Organised by First Dignity-All India Confederation for Women Empowerment through Education and Centre for Women Studies, under the aegis of the Ministry of Minority Affairs, the conference was called to discuss the issue of empowering women through education.

High drop out rates from Urdu medium schools in Maharashtra and absence of trained teachers to teach sciences and mathematics in Urdu medium was highlighted as a matter of concern at a two-day conference on ‘Understanding of Educational Aspirations and Attainment of Minority Girls in India’. Organised by First Dignity-All India Confederation for Women Empowerment through Education and Centre for Women Studies, under the aegis of the Ministry of Minority Affairs, the conference was called to discuss the issue of empowering women through education. The conference will evolve participation from representatives of minority institutions from several parts of the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Interestingly, while on the one hand Sanskrit scholars have been lobbying to promote Sanskrit as a medium of teaching, Urdu scholars feel that Urdu should not remain a medium of teaching at schools, but should only be taught as a language. “The government is taking about a three language formula. In Urdu medium schools, while Urdu can be the first language, our schools should teach English, Hindi or the regional language of the area,” said Professor Anita Nuna of Department of Women’s Studies, NCERT. Highlighting the problem faced by 4,900 Urdu medium schools of the state, where girls to boys ratio is one and a half is to one, Professor A Shaban, of School of Development Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences observed that lack of aspirations and absence of skill and employment opportunities for Urdu passouts are leading to a huge drop out rate amongst Muslim boys. “We need to realise the fact that employment opportunities for Urdu medium passouts are very limited. As boys start realising this, they move out. Most of these boys end up doing odd jobs and fail to make a career for themselves,” he said. Professor Shaban also opposed the quota system applied while recruiting teachers for Urdu medium schools. “Fifty percent teaching posts marked in these schools for reserved category remain vacant, as it is becomes difficult to find Muslim candidates from scheduled caste and scheduled tribe categories. This hampers the teaching process, results in students dropping out and subsequently shutting down of the school,” he added. The conference held the view that these schools should either give opportunities to NGOs or should allow teachers from unreserved categories to fill these posts.The conference that is scheduled to end on Sunday evening, will then send its recommendation to the minority affairs ministry. “The ministry has asked the view point of stakeholders in on the issue of empowering women through education. The conclusion of the two-day workshop will be sent to the ministry. We want these suggestions to be incorporated in the New Education Policy being formulated by the Human Resource Development Ministry,” said Dr Shabistan Gaffar of First Dignity.

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Educational conference calls for Urdu to be integrated with mainstream