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.
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
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.
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.
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
B I Laskar