A Year-long Series on Education, Sponsored by The Aligarh Forum : – A Mirror on our Efforts, our Successes & our Shortcomings ; Stories of triumphs, tribulations and struggles of the Indian Muslims in improving their educational status, in illiteracy alleviation, and in their professional and social uplift.
By Rehan Ansari, TwoCircles.net
“I was lost, did not have any aim in life but after counseling and aptitude tests at Kawish, I want to become an Human Resource Manager,” said Khan Umer, a twelfth class commerce-stream pass out.
Thousands of students, who have now become highly professionals and successful in their fields are thankful to Kawish Counseling Center situated in a narrow lane of Murgi Mohallah in South Mumbai. It is not another educational trust but a movement of committed Muslim teachers who are sparing their time and energy to counsel students not only in Mumbai but allover Maharashtra.
Kawish member Akhlaque Ahmed talking to the parents.
Aamir Ansari, Vice Principal of Madni School Jogeshwari, a professional career guidance expert, a columnist in Inquilab, Urdu daily and Prof. Kazim Malik an educational activists initiated this dream project to serve students community.
Amir remembers Naumer Who is partially blind because only 20% of his right eye is functional. “Naumer is in touch with us for guidance from his std X. He got highest marks of 71% in BSc IT from Ismail Yusuf College this year and planning for MSc IT. Alhamdulillah some of our students now are CA, Doctors, Journalists, Managers, Lawyers, Artists, Architects, & Company Secretaries.”
“We both are working in the field of career guidance since last ten years but felt the need to organize and add other teachers to multiply the effects of our efforts. We therefore initiated Kawish, which is an Urdu word meaning effort” said Aamir Ansari.
Group of students in a Kawish program
“We now have nearly seven teachers who have completed their one year course in Guidance and Counseling. Other Muslim Professionals like Saeed Ansari, an IT Engineer and Professional working for Numora is also in the field of Guidance and counseling especially for IT students. He is maintaining our website http://www.rehnumai.com/. We thankful to Shahid Latif, Editor Inquilab Urdu Daily, Ms Najma Kazi, Principal Anjuman-e-Islam Gulam Arif for motivation and mentoring.”
“We are offering guidance on our phone numbers free of cost and are getting nearly 300 calls a day in this chaotic period. We are also available in the evening time in Kawish center for personal meeting,” added Aamir.
Kazim Malik addressing a group of students.
Explaining about their work, Kazim Malik said, “Kawish is a first group of its kind in our community. In the last academic year only, we conducted 350 programmes benefitting nearly 12000 students in different parts of Maharashtra and also in other states. Topic includes, Career Guidance and Counseling, Study Techniques, Time Management, How to face Exam, different types of Scholarships, Teachers and Parents Workshops.”
Teaching the fellow teachers is a good experience said Altaf Natuskar, a fresh entrant in Kawish who has just completed his course in counseling and guidance. “We led from the front when the Comprehensive and Continuous Education-CCE- system introduced in Maharashtra, conducted lectures for teachers, six months before the Education department.” It was not a contest between Education Department and us but we felt urgent need because teachers were confused as to how will they evaluate students without exams, added Altaf. We translated the circulars in Urdu, prepared PPT and held lectures.
“We felt that every school must have a career guidance expert and counselors, so held a workshop of Head Masters and Teachers to train them about it,” said Altaf.
Aamir Ansair in a Counselling Centre
Aamir Ansari, who topped one year course in vocational Guidance and Counseling in Maharashtra, urged teachers to take up the course in IVGS near Metro Cinema. He said, “Muslims were rarely seen in this field so we are motivating teachers of high school to take up one year course. It’s simple and very beneficial. Government provides one year special paid leave to teachers who are opting for the course, also provides substitute teachers to the school.”
Ignorance and short-sightedness is the major problems among Muslim students and parents. “Majority of our students comes up with no goal in life, want to start earning and expect us to tell short cuts. Whereas, students and parents of other community have plan career on long term basis” observed Kazim. Dropout rates starts from eighth standard and peaks after SSC, very few reaching Graduate or Post Graduate level. Girls are outsmarting boys that could cause a social problem in our community when these educated girls will be ready to marry.”
Another problems is in the making detected Kazim. “I found a student of a leading Islamic School following ICSE Board, who scored 80% in tenth but got 44% in twelfth exam.” I am not sure but feel that he might not have been able to mix with other students who studied in conventional schools. Also the culture, the atmosphere, and the teaching techniques are very different.”
Aamir Ansari giving a motivational lecture.
“Many Islamic Schools are coming up in different parts of Mumbai; thousands of students are paying hefty fees and the issue of Islamic Schools needs an investigation,” opined Kazim.
Generating funds for the cause is a major problem. Aamir said,” We don’t want to lose the focus, neither want to compromise on our aims. Thanks to Dr. Aslam Supariwala, Memonwada Welfare Association, he provided us the space to sit without any strings attached to it.”
Team Members of Kawish:
A. Majid Ansari