I refer to the new Chairman of the Delhi Minority Commission, Mr. Kamal Faruqui’s interactive conversation with Mohammad Asim Khan published in Radiance (24 – 30 June).
In this conversation, he has said that educational development of Muslims would be his top priority in his new position and that he would try to achieve 100% literacy in Delhi’s minority communities. With due respect, I would like to request Mr. Faruqui to re-examine the concept of ‘100% literacy’ more critically. It is a useful concept for illiterate adults but is not useful for school age children.
The alternative goal worth striving for, for about 90% of our school age children who currently drop out by the time they reach Std. 9th., is ‘very intensive education up to high school plus simultaneous training for dignified employability immediately after high school’ – this training being given during 7th-10th Stds. In one of the many reasonably well paid trades in ‘special schools’ such as the very successful MHSS Technical High School being run by Anjuman-e-Islam of Mumbai for more than 50 odd years now!
It is worth recording that this concept has been taken a step further in Chennai, where it is named ‘The Community College Movement’ and is empowering the poor and the dispossessed there through the efforts of The Madras Centre for Research and Development of Community Education. This Centre has successfully sought out and harnessed the cooperative spirit of the various entities involved in the lives of the poor drop out children: their schools, their employers and of course, their parents.
I humbly request Mr. Faruqui to use his new position to examine / study this concept in depth and adapt it in order to serve the children of the minorities and the Muslims of Delhi.