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NCERT compiles manual to make schools more inclusive for children of minorities

The manual suggests changes such as including more celebrations of festivals of religious minorities to make schools more sensitive towards children of these communities.

india Updated: Jul 02, 2018 15:46 IST
Neelam Pandey
Neelam Pandey
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Religious minorities,Schools in India,NCERT
The manual also suggests sensitisation of all teachers to issues of cultural and religious diversity, especially in relation to religious minorities.(Raj K Raj/HT File Photo)

A manual prepared by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has pointed out that children from minority communities at times find the prayers in the school assemblies and picture of gods and goddesses on the walls alien to them and has suggested some changes including the celebration of festivals related to religious minorities in schools, sensitive handling of these children during religious functions celebrated in schools, and adequate representation of minority parents in the School Management Committees (SMC).

Hindustan Times has seen a copy of the manual.

The manual, prepared for SMCs by the council, also states that apart from some general issues of discrimination and harassment, children from minority communities may face other issues including “offensive comments” about food habits and perceptions of “undesirable” uniforms.

NCERT released the manual in June for SMCs that are formed under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

The manual states that the empowerment of the socially disadvantaged groups, SCs (scheduled castes), STs (scheduled tribes), OBCs (other backward classes) and the minorities continues to be on the priority list of the country, because these groups still lag behind the rest of the society due to their social, economic and educational backwardness.

“The discriminatory practices against these groups by teachers, peer groups and system are still prevalent in some schools. (The) SMC has to play an important role to curtail such discrimination and provide a conducive atmosphere.”

The committees have also been asked to monitor enrolment and attendance of all children, and especially children belonging to disadvantaged groups.

The manual has also suggested that teachers working in schools with a significant number of students from SCs, STs and minority communities not be burdened with non-academic duties. It has also suggested sensitisation of all teachers to issues of cultural and religious diversity, especially in relation to religious minorities.

To address the issues related to education of children from minorities, it has suggested opening of schools in minority-concentrated neighbourhoods, providing Urdu medium schools in Muslim-concentrated neighbourhoods where Urdu is likely to be mother tongue and ensure option of learning Urdu as a second language and availability of Urdu teacher in such schools.

“Education should remain secular. This is important. So I welcome the suggestions of introducing more Urdu medium schools; teachers and at the same time students should learn about all religions. Though I welcome the suggestions, what is more important is implementation,” said Masoom Moradabadi, a member of the Delhi Minorities Commission’s Advisory Committee.

First Published: Jul 02, 2018 15:46 IST