The enrolment of Muslim children in primary schools had gone up from 9.4 percent in 2006-2007 to 14.2 percent in 2012-2013, Human Resource Development Minister M.M. Pallam Raju said Monday. He said at the upper primary level during the 2012-13 period, enrolment of Muslim children had increased from 7.2 percent to 12.1 percent.
"The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which has been implemented since 2001 and was revamped in 2010 to align with RTE (Right to Education) norms, has ensured access to every child for primary education within one kilometre of her habitation, and for upper primary school, within three kilometres. The minorities, including Muslims, have benefited from the expansion of the elementary schools system," Raju said.
The minister was speaking during the annual meeting of the National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education (NMCME) here. Raju said that in addition to universal access, the SSA programme strives to reach out to children who continue to study in madrasas, to provide them formal education.
Madrasas have been provided funds under the special training component of the SSA in the current year to cover children who are out of school," he said. "Free textbooks have been provided to 17.3 lakh students in madarasas under SSA. 40,000 madrasa teachers have been provided in-service training and 8,235 madrasas have been provided school grants under SSA in the current year," he said. Raju said the ministry had started collecting data on educational indicators of Muslims since 2006-2007, in order to track their educational development.
"The districts with more than 20 percent Muslim population were identified for special attention under different programmes of the ministry," Raju said. Raju also said that the Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM) is another initiative for providing modern education to children studying in madrasas. "The allocation under the scheme has been increasing over the years, which has also meant a larger coverage of madrasas. As against 1,979 madrasas covered in the year 2009-10, 9,905 madrasas were supported with 23,146 teachers in 2012-13," the minister said. Raju said that greater focus will be given to the needs of education of minorities in the 12th Five Year Plan.
"The enrolment of Muslim students in elementary schools exceeded the share of Muslims in the country's population. More girls are coming to schools, and we are now able to retain them. We have made considerable progress in bringing children with special needs into the school," he said. "The number of out-of-school children, which was close to 30,000,000 in 2001, has come down to 30 lakh (three million) by March, 2013," he said. Sharing details of new initiatives, Raju said that under adult education, a new scheme called Maulana Azad Talee-e-Baligan is being formulated to impart functional literacy to one crore Muslim adults in the age group of 15 years and above.
"Another new scheme for establishing educational hubs by co-locating Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, girls/women hostels, degree colleges, polytechnics in few selected towns/districts which are educationally backward and have substantial Muslim concentration, is also being worked out," he said.