In the backdrop of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking to give Muslims a “fair share”, the HRD ministry has drawn a plan to strengthen secondary education in the Muslim dominated areas.
In a proposal submitted to the Planning Commission, the ministry has proposed to start 1,500 new Jawahar Navodalaya Vidalayas (JNV) in the country, with emphasis on Muslim dominated districts. Many of these schools will have majority of Muslim children and will cater to their specific needs.
Several reports including Justice Sachar panel has detailed lack of basic minimum education among Muslims. According to HRD ministry, about 59.1 per cent Muslims in India are literate as against the national percentage of 65.6 per cent.
About 10 per cent of Muslim children have never gone to school and the dropout rate among Muslim children has been reported to be highest, even when compared to socially weaker sections.
Only about 14 per cent of the Muslim children enrolled in primary level reach higher secondary. And, their enrolment in the higher education institutions is just 5-6 per cent.
In a bid to end this disparity, the ministry has proposed the fully residential JNVs for the Muslim dominated areas, in which Urdu will also be taught with other conventional courses. The majority of students will be enrolled from the Muslim community with up to 75 per cent from the rural areas.
“The idea is to provide them quality education so that they can compete with best in the country,” an official explained. Under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, the ministry has already approved new 6,918 primary and upper primary schools in minority-dominated districts in the current financial year.
The commission, which has already approved the proposal in principle, will decide on the financial outlay only after the sub-group on education submits its report. “We expect to finalise the plan by end of November,” a planning commission official said.
Other proposals like giving scholarships to Muslim children will also be discussed at the meeting.
The HRD ministry has also proposed to set up 1,500 new Kendriya Vidyalayas in the next five years to bolster quality education for children of the government servants and those in armed forces.
Many of the new KVs will come up in the remote parts of the country, an official said.