J.S. Ifthekhar

Survey done by the HRD Ministry finds that Muslim, ST and SC students are scoring poorly in these subjects

  • The proposal draws flak from educationists and minority leaders
  • `Economic deprivation and lack of educational background is the cause for dropout'
  • APSCHE Chairman says without a strong foundation of mathematics and English job prospects will be bleak
  • Special coaching urged for weak students

    HYDERABAD: How about making mathematics and English optional at school level? Surely, a lot of students would jump at the idea of getting rid of these difficult-to-crack subjects. But would it be in their interest in the long run. While the question is debatable, the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) seems to be veering round the idea.

    To check dropout rate

    The Commission is seriously examining the proposal to make mathematics and English optional for Muslim students and those belonging to weaker sections to check their dropout level in schools. This follows a survey done by the HRD Ministry, which has found Muslim, ST and SC students scoring poorly in these subjects and subsequently dropping out. The CBSE is stated to have asked the Commission to recommend the proposal to the Government for its approval.

    Justice M.S.A. Siddiqui, Chairman, NCMEI, who was in the city recently, said the Commission would have a thorough debate on the subject before a decision would be taken. However, Justice Siddiqui personally favoured the idea. "When you want to be a musician or an athlete why study maths and English," he asks.

    Considering the high rate of dropouts among Muslims and Dalits, he feels making these subjects optional would be of great help. "It is better the child remains in the school rather than out of it," he said.

    The Commission would not take any step which would not be in the interest of the minorities, particularly their education, he added.

    However, the proposal itself has attracted lot of flak from educationists and minority leaders. "It will be suicidal if these subjects are downgraded to the level of optional subjects in the formative stages of the school education. It is academically unsound," said Mohd Ishaq, noted educationist and author of the book - Education as a movement and a challenge.