TMREIS grapples with crash in enrolment as new academic year set to start soon

TMREIS grapples with crash in enrolment as new academic year set to start soon

Hyderabad: Even as the Telangana Minorities Residential Educational Institutions Society (TMREIS) gears up for the new academic year, the staff...

Hyderabad: Even as the Telangana Minorities Residential Educational Institutions Society (TMREIS) gears up for the new academic year, the staff visiting ‘bastis’ to enrol students struggle to convince parents. With two-thirds of workforce, including teachers, from non-minority background, the language barrier and understanding of the socio-cultural environment, particularly in locations like Hyderabad, continues to pose a challenge.

Once much hyped, TMREIS institutions are embroiled in allegations of massive corruption and nepotism over appointments and contracts, besides safety concerns of students raised during recent years. They have witnessed drop-outs. They continue to struggle for making new enrolment despite getting the lion's share of the budget of Rs 700 crore.

“For the past one week the staff began visiting bastis as part of the enrolment process in parts of city. Parents from Muslim community which has remained averse to the idea of boarding school at large are reluctant.

Despite awareness programmes to draw students most parents wish their children remain under their watchful eyes.

With close to 70% of staff and students representing non-Muslim backgrounds, the concerns over the institutions’ environment has become a major contributing factor for parents getting discouraged,” said a volunteer closely associated with TMREIS, who wishes to stay anonymous.

Two years on NCM remains silent

The State government has allocated Rs 700 crore which has almost doubled since the inception of the flagship programme-2016 by the BRS government. With more than 200 schools and several junior colleges, which claim to be serving one lakh students across Telangana, appointments at different levels in institutions have always remained under scrutiny.

In 2022 the issue of misappropriation of funds and appointments took centre stage after the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) took up the issue, inquired into allegations of ‘induction of unqualified individuals’ and over ‘demands of bribe for admissions of students’. However, even after two years there is no significant outcome of the probe from the commission. When The Hans India contacted, commission member Shahezadi Syed, who held a review in Hyderabad then, could not respond to queries.

After the new government took office top officials of TMREIS, including society secretary and academic head, were replaced. However, unlike other alleged ‘scams’ probe is yet to be ordered into society’s functioning over the years.

No proper response to RTI queries

Even queries to TMREIS through RTI failed to answer specific questions, casting doubts about functioning of institutions. based in Hyderabad could not get proper information when it requested answers in 2023. It sought details on fund allocation and utilisation for sports, scientific initiatives and other activities, like NCC. It also sought details of funds being utilised on students for preparing them for competitive exams, like NEET and EAMCET.

President of Tehreek Muslim Shabban, Mustaq Malik, who regularly raised questions over the society’s functioning, smacked claims of quality education. “There has been no transparency whatsoever over who was getting procurement contracts. Funds were diverted to benefit families and relatives of a few; contracts starting from school bags, clothes, shoes, food and books were given away without following proper tender process. If you talk about quality of education, an auto driver was made in-charge of three schools in Chandrayangutta. There are no proper set of norms in place, unlike other residential schools run by the government, to keep a check,” he explained.

Demand for minority status and auditing

Malik demanded the government to set the institution in order, otherwise its very purpose will be lost completely. “Besides declaring minority status, an autonomous body should be at the helm of affairs and be accountable,” he stressed. S Q Masood, secretary, Association for Socio-Economic Empowerment of the Marginalised (ASEEM), feels that the government should come clean over apprehensions. “The government should probe allegations and should take up audit of accounts of at least four years, as there remains major allegations of misappropriation.”

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