Better Educational Options for Poor Students

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Better Educational Options for Poor Students

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In many cities and towns across India, we come across a number of community managed minority educational institutions. They are of two types: those which are established primarily with a profit motive and secondly those which are established with a service motto to provide education at reasonable rates to poor and orphan students. My focus in this article is on the latter category. Among these are a few institutions started by community organizations which are not short of funds and secondly there are also those community institutions who struggle to make both ends meet. During the admission season, I noticed that many of the community managed institutions in Bangalore like Abbas Khan PU & Degree college for women, CMA (MS) Polytechnic, CMA PU College for women offered free admission to merited students who had secured 60-85% marks or more in the qualifying examination. They also offered free admission to orphans. Many other colleges like Al-Ameen College, Hasanath College and BET Degree College for women have a low fee structure. These institutions also make efforts to secure funds from philanthropists and welfare organizations and provide scholarships in order to ensure that poor and orphan students are not deprived from pursuing their education for want of funds. Like these, similarly, there are many community managed minority institutions in most cities all over India.

Cut Your Coat According to Your Cloth
In the background of what was said above, it is quite natural to expect that the poor and orphan students should be flocking to such institutions seeking admission. Surprisingly, it is not always so. Many of these poor students, instead of seeking admission in the community managed institutions which offer a low fee structure, rush to elite educational institutions which are run with a profit motive and who charge huge fees. After taking admission in such costly schools and colleges, they run around seeking funds from philanthropic individuals and organizations, Baitul Maals or other government scholarship programmes. The amount thus collected – which includes zakat amount – thus flows to the profit-making educational institutions indirectly. It is noticed that many of the community managed educational institutions are unable to fill up all the seats sanctioned to them by the authorities, despite providing the best of education and getting good results in the examinations.

Perceptions Not Always True
The common reason given by such students who forsake community run institutions is that the quality of education in the other schools/colleges is much better. This argument does not carry much weight since I have noticed that in Bangalore, for instance, the Muslim managed institutions are delivering very good results and their pass percentage is above 90%. I have also noticed that the teachers in these schools/colleges give personal attention to the students and make sincere efforts to mentor them. Of late, even the infrastructure in the community managed institutions has vastly improved. Most importantly, the students receive education in a safe and secure environment. Many such institutions also provide deeniyat education as an add-on. In one of the colleges, I noticed that some students misguided their parents saying that the teaching in the Muslim managed college is not good and this was done with the intention of taking admission in another college which gave more freedom to them.

Explore Other Options
Another option for those students who cannot afford the high fees demanded by private colleges is to take admission in Government colleges who have a well-qualified faculty, and the fee structure is also low. But I wonder why this option is not at all considered by a majority of them. For instance, in Bangalore, we have the Maharani’s College for women and the VHD Central Institute of Home Science among others as a convenient option. The Directorate of Minorities, Government of Karnataka has set up Morarji Desai Residential Schools to provide free residential education from Grade 6 to 10 to the students from minority communities.

Raise The Bar
All things said and done, many of the Muslim managed educational institutions should focus on providing better administration which is the key to the efficient and disciplined functioning of an educational institution, and which will boost their reputation. In this connection, it would be relevant to share with the readers my article which was earlier published in the Deccan Herald newspaper.

The Role of Administrators in Educational Institutions
Educational administration involves the effective utilization of workforce and resources to facilitate organized teaching and learning in schools and colleges. The role of administration is crucial for the efficient functioning of educational institutions. A competent administrator must possess a solid understanding of the theories, techniques, and principles of school and college administration.

The distinction between the roles of management and administrators is often blurred and overlapping. Many schools and colleges lack a dedicated administrator to handle administrative matters exclusively, leaving these tasks to the principal or the secretary of the managing committee. Management secretaries often either lack administrative expertise or have insufficient time to dedicate to these tasks.

However, it is essential to clearly delineate the duties and responsibilities of management and administrators. Management should focus on forming plans, programs, and policies, while administrators should be responsible for their execution.

Administrators can act as a bridge between teachers and management, handle the infrastructural needs of the institution, and pay better attention to financial management. They can also build positive relationships with the community and strengthen parent-institution relationships.

Administrators can dispassionately assess feedback from students about their teachers and work towards improvement. Unlike a government or corporate office, a school or college requires a dynamic and flexible approach rather than rigid adherence to rules and regulations.

For instance, National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accredited colleges must maintain extensive files and documents, which can distract teaching staff from academic pursuits. A specialist in administrative matters would allow the principal to focus more on academic issues. To be effective, an administrator’s seniority and rank should correspond to the level of the educational institution. (Courtesy: Deccan Herald)

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