Dhu'l Qadah 1424 H
Volume 17-01 No : 205
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The Muslim community needs to shed its traditional approach towards education and learn from others who have excelled in the field of education.
By M. Hanif Lakdawala
The trends in the socio-economic sphere are changing as never before. The worst sufferers, in changing economic profile of the country are the Muslims as the service sector is emerging as the dominant force. Consider these: Three prestigious Muslim managed colleges in South Mumbai offering the professional courses such as Bachelor in Media Management, Bachelor in Management studies, Bachelor in Computer science, and BSc (IT) are running the course with fifty percent seats vacant, due to non-availability of suitable Muslim students with minimum 45% marks as prescribed by the Mumbai university. The unorganised manufacturing sector well supplemented by the hawkers is on the downswing. Muslim presence in un-organised sector acted as the safety valve as, inspite of high illiteracy and unemployment, it absorbed them. A random survey conducted by Islamic Voice, revealed that none of the Muslim social and educational organisations have any provision for the upcoming professions as Business process outsourcing (BPO), Broadcasting Journalism, Entrepreneurship, event Management, Corporate and Project Management,
International Marketing, Public Relations etc. The survey also revealed that many of the Muslim social and educational organizations, infact discouraged the students showing interest in these subjects and convinced them to opt for the traditional subjects of Medicine, engineering, technical, commerce, etc. Even the scrutiny of the latest investment in the field of education indicates that the priorities still are the traditional subjects. Ironically inspite of large presence of Muslims in the entertainment industry, the community as a whole still look it with a big question mark. The need is for the vocational and career re-orientation workshops for the Muslim students. The information about the sunrise industries and emerging career should be disseminated through the workshops. Even Muslim social and educational organisations must start documentation about these emerging professions and guide the student community. Currently, the revolution is taking shape in various fields simultaneously such as Information technology, Bio-technology, and Management. First, due to illiteracy now because of lack of planning and initiation, the community may miss these revolutions and will be pushed further into the trap of socio-economic backwardness. The Three step approach is required to prepare the community for encashing the current revolutions: 1) As Edward De Beno suggests in ‘Teaching Thinking’, the first step towards the road to success is being ambitious. The socio-political-economic equation has made the Indian Muslims acquiesced to their lot. Educating youth, especially the school students about the various ways and means of prospering in life and importance of the right career selection will sow the seeds of ambition. 2) Easy availability of the information about the emerging fields and the know-how about the requisite for the same. Documentation and resource center about these fields will go a long way in initiating the interest of Muslim youth in the sunrise industries. 3) Providing financial assistance to those who want to excel in their respective field. In fact, the community has no provision for those who want to excel and conduct research in the field. Another issue is the alternative for those who drop out of the school. Even today, the community pushes these uneducated into the dead-end professions such as ITI courses, mechanics or at the most tolerate them as hawkers. “I worked as an air-conditioning mechanic and then as a salesman, but nothing worked out for me,’’ said Zahid Sheikh (28), a Std X drop-out from Anjuman-Khairul-Islam School, Madanpura. Sheikh was forced to discontinue his education because of a tragic event in his family. There were many Muslim youngsters like him through out the country.
The Muslim community must think about the alternative and provide employment
solutions and career avenues for Muslim youth. The community has very high school drop-out rate as compared to the national average. With only 4 per cent of Muslim students pursuing education at the high school level of a total 10 per cent admitted, the need is to provide a guideline and start work at the grass -root level.
Emphasizing the need to continue higher secondary studies, Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Abu Asim Azmi said: ‘’This steep fall in the number of Muslim school students is a big drawback for the community. And only education will help bring down the drop-out rate and consequent unemployment.’’ ‘’After all, the onus of productive contribution to the economy depends on the initiative of the youth,’’ Azmi added.
Bal Sadwelkar, a vocational counsellor, said: ‘’Unemployed Muslim youngsters can start instant food services, event management, domestic application management for electrical appliances, network marketing.’’ He opines that the community opts for financial loans under the Prime Minister’s Rojgar Yojana.
‘’Not many Muslims are aware of the loans available to them under this scheme. There are 138 self-employment openings for which loans can be secured,’’ said Iqbal Ahmed, assistant manager of the State Bank of India, Girgaum.
According to the survey, none of the 39 Muslim social and educational organisations approached said that they have any documentation about the state and the central government schemes. The community needs to shed its traditional approach towards education and learn from others who have excelled in the field of education. Unless focus is both at the grass -root level where the school dropout is plugged and encourages and funds those who want to excel, the community may miss the revolutions taking shape in the various spheres.
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