Seminar on Quality Scientific Education for Minorities 28 April 2013- A Report

A Report of a Seminar on “Quality Scientific Education for Minorities” held on 28th April 2013 at India Habitat centre Lodhi road, New Delhi.

The seminar was attended by more than 200 participants including distinguished educationist such as Dr. Ved Prakash, Chairman University Grants Commission, Prof. H P Dikshit, former Vice – Chancellor IGNOU and several other universities for about 19 years, Prof. R S Nirjar former chairman All India Council of Technical Education and Vice – Chancellor of Gautam Buddha Uinversity, Prof. K N Tripathi Vice – Chancellor designate K R Manglam University and former Vice - Chancellor B R Ambedkar University Agra, Prof. S S Alam Vice - Chancellor Alia University, Kolkata, Prof. N K Gupta, recipient of J C Bose Award and former Vice president of INSA, Prof. Moin Uddin Pro – Vice Chancellor Delhi Technical University, Dr Moin Khan, former Vice - Chancellor, Singhania University, Rajasthan. First session on “update of quality scientific education” was presided by the Hon’ble Mr. Wajahat Habbibullah, Chairman Nation Commission for Minorities. Begum Noor Banoo, a leading personality of public life and Mr. P C Mahajan Vice President of Management committee DAV Institutions in India. The conference was organized by The Duty Society Aligarh Muslim University, a reputed NGO established in 1889. Several illustrious men of public life such as Dr Zakir Husain (3rd President of India) Maulana Abul Hasan Nadvi (World renowned  Islamic Scholar), Prof Abdus Salam, Nobel Laureate (Founder Director in ICTP, Trieste, Italy), Maulvi Obaidur Rehman Khan Sherwani (A legendary figure of the movement of the educational advancement of Muslims of India), Prof Moonis Raza (Architect of Jawahar Lal Nehru University and Former Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University) have been associated with this organization. Prof Mohd Miyan, Vice-Chancellor Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) and Engr Nadeem Tarin, a Saudi based construction engineer and philanthropist were motivating force in organizing this seminar. Speaking as the chief guest, the Chairman Minority Commission, Mr Wajahat Habibullah emphasized the importance of quality scientific education and hoped that minorities would make serious efforts to acquire quality scientific education. He assured that the government of the day is committed to make all possible endeavor for upliftment of minorities as they are at the bottom in the field of education in India according to several authentic reports.

The second session was devoted to felicitation of Dr Ved Prakash on his appointment as a Chairman University Grants Commission. It was presided by Prof H P Dikshit and Prof Ms P Manchanda Guru Nanak Dev University was the compere of this session. Speakers in this session were Prof R S Nirjar, Prof K N Tripathi, Prof S S Alam, Engr. Nadeem Tarin and Prof Mohd Miyan. Notable participants in this session were Dr Sirajuddin Quresi, President India Islamic Cultural Centre, Prof M M Ansari, Member University Grants Commission, Mr. Safdar Khan Chairman Delhi Minority Commission, Dr M K Shahid, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, MANUU, Hyderabad, Prof Ms Shahla Moonis Raza, Ms Nazis Husani, S Khalid. Every one speaking on this occasion congratulated Prof Ved Prakash on his appointment as the Chairman University Grants Commission and hoped that this organization would function very effectively under his stewardship. Speakers praised his long experience of working on Indian and international educational system and highlighted fine qualities of his human behavior. Specially Prof Dikshit and Prof Nirjar mentioned about their long association with him and highlighted his meticulous way of working.

The Duty Society presented a memento to Dr Ved Prakash to express its appreciation for his valuable services rendered to the nation. Speaking on this occasion, Dr Ved Prakash emphasized strengthening of the secular fabric of Indian nation. He further added that providing quality education of all sections, specially weaker sections of our nation is an important task for the government and therefore, the UGC will not leave any stone unturned to achieve this objective. He also pointed out that for a multicultural country like India, imparting quality education is not an easy task. He concluded his speech by thanking the organizers and assuring them for due consideration for the recommendations of the seminar. 

On this occasion, Dr Ved Prakash, Chairman UGC released a special issue of the journal of Indian Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics dedicated to the world renowned Applied and Industrial Mathematician, Prof Helmut Neunzert of Germany (founder of the world biggest Institute of Industrial and Business Mathematics)

Third session- the interactive session (open forum) was presided over by Mr Safdar Husain Khan, Chairman Delhi Minority Commission and Dr M M Ansari, Member University Grants Commission (former Information Commissioner of government of India and an Interlocutor for Jammu & Kashmir). Several distinguished scholars including Prof Moin Uddin, Pro- Vice- Chancellor, DTU, Prof A Q Ansari JMI and Prof S D Deshmukh actively participated in this session.

During the discussion in this session, Mr Safdar Khan and Dr M M Ansari emphasized for creating a group of intellectuals to give a due thought on problems of minorities and to suggest remedial majors. Mr Safdar H Khan, Chairman, Delhi Minority commission, emphasized that the central and Delhi governments have already introduced several schemes for the welfare of minorities and they should take full advantage of these schemes. Prof  Imtiazuddin, Chicago based NRI, who started his career as a faculty member of electrical engineering in Regional Engineering college Srinagar Kashmir (Now NIT, Srinagar) in early sixties and then moved U.S.A. to work in industry, vividly described his experience and effort to do something very useful for minorities and weaker sections of Indian population.

The main ideas expressed in different sessions relevant to the theme of the seminar could be summarized as follows:

Unanimous view was that Minorities are lagging behind in the field of quality scientific education, particularly mathematical sciences and appropriate steps are required to inculcate the spirit of acquiring knowledge of this emerging field of science and technology. There is an acute shortage of competent teachers and technicians at all levels, specially in minority institutions. References were made to several reports including ISU adhoc committee report, 2011 and activities of organizations like ICTP (UNESCO Organization), Field Institute (Canadian Organization), ITWM (German Institute), Oberwolfach Research Centre (German Institute), IUCAA (Pune). A consortium of institutions like MANUU, AMU, JMI, Jamia Hamdard, Faizan College (Shahjahanpur), Mumtaz College (Lucknow), Islamia College (Lucknow), Miyan Sahib Islamia College (Gorakhpur), Shibli College (Azamgarh) was visualized as a remedial major.

As a concrete step, an idea of creating a centre in NCR (Greater Noida or along Yamuna Express Highway) with the following objectives was mooted.

  1. To popularize emerging areas of Mathematics, Computer Science, Medical and Agriculture Sciences such as  Data Mining, Scientific Computing,  Image Processing, Medical Imaging, Financial Engineering    relevant to solving real world problems through popular lectures/ seminars/  workshops/ symposium/ conferences.
  2. To create awareness of Mathematical Models, Methods and Mathematical Software among school and college teachers by organizing workshops and practical training (MATLAB, Mathematical Motivation) and encouragement for modification or development of new software, motivation for new models and methods including Knowledge Technology.
  3. To organize regular summer and winter schools for  faculty members and young researchers in emerging areas of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Computer Science and Information Technology.
  4. Coaching, Guidance and Training of brilliant young students of different regions in specific emerging areas for entering to prestigious institutions and to qualify in NET and GET examinations.
  5. Establishment of a good library equipped with internet connectivity to other reputed libraries having standard publications in the emerging areas.  Hardly any library in the country is subscribing journals in the emerging areas of Industrial & Applied Mathematics including Data based Technology.
  6. Distinguished Professors in the field may be appointed as associates who may spend reasonable time at the centre to conduct short courses/seminars/workshops and to guide and collaborate with younger scientists visiting the centre.
  7. To create interaction between researchers in a particular speciality; this may enhance research publications in the area.
  8. Provision of Guidance of Research for Ph.D. degree in selected emerging areas at such centres.
  9. Creation of opportunities for interaction of mathematicians and computer scientists, and potential users of mathematics.
  10.  Provision of international collaboration of this centre. It may train manpower of developing countries and can be benefited from developed countries’ expertise.  In due course of time, India could be world-leader in this field.
  11. To bring to the notice of the higher institutions of learning the articles and publications of SIAM, IMA, ITWM, IECM, ICIAM, Field Institute, MITAC and other such centres in the world.  Monthly brochure may be sent to important institutions in the country and abroad.
  12. To interact with institutions like Darul –Uloom Deoband & Darul –Uloom  Nadwa (Lucknow) and to work for providing future avenues for their alumni. 

Field Institute in Canada, International centre for theoretical physics (ICTP) in Italy, Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) Pune, India; Oberwolfach Centre in Germany may provide good models for this centre with exception that it may start orientation programme, even for the school teachers and technicians in private and government sectors.

It may be pointed out here that as in ICTP, where experts are from the developed countries and beneficiaries are from developing countries, in this centre  experts could be from any community and beneficiaries could be selected on preference basis from weaker sections of the society.

It has been suggested that a committee comprising Prof H P Dikshit, Prof Mohd Miyan, Engr Nadeem Tarin, Prof N K Gupta, Prof Ms P Manchanda, Prof Mohd Irfan, Prof A H Siddiqi (Convener) be authorized to take appropriate action for implementation of the spirit of this seminar outlined above.

Prof A H SiddiqiKeeper Duty Society and Convener of the Seminar