Mallapuram (Kerala), May 7 : Samastha Kerala Jamiat ul-Ulema (SKJU), a traditional Muslim religious organization in the State, has ushered in a major change in the educational scenario by incorporating scientific and modern training.
The institution runs not only thousands of madrassas but also numerous English and Malayalam medium schools along with scores of women's and technical colleges.
The institution's work is distinctly different from the usual image of Muslim institutions being bastions of orthodoxy, religious conservatism and obsession with medieval identity.
Madrasas and schools run by this organization have wrought a sea change in the educational scenario in the state.
Muslims account for around a fourth of Kerala's population, and the state's Muslims, known as Mapillas, are among the most literate of the various Muslim communities in the country.
Students studying in the technical institutes run by the Jamiat Ul Ulema say that they have been provided with considerable exposure enabling them to see the world at large.
"As a Muslim student I am very proud to say that this management has given us a great opportunity and exposure to this IT world. In this fast paced world, for the past ten years we did not get any opportunity to come in front of the world and prove ourselves but Samastha management has provided us a big platform and exposure to the world," said Fathima Shaira, student, MEA Engineering College.
The institution calls for the promotion of modern education compatible with Islam and inter-communal harmony.
Several non-Muslim students who have enrolled in the institution are also benefited.
Students who have been provided with all the modern educational facilities are extremely happy with the management.
"We have four excellent full fledged laboratories and good internet connection too. In the library we have all sorts of books, CDs and digital library. There is everything that a technical trainee needs to acquire knowledge about the recent technologies," said Ambrish, a Hindu student, MEA Engineering College, Pattikadu.
The institution is also imparting education in the rural areas in a bid to uplift the poorest section of the society.
The organisation provides hostel facilities to both boys and girls.
The SKJU also runs a teachers' training centre, several shariah colleges that combine religious and secular education.
It also runs a number of orphanages, some of which receive state funding. Some of these orphanages run schools, polytechnics, industrial training centres, presses, computer centers, dispensaries and madrasas.
According to the 2001 census, Kerala has the second highest literacy rate (89.9 per cent) among the Indian states after Mizoram (91 per cent).
The effort of the SKJU is not just motivational but remarkable in terms of development of the state. By Juhan Samuel