belong to socio economically backward communities. Of the remaining 97 % of school going children of Muslim parents go to state or privately managed schools or do not go to any school at all.

When we know that the net result of this painful and contentious exercise is going to be the creation of regular govt. schools, why don't we just go ahead and open regular schools in Muslim majority areas and be done with it was the main question that Dr. Sheikh put up in the session. This is precisely what the knowledge commission has recommended - Muslim majority areas are overlooked during implementation of schemes. It is necessary to increase public expenditure for development of "physical and social infrastructure for schooling in Muslim Majority areas and to reorient official strategies to ensure that Muslim children have better access to schools.

Jiribam Students interaction meeting on 9 Nov, 2012
Jiribam Students interaction meeting on 9 Nov, 2012

In the discussion on modalities of Implementation, most of the Moulanas expressed that the Modernisation process shall be successful if and only if the work of implementation has been handed over to the Governing Bodies without any interference from the State Government or any other agencies. Appointment of local candidates in the teaching staff shall be one of the factors which may contribute to the effective implementation of the Scheme.

Disparity in remuneration between the newly appointed teachers and existing Ustaads shall be a serious problem which may lead to the demolition of the traditional style of running Madrassa's. It is of general opinion that Madrassa Modernisation Scheme is a boon to the minority Muslims but if the situation has not been tackled carefully, it may go to astray.

* Dr. Md. Raheij uddin Sheikh wrote this article to
The writer can be contacted at mrsheikhshamu(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted on November 11 2012.

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