23 Jan 2008, 0045 hrs IST,Akshaya Mukul,TNN

Muslim enrolment just 9% in primary schools: Study

NEW DELHI: Comprising more than 13% of Indian population, Muslim enrolment at the primary level (class I-V) was a meagre 9.39% while in upper primary (class VI-VIII) it was 7.52% in 2006-07. The data of Muslim enrolment in schools, collected for the first time, only confirms what the Sachar Committee report indicated about their educational status. The survey, conducted by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) for HRD ministry, shows that in Muslim-dominated states like UP, Bihar, West Bengal and Kerala, the community needs a giant leap to make it to the mainstream. Assam, J&K, Andhra Pradesh and to some extent West Bengal are the only exceptions.

However, sources point out that since this is the first time that data on Muslims has been calculated, there is a probability of some data infirmity.

Also, it is possible that a few states could have included enrolment of OBC Muslim students in the OBC figures rather than factoring them separately. There is also a chance that a few schools did not report Muslim enrolment figures. "A clearer picture would emerge from next year," one official said. NUEPA's education statistics released on Tuesday also shows that enrolment percentage of SCs/STs/OBCs has not changed much since the previous years. But there has been a change in the overall ranking of states on the basis of Educational Development Index.

The EDI - based on indicators like access, infrastructure, teachers and outcomes in both primary and upper primary level - introduced last year, shows that Kerala remains the top state for the second consecutive year, but, Puducherry has climbed up two steps and is now in the second position. Delhi has come down to third from the second slot. Tamil Nadu has come down to the fourth position from last year's third slot, while Andhra Pradesh has fallen four positions - down from eighth to 12th.

Even Karnataka has come down to the eighth slot from sixth last year. States like Bihar, UP, West Bengal, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh continue to hover - a few notches up and down - among the bottom of the heap. As for Muslim enrolment, in J&K with 66.97% Muslims, their enrolment is 62.52% at the primary level and 60.55% in upper primary classes. Assam with 30.92% of Muslim population has also done well. Here enrolment in primary schools is 30.42% but comes down significantly in upper primary to stand at 17.39%. Andhra Pradesh has 9.17% Muslim population and enrolment in primary level is 10% and upper primary 9.11%. West Bengal seems to have caught up.

With Muslim population of over 25%, enrolment in primary is 27.92% but comes down to 19.63% in upper primary classes. Kerala has 24.7% Muslim population but enrolment is pathetic - at 10.13% at the primary level and 9.59% in the upper primary level.



Times of India, January 23, 2008