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National Seminar on
Educational Status of Minority Women in NE India 
- Challenges and Future Prospects

The University of Science & Technology Meghalaya (USTM) hosted a national seminar on ‘Educational status of Minority Women in North East India: Challenges & Future Prospects’ in Techno City on the outskirts of Guwahati on Saturday. The event was supported by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Govt of India.

Inaugural Session:

The welcome address was delivered by Dr Alaka Desai Sarma, Dean, School of Business Sciences, USTM following which Shamsul Hoque Mazumdar, former Director, Planning & Development, Govt. of Assam, as Guest of Honour in the seminar made a power point presentation on the Role of government departments and organisations in promoting education among minority women.

Prof Monirul Hussain, Department of Sociology, Gauhati University in his keynote address gave a perspective of the historical and political aspects that affect the spread of education among the minority communities of the region. He stressed upon the stratified nature of the minority communities in NE India and suggested for action plans to develop in considering the social dynamics of such communities.

The inaugural session was presided over by Prof PK Abdul Azis, VC, USTM. He lamented that even after 65 years of independence, the vast majority of Muslim men and women in the interior areas of Assam still remain ignorant and illiterate as a result of which they are not only deprived of all the schemes the government has introduced over the years for their uplift but also their patriotism and citizenship put to question for this reason.

Technical Sessions:

Two technical parallel sessions were held simultaneously in the administrative and academic blocks of the university. All together 25 papers on diverse topics and relating to different states of the North East were enlisted for presentation in the technical sessions.

In the session titled ‘Situational analysis of minorities in NE India – Equity in education, employment and participation’, Prof Abdul Mannan of Gauhati University acted as the chairperson and Dr Alaka Desai Sarma as the moderator. A total of 15 papers were there in this session. In this technical session some of the papers drew attention of many and lots of queries. Notably among these is a paper on Education and urban Assamese Muslim women, presented by Sabrina Iqbal. N I Laskar, Inspecting Authority, Maulana Azad Education Foundation, New Delhi acted as the Chairperson and Dr Satish Kumar of USTM as Moderator in the second session on ‘Schemes and programmes relating to empowerment of women and role of Govt and non-Govt sectors.’ A total of ten papers were enlisted for this session. Among the papers that drew a lot of appreciation from the stakeholders include ‘Reproductive health needs of Assamese Muslim women: a case study of Bongaon Block’ by Prateeti Barman; ‘Minority Muslim girls in Manipur: an analytical study of their enrolment in elementary education’ by Anu Devi ; ‘Need for counselling among minority women affected by ethnic violence in Assam’ by Tahera Hoque Mazumdar.

Valedictory Session:

Dr Maqbul Ali, HoD, Sociology USTM made the rapporteurs’ presentation at the valedictory session. The keynote address was delivered by Allen Brooks, Member, Assam State Minority Commission. Mr Brooks is hopeful of improvement of the educational status of minority girls of the region. In his valedictory address, Mohbubul Hoque, Chancellor USTM urged the research scholars and stakeholders to now direct their work at district and sub divisional levels so that awareness benefits could percolate to the grass root people. It is further recommended to draw a roadmap for minority women’s education in North East.

The vote of thanks was offered by Baharul Islam Laskar from the Department of Sociology & Social Work, USTM who had conceptualised the entire structure of the Seminar.

B I Laskar
Organising Secretary


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