The Noor Ahmed Ali Khan Memorial School provides totally free education, with no monthly fee or donation. Students are encouraged into inter-faith activities, to equip them to live as useful citizens in a plural society.
By Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan
I had a long felt desire to establish a school providing facilities for poor parents to get educational facilities from nursery to at least 10th standard. The two objectives I had in mind was to provide totally free education along with a good standard. Educational institutions today are found in plenty. Education is a business minting money in collaboration with the officials of the department of education. I wanted to recklessly demolish such bogus institutions. My desire is to fulfill the requirement of ensuring English language and at the same time provide Kannada medium also. The language of the state cannot be ignored. After nearly 16 years, today we have Noor Ahmed Ali Khan Memorial School with Nursery, Primary and High School classes. The school also provides Computer learning facilities with a highly qualified teacher in Computers. The school has already earned a very good name in the surroundings.
We provide totally free education. We do not collect monthly fee, admission fee and donation. There are nearly 360 students and the number is going up. But we want to restrict the number so that quality education is maintained. 90% of the students are girls and 10% are boys. We want to slowly make it a totally girls school. Since this is a minority school, Muslims and Christians dominate. But Hindu students are equally encouraged to join the school. The students are mostly from poor families whose bread earners are carpenters, painters, petty businessmen, street vendors and so on. While the majority of the students are minorities, the majority of the teachers are Hindus. Teachers are highly qualified and dedicated. The headmistress is very committed. The majority Hindu teachers are not only dedicated, committed, but also devoted. Some of the students who got through SSLC are now doing Medicine, engineering, commerce, etc,
Discipline is perfectly maintained. Imposition of fine on those who are irregular, unpunctual and frequently absent is followed strictly. No one is allowed to enter the gate after the scheduled time. Students are encouraged to practise inter-faith activities. Every week, four groups of different religions meet and discuss about the basic tenets of all the religions. Students are divided into 4 groups, Rama group headed by Muslim students, Rahim group headed by Hindu students, Buddha group consisting of students of different religious groups and Jesus group. This interfaith meeting has profound influence on the social behavior and religious understanding of all students.
The entire expenses come to over 30 lakhs per year and as founder of this school, I manage the entire expenses out of the savings kept in the account of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Centre for Harmony and Development. This income comes from the agriculture farm activities. The original name of the school was Salamath School. Later on it was officially changed to Noor Ahmed Ali Khan Memorial School. This is in the name of my second son who died in a scooter accident.
I remain grateful to Almighty Allah for helping me to run this school. My wife takes equal interest in running the school. My time is spent in teaching and playing with the children. Though, I was a professor, a cabinet minister and now a humble educator, I find more pleasure with children.
(The writer can be reached at [email protected])