By Abdul Bari Masoud
Aligarh/ New Delhi: At the back of growing Islamophobia in the country, a 20-year-old Aligarh Muslim University student was denied job in the army on the grounds that the AMU’s Board of Secondary & Senior Secondary Education – was “unauthorised”. The AMU authorities have taken up the issue at appropriate level and sent all relevant documents to the Army recruitment authorities. Former VC Lt General Zameeruddin Shah said this reflects a “casual attitude” towards a premiere educational institution in the country which is well-known all over the world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also delivered the key speech at the AMU centenary celebrations in December last year.
According to Times of India, the AMU student who participated in an Army recruitment camp in Rajasthan was rejected after military officials said the education board of his alma mater – the Aligarh Muslim University Board of Secondary & Senior Secondary Education – was “unauthorised” as it was missing from the list of state-approved boards issued by the UP government.
Mursalin Khan, currently an undergraduate student at AMU, said he had cleared the physical exam at the Army recruitment drive held in Kota last month, but was shocked to receive a rejection letter on July 29. The letter, which he shared with the paper, said the reason for rejection was the candidate’s studies from “an unauthorised board of education”.
An Army officer involved in the recruitment rally said the letter was issued since the AMU education board was missing from the list of state recognized boards sent by the UP government. The list was provided by each state to the Army headquarters in January,” the officer said.
However, contending this claim, AMU authorities said the schools maintained and managed by AMU are recognized and approved by various government authorities. These schools are imparting education to thousands of students and they possess all the requisite approvals from the government. DId the army authorities not know that the country’s Prime Minister had addressed the AMU centenary celebrations in December last year, a student asked.
Presently, the University is running 10 schools. About 2,900 students take class 12 examinations every year under the board. These schools have been established under section 12 (1) and (2) of the AMU Act, 1920 enacted by an Act of parliament. Further, the Senior Secondary Schools (Boys/Girls) are approved and recognized by University Grants Commission vide letter no. F.2-54/82(D-1) dated Mary 2, 1984.
Major (Dr) Syed Mohammad Mustafa, principal of Saiyyid Hamid Senior Secondary School, one of the schools under AMU board, said it is a serious matter; the government must look into this.
He maintained that “The certificate issued by the board is recognised by the National Testing Agency (NTA) and its students take all top competitive exams in the country. How can it be an unauthorised board?”
University spokesperson Omer Peerzada said that there is no truth regarding the controversy of derecognition of any AMU Schools. All the University schools are duly recognized by various authorities and their results are also provided annually to the Ministry of Education.
He further underlined that various prominent Testing Agencies of the country as National Testing Agency, IITs/NITs and other engineering institutions, JEE Mains and Advance Test, NEET all recognize the certificate issued by AMU Board of Secondary & Senior Secondary Education. Even all Universities and other institutions across the world recognize AMU Schools, he added.
The AMU Board is also recognised by the Council of Boards of School Education in India (COBSE) which grants recognition to various Boards. AMU board was granted its membership in October 2015.
COBSE is an autonomous body established with permission from the Indian government which is responsible for verifying genuineness/recognition of school education boards in India. It grants membership to boards set up by an Act of Parliament or state legislature or by the executive order of the central/state government.
Regarding the ongoing controversy over rejection of AMU School documents during Army recruitment, this is not the first time an Army aspirant was rejected for this reason. “Earlier as well, we have had complaints from our alumni about this,” said AMU vice-chancellor Tariq Mansoor, who is also chairman of the AMU board.
In his reaction, former VC of AMU and Lt General Zameeruddin Shah said this indicated a “casual attitude” towards a premiere educational institution. “The issue should be resolved once and for all,” he said.
University spokesperson said that the issue is being taken up at an appropriate level. “We have provided all relevant documents to the Army recruitment authorities. A copy of these papers has also been provided to the aggrieved student. We are hopeful that the issue will be settled soon,” he said.