Prominent educationists, academicians, community leaders, policymakers and a galaxy of intellectuals from different parts of India attended a two-day (July 2-3) Education Conference, on “Education and Nation Building – the Way Forward”, under Alliance for Economic and Educational Development of the Underprivileged (AEEDU) in association with Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi at its Convention Centre.
K Rahman Khan, former Union Minister for Minority Affairs and Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha, sharing his perspective as the Chief Guest, said, “We are here because after 70 years we Muslims are still underprivileged. Wherever you go, the biggest enemy is negativity.”
The former Union Minister added, “Millions and millions of Muslims have developed a minority syndrome and that is killing all of us. If Muslims think that they are not minority but the second largest majority then their thought process will get change. Seventy years ago, we were the least developed country and now we are the fifth largest growing economy. Every section of society has progressed. But negativity and minority syndrome are holding us from progress which we have to overcome to bring the desired changes in Muslims.”
On the denial of education to the underprivileged and the role of governments and institutions, Najeeb Jung, Ex-Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, said, “(Let’s imagine) why and how the quality (education) has been denied to the underprivileged like Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, small farmers; it is denial of their basic human rights. The right to education that Allah has given us is a fundamental human right. It is a fundamental right in India as designed in the Constitution of India and we have denied it. Successive governments have not provided adequate funds to the education sector. We look at different fields but where is health and education? What is the percentage of GDP allocated for this critical sector like education?”
The former LG added, “Denial of education to the underprivileged is a sin that we all are guilty of. Quality knowledge and expertise sharing should be encouraged through the best available model that has played an instrumental role in their institutions and their services can be shared with other institutions in order to bring the desired change.”
Lt. Gen. Zameer Uddin Shah (Retd), former Vice Chancellor of AMU and President of AEEDU said, “No dreams can be achieved without unity and moving shoulder to shoulder and that is basic purpose of this Alliance. Create synergy among educational institutions and educate everybody as that is the soul of strength. It is our solemn assurance that we will work for all underprivileged. Unless we have scientific bent of mind, unless we are good in mathematics, unless we concentrate on Science education, it will not be worthwhile.
“Ninety per cent of Muslim organisations only discuss problems; nine per cent discuss only solutions and only one per cent only wok for solving the problems. We want to make sure that from this platform we would like to ensure that the one per cent becomes ten per cent in the near future,” he said.
While emphasising on the solution, former Chief Election Commissioner, Dr SY Quraishi said, “Cooperation is our underlining spirit. It is a secular alliance not only for Muslims. We have to give best education no matter from where it comes from. Instead of focusing on problems we have to find out solutions from the experiences people have shared with us. We have to see the dropouts and the issue of enrolments. We have to focus on quality education because employability is of utmost concern. For every employable young man or woman there are nine who are unemployable.
“Earlier, we have heard debates and concern on brain drain and population explosion. But over a period of time things have changed. We are getting 90 billion dollar remittance through brain drain. According to another finding, there are only five per cent skilled Indians, in Korea it is 95 per cent people are skilled and people of most of the countries are skilled more than 70 o 80 per cent. Our five per cent has changed our economy. Imagine if Indians were skilled 10 per cent then we will dominate the world. The mission of our Alliance would be to increase the (number of) skilled Indians from 5 per cent to 10 per cent,” he said.
Professor Dr. M. Afshar Alam, Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Hamdard, emphasised on the need for training and skill development and twin degree concept and its utility. He offered all kinds of cooperation and support to the Alliance and talked in detail about how the Hamdard can provide better training facilities and the work he has done during his one year as vice chancellor by introducing many vocational courses and other centres to impart quality training.
Earlier, Mr. Shahid Siddiqui, former MP and Secretary of AEEDU, in his welcome address, said, “Just getting literate is not enough. Efforts of earlier groups and associations are not leading to the desired quality education. Today one has to be competitive, get quality education and should be better than everybody else. One cannot claim to be discriminated if he is not better than everybody else. We have to make sure that our educational institutions do not fall into educational ghettos.”
He added, “If we are not providing quality education and not producing competitive students then we are not doing justice to them and damaging their future. We have to prepare our children for the coming future. keeping in mind the challenges ahead. We have to make a big jump and we have to do in five years what others have achieved in the last 50 years and for that every one of us will have to share our responsibility to bring that desired change. And for this reason we have formed this Alliance in order to serve the purpose.”
The Alliance was formed by a group of concerned members of the civil society – former government servants, persons in public life, academicians and philanthropists. The purpose is to promote education, empower underprivileged communities and NGOs that are involved in the field of education and other institutions engaged in educational and nation building activities. The motto of the Alliance is to facilitate “Quality Education and Sustained Livelihood for the Underprivileged” which will lead to their empowerment.
Mr. P.A. Inamdar, President, Azam Campus, Pune; Prof Dinesh Singh, Vice-chancellor, K.R. Mangalam University; Prof. Faizan Mustafa, Vice-Chancellor, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad; Prof. Neharika Vohra, Vice-Chancellor at Delhi Skill and Entrepreneurship University; Prof Vineeta Sirohi, Department of Educational Administration; Mr. Abdul Qadeer, Educationist and Chairman, Shaheen Education Foundation; Prof Furqan Qamar, Former Vice-Chancellor Rajasthan University and Former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Himachal Pradesh; Mr. Arun Kapoor, Director at The Royal Academy, Bhutan; Prof. Rajasekaran Pillai, Former Chairman, UGC, and Vice-Chancellor, IGNOU, currently VC Somaiya Vidya Vihar University, Mumbai; Mr. Sirajuddin Ajmal, Former Member of Parliament and Managing Trustee, Ajmal Foundation; Mr. Abdul Subhan, Managing Director, Falcon Group of Institutions; Ms. Huma Khalil, Author, Editor, Bazm-e- Adab, and Rekhta Rauzan and many other intellectuals addressed the gathering.