New Delhi,Abu Zafar: The enrolment ratio of Muslims in primary and upper primary level increased up to 14.34 percent and 12.52 percent respectively in year 2013-14 across India which is more than their population ratio (13.43% as per Census 2001) in the country. In 2012-13, the Muslim enrolment was 14.20 and 12.11 percent at primary and upper primary level respectively. But at least in 18 states and union territories, including major states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the Muslim enrolment is lower than their ratio in state population.
The latest government report ‘Flash Statistics: Elementary Education in India: Progress towards UEE for the year 2013-14’ which was prepared by National University of Educational Planning & Administration (NEUPA) in collaboration with District Information System for Education (DISE) says Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state which sends 80 members to Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian parliament and home for more than 3 crore (18.5% of state population) of Muslims, had 14.71 and 11.82 percent Muslim enrolment in primary and upper primary levels in 2013-14 respectively. (The government has not released religious break-up of national population after the Census 2011).
In year 2011-12 and 2012-13 the percentage of Muslim enrolment in both levels in UP was less than the current ratio.
In, Bihar which has 16.53 percent of Muslim population, the enrolment ratio was 15.53 and 13.30 percent in primary and upper primary respectively in 2013-14. In 2011-12 and 2012-13 in primary level Bihar had 15.20 and 15.06 percent enrolment and in upper primary level it was recorded 13.23 and 13.21 percent respectively.
Muslims of UP and Bihar have a bright history in several fields including education.. There is a large number of religious and modern education institutions including Aligarh Muslim University and Darul Uloom Deoband.
Jharkhand with 13.85 percent of Muslim population has only 12.97 and 12.80 percent enrolment in primary and upper primary level respectively.
Gujarat is home of 9.06 percent Muslims, but during 2013-14 the enrolment ratio in primary level was only 8.81 percent and in upper primary level it was recorded 8.57 percent.
Performance of Muslims in Kerala, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra was better. All these states have more enrolment ratio than their percentage in state population. (Please see table for more detail)
All educational awareness campaigns and welfare schemes notwithstanding, the enrolment of Muslim girls slipped down a bit in 2013-14 compared to the previous year. At national level in 2013-14, Muslim girls’ enrolment was 49.12 and 51.38 percent at primary and upper primary level respectively while in 2012-13 it was 49.22 and 51.48 percent.
There are several states which have less than 50 percent enrolment of girl students in both primary and upper primary level.
In 2013-14 only four states and union territories, Andaman & Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar and Meghalaya had more than 50 percent Muslim girls’ enrolment in primary level.
In upper primary level at least 10 states and union territories recorded more than 50 percent share in girls’ enrolment. With 56.17 percent share of enrolment in upper primary level in 2013-14 West Bengal was top among all states and union territories. Haryana recorded lowest share of Muslim girls’ enrolment and it share was only 41.42 percent in 2013-14.
Commenting on the low Muslim enrolment in Bihar and UP, Dr. Abuzar Kamaluddin, former vice chairman of Bihar Intermediate Education Council, feels it is an alarming situation if in important states like UP and Bihar, Muslims’ performance is not better in education sector.
He says that poverty, less awareness and lack of quality education are some important causes behind the low performance of Muslims in the field of education especially in states like Bihar and UP.
“Apart from poverty and unawareness there is a serious problem of lack of quality in our education system which gives a wrong signal to people that it doesn’t have any role to curb unemployment and other problems,” he explained.
Sometimes poor people fail to understand what would be the benefit if they send their kids to school,” he added. He also accused the community leadership for not focusing these vital issues.
“Community leaderships focus mostly on emotional issues rather than such basic issues,” he alleged.
Dr. Idrees Qureshi, President, All India Muslim Educational Society (UP Unit) also feels that there is lack of quality in educational institutes especially run by Muslim management which leads people not to bother much about education.
“There are lots of institutions run by Muslims only in UP but they fail in competitions to other. They are mere tool of certificate distribution,” Qureshi told IndiaTomorrow.net.
“Even people who are running such institutions are not serious about quality. They focus only how to earn money” he alleged.
He also said that there is a feeling among Muslims that going ahead in education is worthless because government won’t give them job anyway.