SIO Launches Students Manifesto; Demands Focus on Inclusive Education and Social Justice

by | Feb 17, 2024

In Press Club of India on February 17th, the Students’ Islamic organisation of India (SIO) unveiled the Students’ Manifesto aimed at tackling critical issues affecting education, minorities, and societal well-being in India. Ramees EK, the National President, along with Abdullah Faiz and Dr. Roshan Mohiddin,  National Secretaries of the organisation, addressed the media and shared the details of the manifesto.

The Students’ Manifesto consists of pressing demands of the student community which SIO wants to be a main focus of the 2024 parliamentary election. Students’ Manifesto highlights the following areas:

  • Equitable Reservation: Advocating for a fair and just reservation system to ensure opportunities for all.
  • Special Attention to Socio-economic Backward Districts: Focusing on the upliftment of marginalized regions for balanced development.
  • Enactment of the Rohit Act: Ensuring justice and the safety of students.
  • Reinstate MANF and Enhance Scholarships for Minorities: Supporting minority students financially for equal access to education.
  • Anti-Discrimination Law: Striving for a society free from discrimination and bias.
  • Stringent Personal Data Protection Law and Privacy Charter: Safeguarding privacy and data of individuals.
  • Environment and Sustainability Funds – 1000 Cr: Dedication to environmental initiatives and sustainable practices.
  • Health and Mental Wellness Centers for Youth Across India: Prioritizing the holistic well-being of the youth.
  • Ensure Free and Compulsory Education from Elementary to University Level: A commitment to accessible education for all.
  • Employment Guarantee Act for Youth: Paving the way for job security and opportunities for the nation’s youth

In the press meet, the SIO leadership talked about the alarming trends in India’s education landscape. Despite an overall literacy rate of 74.04%, falling below the world average of 86.3%, many states barely surpass the national level.

Ramees EK expressed concern over the Centre discontinuing key educational schemes for religious minorities, narrowing the scope of others, and reducing expenditure on programs under the Ministry of Minority Affairs, and the reduction in the education budget share to 2.9% of GDP, far below the 6% target set by the National Education Policy 2020.

He invited attention to the stark contrast between India’s 2.1% of GDP allocation and countries like Japan, Canada, and France, allocating approximately 10% to public healthcare.

Unemployment is one of the biggest problems in India now. In a written response to an unstarred question asked in the parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office said that as of March 1, 2023, there were around 10 lakh vacant positions across the ministries. However, the Government is not serious about filling the vacant positions across universities and ministries. There is widespread corruption and inefficiency in the tests and selection processes, he alleged.

Addressing the alarming dropout rates among Muslim students, Dr. Roshan Mohiddin emphasised that the Institute of Objective Studies reported a 23.1% dropout rate, surpassing the national average of 18.96%. The enrolment of Muslim students dropped from 5.5% in 2019-20 to 4.6% in the academic year 2020-21. Roshan also shed light on the concerning erosion of academic freedom, as reflected in India’s position in the bottom 30% among 179 countries in the academic freedom index prepared by the V-Dem Institute.

He also expressed deep concern over the mental health crisis, citing National Crime Records Bureau data reporting suicide as the leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 30, with an average of 34 students taking their lives every 42 minutes.

Abdulla Faiz drew attention towards the exponential rise in hate crimes, citing Amnesty International and the DOTO Database, urging for immediate attention to protect lives and combat religious discrimination.

He stated that the students and youth are the biggest constituency of this country and political parties must specially cater to their needs when seeking votes. He added that the manifesto is asking political parties to invest in the future of the country. He stressed that the students and youth are not going to be mollified by empty promises or distracted by divisive political agendas. Instead they strongly demand solid election manifestos that guarantee accessible and quality education, employment, peace and safe environment.


Related Posts