By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: The Janata Dal(U) Government in Bihar is planning to launch an ambitious scholarship scheme for minority girls aiming to increase enrolment of girls in school education. An official of the Bihar Government told the Islamic Voice here on the condition of anonymity that unlike the Central Government’s minority scholarship scheme, the State Government’s scheme will be totally unconditional. “There will be no income rider for availing of the scholarship and it will be provided from first standard to 10th standard”, he said. The blueprint of the scheme is ready and the State Government is only waiting for the cabinet approval. Once it gets the approval, the scheme will be launched by the year-end, he added.
It is to be noted, despite a host of schemes including ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ for bringing children to schools, more than eight million children still did not go to schools in the country. Out of this 1.8 million children belong to the Muslim community. According to the latest IMRD survey, of this, 18.75 lakh are Muslim children in the age group of 6-13 years and were said to be out of the ambit of the school education in 2009. Uttar Pradesh topped the list where around one million Muslim children did not go to schools while the number in West Bengal is 2.5 lakh and in Bihar 2.3 lakh respectively. Throwing light on the educational backwardness of the minority community in Bihar, the official said poverty is major reason behind it and the State Government wants to address this problem by offering scholarship to minority girls as the Central Scholarship does not cover all the students who want to go schools.