The cause of the right to education for minority girls was taken up effectively at a zonal seminar on “Empowerment of Minority Girls Through Education” at the Department of Education, Karamat Husain Muslim Girls’ Post-Graduate College in Lucknow. Organised under the goal of National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, Government of India and Committee On Girls Education, Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Government of India, the seminar was attended by delegates from Uttar Pradesh (UP), Uttarakhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh (MP) and other states of India.
Most who attended were of the the same opinion that no women must be subjugated and denied from equal access to education in the society. The delegates attending the zonal seminar also unanimously agreed that educational empowerment of Muslim women works as a potential mechanism as a catalyst to modernise the Muslim community in India.
The denial of education to minority girls too was strongly criticised by the education sector who encouraged the society to break traditional and orthodox control over education that denied Muslim women their right to education.
Dr. Shabistan Gaffar, Chairperson, Committee On Girls Education, Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Government of India, presided over the function and stressed that it is very necessary to provide quality education to Muslim women.
Women participation must be ensured in minority girl education. She elaborated on the challenges that are faced by minority girls seeking education today where Gaffar felt, “The social tradition and misunderstanding that prevailed within the community regarding education has prevented many minority girls from being educated. Poverty which is a huge deterrent for many Muslim girls to get access to higher education is also a problem that poses a challenge. All these issues further way lay efforts to provide education to minority girls.”
Making a case to strengthen the madrasa systems in India, Gaffar further stressed on the fact that these age old institutions of learning are serving as the last hope for minority girls to get access to elementary education.
“Madrasas are very misunderstood when it comes to their contribution to education for the community that is facing so many challenges when it comes to educating their daughters. I understand that there are apprehensions in the present scenario but we must not negate the fact that in areas where there is no reach of basic education it is these madarsas which are imparting at least primary education to girls,” she argues.
Lauding the government’s step to bring in the Right To Education Act Gaffar says, “The involvement of inter-faith forums will help develop a synergy between the government and minority community to make the RTE useful for Girl Education. Again I feel that establishing madrasas in rural areas will also support reaching primary education to girls there through RTE. Basic education is the lifeline of education and denying that to girls will not be possible any longer. The government has not been able to reach the minority girls living in far flung areas which calls for an amendment in the RTE Act so that inclusion of the children of minority community in remote areas can also be covered.”
Among the others who attended the seminar were Mohd Zaki Kirmani, Aligarh, Rehana Tariq, Hamidi Degree College, Allahabad,Sultana Ahmed, Dept Of Education, IT College, Shakeel Ahmad, Patna, Bihar and Dr Vakil Ahmed, Dept of Urdu, Ramgarh College, Hazaribagh, Jharkhand and Dr Qamar Rahman, Member, Committee On Girls Education. (CNS)