Ahead of LS polls, UPA plans educational sops for Muslims

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is preparing to dole out educational sops for Muslims ahead of the Lok Sabha elections this year.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry will soon place a proposal before the expenditure finance committee (EFC) for setting up 196 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) in special category districts including “all minority concentration districts”.

The government has established nearly 600 JNVs across the country except in Tamil Nadu. It plans to set up 378 such schools in the special category districts during the twelfth five year plan period.

“Opening JNVs in minority concentration district will be the priority of the government during the twelfth plan,” sources in the ministry said.

The JNVs are tasked with finding talented children in rural areas irrespective of their social background and providing them with an education equivalent to the best residential school system.

Urdu is one of the medium of instructions for class VI to VIII in 12 JNVs, while Urdu is taught in 35 schools as the third language.

Besides, the HRD Ministry has asked the states to provide list of blocks with more than 10 per cent minority population (based on 2011 Census) to take a decision on a proposal to set up more Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBV) for Muslim students.

The ministry is also rolling out a scheme to benefit Muslim girls through a six month certificate programme on at least 12 job oriented subjects along with an option to complete class X and XII through National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

The scheme, to be implemented during the twelfth five year plan period with a total estimated outlay of Rs 978 crore, will benefit 9.20 lakh out-of-school girls belonging to the minority community, especially Muslims, official sources said.

The ministry is also keen on rolling out a skill development programme, Hunar, for Muslim girls across the country. “The programme was successfully launched and implemented by the NIOS with the assistance of some NGOs in Bihar and Delhi with funding by the respective state governments,” sources said. 

An inter-ministerial committee, set up by the Minority Affairs Ministry, is examining a proposal to bring “parity in scholarship with regard to the rate of scholarship for the minority communities with the rates of scholarship to the Schedule Caste students.”

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