‘Over 95 lakh Muslim students benefited through scholarships’. The CSF urges Christians to take benefit.
New Delhi, August 23, 2012: The CSF calls upon Christian educational institutions and students to take benefit of these scholarships by referring to the website http://momascholarship.gov.in/ or contact us in case of any difficulty.
New Delhi : More than 95 lakh Muslim children benefitted under the government’s pre-matric scholarship scheme till the end of March this year, the government said.
Minister of State for Minority Affairs Vincent H. Pala gave the information in the Lok Sabha in response to a question. The minister said, “More than 95 lakh Muslim children benefitted under the pre-matric scholarship scheme from inception of the scheme in 2008-09 till the end of the 11th Five Year Plan, i.e 31-03-2012″.
The allocation has been increased by 50 percent during the current year – “from Rs.600 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.900 crore in 2012-13 in order to cover more minority students under the scheme”. In response to another question, the minister said that there was no proposal to increase the number of scholarship schemes for students of minority communities.
He said the working group on the 12th Five Year Plan constituted by the Planning Commission has recommended to make the scholarship schemes “demand driven in order to cover all eligible minority students”. Students can apply online through the Online Scholarship Management System for merit-cum means based scholarship scheme.
“We totally agree with the findings of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Our surveys have also pointed the prejudices and biased in textbooks; a major factor in prevalent wave of terrorism”, said Anjum James Paul, chairman of the Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association PMTA based in Samundri, Faisalabad diocese.
The study states that text books in Pakistani schools foster prejudice and intolerance of Hindus and other religious minorities, while most teachers view non-Muslims as “enemies of Islam.
Researchers this year visited 37 public schools and and 19 madrassas (Islamic seminaries) to interview pupils and teachers.
The PMTA has been struggling for the rights of non Muslims students for seven years and has sent numerous recommendations to government officials for a balanced syllabus.
Paul referred to “maximum emphasis on Islamic way of life” in compulsory subjects taught from first to tenth grade. “There is disinformation, disrespect and propagation against religions other than Islam in the textbooks of Pakistan”, he added.
Although non-Muslim students can opt for ethics instead of compulsory Islamic studies in pre-high school examinations, Catholic institutes prefer to teach Islam for better scores and competent teachers.
Heads of Catholic, Church of Pakistan and United Presbyterian Churches and the Salvation Army have already submitted a unanimous catechism syllabus for Christian students to the government last year. The Catholic Bishop’s National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) is following up the education policy.
“We had to revise our strategy when the government refused to meet our demand for exclusion
of religious education. Non-Muslim students should be given an opportunity to learn their respective faiths”, said Yousaf Benjamin, coordinator of NCJP.