I read with interest the article “NIOS: Alternate Schooling” in the October issue of Islamic Voice. Like an expert and experienced physician, Tahsin Ahmed has put his fingers on the pulse of the less fortunate and less educated people in society. He has very well diagnosed the ailment and also has provided the treatment. Like a bitter pill, it has ingredients both for recovery and well-being.
He has started the article with a few examples of unfortunate mishaps and undesirable events that may have pushed many young children and youths to drop out. Many a times by chance and sometimes by choice. As always, the author’s caring and sharing instinct has enabled him to pick such an important topic of NIOS (National Institute of Open School) that many are unaware of.
Among the few examples he has given, going by the names, he may inadvertently point out that the most significant dropout rate is among minorities. Knowing very well that empowerment of an individual or community is through education, he has highlighted the “alternate schooling” through NIOS, established by the Government of India, for dropouts at various stages of schooling.
NIOS helps such children complete all steps and stages to reach the SSLC Board Certification and Senior Secondary.
This NIOS program is super beneficial to the Madrasah children. It will open the doors for modern and science-based education. Thus Madrasah pupils can learn the spirituality of Deen, and at the same time, they can learn many more subjects to improve the quality of life in Dunya.
The author has painstakingly gone through to describe the details of OBEP (Open Basic Education Program) and NIOS. Two successful NIOS institutes are given as successful examples. “Larkspur Educational Trust” and “Learning Point Foundation” are two such institutes in Bangalore.
This program has become a boon to Madrasah students. It opens the doors to many courses in modern science and the world. It promises new horizons to reach and to be explored. A government-initiated program should be fully exploited and taken advantage of to educate society’s downtrodden and weaker sections.
Thanks to the author for exposing and exploring such an “out of sight” and beneficial government educational program for the needy, pupils of Madrasas, and the women who would like to learn and move forward in their lives through the courses offered in NIOS accredited schools.
It would be nice if the state government could extend a helping hand through minority welfare and well-being funds to pay the fees and education expenses of the deserving and eligible students.
Privately, individuals and Muslim organizations can burden these needy and downtrodden struggling students through any Awqaf income or charities like Zakat, Sadaqa, etc. One can get the most satisfaction through sponsoring a deserving and diligent student and watching their growth in society through education.
Suppose NIOS accredited teaching institutions hold the roots and flourish in our communities. In that case, that day will not be far when we may have an Islamic scholar-cum-scientist, economist, doctor, engineer, or any professional of good caliber.
“Make Education, a New Sensation” should be our motto.
Qazi Minhaj Azher, USA