Millions of girls representing the rural poor, the scheduled castes and tribes, the minorities and the urban slums remain out of the educational umbrella because of the way India's formal education system has operated, says Uttarakhand Governor Margaret Alva. Addressing the Founder's Day programme at the Women's College of Aligarh Muslim University here Wednesday, she urged women to be ready to pay the price, “but be a catalyst for change and instruments of women's liberation”. She said the education system has operated more for the rich than for the poor, more for the urban than for rural child, and more for boys than for girls. She observed that the importance of education as a liberating tool for women has been long accepted and from the very beginning of the movement of women's liberation, education has been identified as the major instrument. Paying rich homage to the AMU Women's College founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and his wife Waheed Jahan, she said both these great personalities have championed the cause of education for Muslim women in an era of difficult times. They founded a girls' school in 1906 and established the Female Education Association for empowerment of women. The birth of Abdullah Girls' School was indeed a rare achievement. She said the literacy percentage of Muslims is considerably lower than the national average and in the case of Muslim women, it is even lower. She called upon educated women to look at life with a new perspective. AMU Vice Chancellor P.K. Abdul Aziz announced that AMU will establish two women's colleges and women's polytechnics, one each at Murshidabad in West Bengal and Malappuram in Kerala, from the next academic session to provide education to women as a strategy to empower them. Aziz said AMU Women's College is 106 years old and it has produced generations of graduates who occupy important places in all walks of life.
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