State-specific strategies needed for Muslims empowerment: PM

By staff reporter

New Delhi: Noting that educational deprivation among Muslims differ from state to state, Manmohan Singh recommended State-specific strategies and interventions.

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The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was participating in the Conference on Empowerment of Scheduled Castes, Schedules Tribes and Minorities through Elementary Education. This conference is organized by the All India Forum of Legistators(SCs/STs) & Others in association with the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Dr. Singh expressed concern over the quality gap between public schools and private schools. He emphasized the need to bridge it else good education will become preserve of only the privileged class.

Stating that a high quality public schooling system is the only guarantor of equality of opportunity to all groups, irrespective of their social or economic conditions, the Prime Minister said that improving the public school system requires greater attention to teacher training and attending to the unique problems of first generation learners.

On the status of Muslims, Dr. Singh acknowledged that Muslim community has lagged behind in the field of education. The Report of the Sachar Committee “shows inequity in access to education at all levels, particularly in higher education.� Dr. Singh stated. “However, there are sharp and important regional differences. States like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have a much better track record in empowering through education.� He observed and argued that we need strategies that are geared towards individual states.

The Prime Minister stated that at the national level, they have launched 15-Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities. Improving access to education for minorities is a key element of this programme. He further informed that funding for the Maulana Azad Education Foundation has been doubled and enhance the foundation work.

Noting that many areas of country with large representation of minorities is lagging behind economically and educationally, Dr. Singh promised to devise focused plans for social and economic infrastructure development to bring these backward areas at par with the rest of the country.

“Educational empowerment has to go hand in hand with economic empowerment. Indeed, the former enables the latter. Ensuring equitable access to economic opportunities to the deprived sections of society is a firm commitment of our Government.�

He also said that UPA government is committed to provide equal opportunity to all in securing access to credit and to employment opportunities. One of the finding of Sachar Committee Report was that Muslims have very limited access to the credit, since half of the Muslims are self-employed access to credit is important for economic well-being of the community.

Former Prime Minister, I.K. Gujral, Leader of Opposition, L.K. Advani, Union Power Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, Charanjit Singh Atwal, Chief Ministers of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Union Ministers, MPs, MLAs and others participated in the Conference.