Hyderabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed officials to plan educational institutions in minorities, especially Muslim, populated areas and also to work out details for imparting technical education and skill development to them, said Union Minister of State for Minorities Welfare Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
He said here Friday that the prime minister had called a meeting Wednesday, where he asked them to prepare the plans.
Addressing 17th foundation day of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) here, Naqvi said the government would identify and allot land for setting up Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and polytechnics in minority-dominated areas which lack educational facilities.
Stressing the need for more institutions like MANUU, he said the Urdu university could play a key role in educational and economic empowerment mission taken up by the central government.
The minister said along with skill development scheme, the government was entering into MoUs with companies and government departments to provide employment. "Unemployment is the biggest problem. There are many reasons for it. We discussed it many a times but it's time to do something," he said.
Underlining the need for educational empowerment of minorities, he said those working in the area of education should lay emphasis on mainstream education.
He suggested that those running madarsas should continue them to teach 'deeniyat' and other religious education but should also open Urdu schools to provide mainstream education. "Such schools should not only teach Urdu but also English, Hindi and other languages so that children studying up to 8th standard can do something in coming days," he said.
The minister lauded the activities of MANUU in running courses in technical education and in information technology.
"It is not just imparting education in Urdu language but is also teaching tehzeeb. We are part of that culture which is Indian. We should try to reinforce, protect and promote the culture," he added.
This was first visit to the varsity by any central minister after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) formed the central government.
Naqvi's visit also came close on the heels of appointment of Zafar Sareshwala, the high-profile of Muslim aide of Modi, as the chancellor of MANUU.
Vice Chancellor Mohammad Miyan said with 10 satellite campuses in different parts of India, MANUU is already delivering various technical courses. He said the university can set up polytechnics, IITs, and teachers' training institutes with the government's help.
He also uggested that the university's centres can be used to take government's schemes to Urdu-speaking people in different parts of the country.
University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Ved Prakash noted that in certain sections of society, the growth of enrollment in higher education is as low as 10 percent. "Access and equity are huge concerns for us," he said while stressing the need for widening curricular provisions.
Ved Prakash said while universities should were giving lot of emphasis to humanities and social sciences along with information and communication technology.
"If we run after information and communication technology and allow our languages, humanities and social sciences to languish in poverty, we will become a very weak society."
Underlining the need to give orientation to vocational education in higher education, he said earlier there were no openings in the sector of high education.
He said recently UGC allotted Rs.374 crore for promotion of vocational education in higher education and it is for universities to access these resources.
"Through these programmes, we want that you should graduate as entrepreneurs and provide jobs to other job seekers," he told students.
The UGC chairman also asked universities to switch over to choice based credit system to provide opportunities to children to choose their area of interest.