An advisory committee of NCERT set up for promotion of education of religious minorities has suggested establishing separate schools for girls to check their dropout rates and a comprehensive scholarship criterion for the holistic development of children.
It has also recommended in-depth research studies in minority education, initiating teacher exchange programmes for exposing teachers to diverse situations and developing awareness packages for teachers and administrators towards policy and programmes for education of minority groups.
Besides, it has pressed for decentralisation of policy planning involving local, block-level functionaries and community and a national-level consultation on issues and challenges related to minority education.
During the first meeting of the committee last month, sources said NCERT Director Parvin Sinclair was of the view that while many research studies have been undertaken in the area of minority education mostly focused on Muslims only, the focus now needs to be shifted to a larger spectrum and educational development of all minority groups.
Observing that Muslim children in both rural and urban educational institutes suffer from problems of alienation, discrimination and cultural marginalisation, Farah Farooqui, a teacher at Jamia Millia Islamia, felt organisations like NCERT should take more comprehensive research studies with specialised consultation to address these gaps in a more nuanced and realistic manner.
Another committee member Annie Koshi, principal of a Delhi-based Christian missionary school, proposed that the socio-economic condition of children should be the criterion of support rather than their religion.
The committee comprises many academic-educationists, education-administrators, NGO representatives and school managers associated with education of different religious minority groups.