Educate, Enrich, Empower

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66- 67 - GM MominIn the last eight decades since its inception in 1927, the Konkan Muslim Education Society has spread its sphere of operations from one Anglo-Urdu high school to several educational institutions, including G M Momin Women’s College in Bhiwandi. In an interaction with ENN, Aslam Fakih, President of the K M E Society says the government needs to create a better ecosystem for minority educational institutions to help build a better India. Excerpts from the interview

When was the G.M. Momin Women’s College, Bhiwandi established?

Rafiuddin Fakih, Mustafa Fakih, Murtuza Fakih, Najmuddin Fakih and Ghulam Mohammed Momin founded the college in July 1989. The founders had a noble vision to empower women by promoting higher education for Muslim girls through this Women’s College in Bhiwandi.

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Explain the situation in Bhiwandi before your institution came into being?

Muslim Girls were not allowed to pursue higher education after completing their Higher Secondary certificate. The women’s college paved way for the first generation of graduate girls in many families in Bhiwandi.

What are the courses offered by Momin Women’s College?

We offer both under-graduate and post-graduate courses across different streams.

Has the student intake improved?

We started with 94 students in 1989. This year, 1409 students have enrolled in different courses.

Do you offer any incentives to students?

The G.M. Momin Women’s College offers the facility of paying fees in installments, scholarships for meritorious and needy students, book bank scheme and a scholar’s card in library. We also impart free courses in basic computers, Yoga, self-defence, value-added skill development and remedial classes.

Why is it that many minority institutions do not become popular or sought after?

Momin Women’s College is quite popular. Many institutions may be not popular on account of lack of quality and commitment. Others may be handicapped due to lack of funds.

What are the challenges faced in operating the college?

Fund-raising for infrastructure as per the growing demand, to get qualified faculty members and to get students enrolled in the initial stage of any programme are some of challenges. Also, the freedom to administer minority institutions is limited by the govern ment/university.

Are you able to attract good talent?

Though we earnestly wish to match industry standards, we are unable to do so due to lack of funds.

Do graduates from your institution find immediate placement?

Students have been placed in corporate and government sectors. TCS, Infosys and government organisations are some examples. Nevertheless, Muslim students face problems in going out to the corporate world to work as parents do not permit them. However, counseling of parents and conducting training sessions for students has helped change the mindset gradually.

Do you offer any career counseling services for students?

The career counseling and placement cells have been formed and they take care of career placements.

What are the efforts on digital learning front?

Students are guided for distant digital learning. Video conference benefits are available in our campus. Staff and students are also motivated to avail distant learning opportunities through IGNOU and various other distant modes.

Is your institution considering introducing skill development and vocational courses?

We have introduced courses in Fashion Designing, Computer Diploma, Language Development and Personality De- velopment.

“The women’s college has paved the way for the first generation of graduate girls in many families in Bhiwandi”

Have the Centre and state done enough to promote minority education?

We are not satisfied with the efforts taken either by the Centre or the state government so far. Several limitations and hurdles continue to burden the implementation of policies and schemes to reach the targeted beneficiaries.

What are your expectations from the new government?

Minority education institutions should be given government aid to conduct skill-oriented courses, especially for girls. Secondly, counselling programmes for parents and students should be aided by the government. Motivational guest lectures on various issues and solutions must be promoted and assisted by the government. Awareness programmes about distant learning mode should also be supported. Furthermore, policies and schemes should be liberalised for avail- ing benefits in due time to develop the institution. Finally, the allocation towards Higher & Technical education in the Union Budget in 2014-15 is insufficient (1.33 per cent only). I believe that there is an urgent need to review the budget.

What suggestions or grievances do you think need to be urgently looked into?

Incentives should be given for minority institutions which excel in quality to upgrade their infrastructure, even for the unaided programmes. Financial assistance for teachers’ in-service training programmes towards developing ICT skills should also be considered. Under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), industries need to come forward to collaborate with minority institutions and train students for varied skills, motivate teachers who adopt innovative methods of teaching and additional remuneration should be arranged for teachers who teach value-added courses. Authorities should also look into inordinate delays in payment of scholarships to minority students and poor implementation of minority welfare schemes.

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