The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Panel rap for profit motive
- Schools list grievances for minority commission

Siliguri, May 9: The chairman of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions today warned Christian missionary schools here against “ongoing commercialisation of education”.

At the same time, Justice M.S.A. Siddiqui promised the panel’s cooperation in solving problems faced by missionary schools of the region.

At a conference organised jointly by the West Bengal Association of Christian Schools and the Bangiya Christyo Pariseva, the chairman praised the community for its contribution in the field of education — running hundreds of colleges and thousands of schools and imparting quality education.

“But we hear of another story today: the story of moral decline and disarray that several of these institutions have undergone. We hear complaints, and that too increasingly, that some schools are not able to resist the ongoing commercialisation…we know further that your commitment to the poor, to those in the rural and tribal areas, is now drying up,” he said.

According to Siddiqui, though the number of minority schools has gone up considerably, “this has had no effect on improving the educational profile of the minorities”.

Bangiya Christyo Pariseva’s state committee secretary Herod Mullick, however, said that these observations “were not 100 per cent true”.

The conference later discussed problems faced by missionary schools in north Bengal. “There are about 250 schools in the region, 50 of which have not got recognition from the board of higher secondary education. And 17 other schools following the ICSE syllabus have not yet got no-objection certificate (NOC) from the education department,” Mullick said.

Yesterday, the Pariseva submitted a list of 15 schools awaiting NOCs to Mani Thapa, the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad sabhadhipati. Thapa has promised to take up the matter with state minister for school education Partha Dey.

Justice Siddiqui later told The Telegraph that Bengal, along with Sikkim and Uttaranchal, had no mechanism “to grant minority status to a minority institution…which is why these institutions approach the commission for help”.

The chairman will address a similar conference in Gangtok tomorrow.

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