The setting up of a Circuit Bench of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) in any part of Kerala will be given due consideration, provided the state government gives all the facilities needed, said NCMEI Chairman Justice M S A Siddiqui here on Tuesday.
He was delivering the keynote address at the national seminar on ‘Empowerment of minorities through education’ organised in connection with the National Minority Rights Day.
“Kerala is a great beneficiary of my Commission. Most of the cases pending with us emanate from Kerala,” said the Chairman
“I am seriously thinking of setting up a circuit bench here, subject to the condition that the state government is willing to provide all facilities.”
The welfare of minorities lies not just in the promotion of their language or culture but also in their inclusion into the mainstream, said Siddiqui.
“Muslims must realise the need for systematic self-transformation through education,” he said. “Our salvation lies in acquiring knowledge economies powered by information technology.”
Siddiqui mentioned the Sachar Committee report, which put Muslims at the lowest level when it came to education.
“Today, access and equity are the biggest challenges faced by higher education,” he said. “A suitable number of institutions are not available to fulfil the demand, and many existing ones lack necessary infrastructure.”
The growth in the number of educational institutions has not been in keeping with the delivery of quality education, the Chairman asserted. “Minorities in general, and Muslims in particular, must harness their resources that will lead them to quality education, growth and development.” Minorities Welfare Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali, who inaugurated the seminar, praised the work of the Minorities Department and said that every effort was made to bring the issues of minorities to the Centre’s notice.
There was no point in discussing minority rights without talking about their education, the Minister said.
“All efforts are being made by the government to ensure the education of minorities, including scholarships to students, setting up of coaching centres to train them for jobs, interviews etc,” Ali said. Also present at the function were Shabistan Gaffar, chairperson, Committee on Girls Education, NCMEI and Khamarunnisa Anwar, chairperson, Kerala State Social Welfare Board.