Free Press Journal

Varsities for minorities: Another step to woo Muslims


New Delhi : The Centre has formed two panels to look into modalities of setting up five universities for minorities and offer grant-in-aid to madarsas offering mainstream education, a move that comes ahead of polls in five states including UP which has a sizeable Muslim population, reports PTI.

A move that comes ahead of polls in 5 states including UP which has a sizeable Muslim population

The 10-member committee on varsities, formed at the fag end of the last month, is expected to submit its report in the next two months to Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), which comes under Minority Affairs Ministry, sources said.

Former secretary to Government of India, Afzal Amanullah, is the convener of the committee. Aligarh Muslim University Vice Chancellor Lt General Zameeruddin Shah, his Jamia Milia Islamia University counterpart professor Talat Ahmed, ex-Calicut varsity V-C Padmashri Iqbal Hasnain and former Parliamentarian Shahid Siddiqui are among other members of the panel.

MAEF secretary D Madhukar Naik is the member secretary of the panel. The government has decided to set up the universities to empower minorities educationally. These new varsities will have world class institutions that will impart education in medical, skill development and other areas. The committee is expected to tell the Foundation modalities of how the universities will be formed, sources said.

The panel, inter alia, is supposed to help the government identify places where the campuses of the varsities will be established and also discuss whether the universities will hold minority tag.

The government is looking for big spaces, around 100 acres for each of the varsities, to set up the institutions to impart Ayurved, Unani medical education, skill development training to students from the communities and to set up residential schools.

The Haryana and Rajasthan governments have already evinced interest in it and suggested some properties where the varsities can take shape there, the sources added.

Banker Udayan Bose, educationists Feroze Bakht Ahmed and Qamar Agha and social activist Kulsoom Noor Saifullah are the remaining members of the panel. Sources said the government plans to commission academic sessions at the universities in 2018.

While the varsities are meant to empower minority students educationally, students from other communities too can undertake education here, they added.

The other panel on considering a grant-in-aid scheme for madrasas will have seven members with Syed Babar Ashraf, MAEF member, as its convener.

The committee is expected to submit a report on a scheme to offer grant-in-aid to madarsas which are imparting modern education to their students, they added. Besides Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur will go to polls between February and March.