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The State of Muslim Education in India: A Data Driven Analysis by Prof. Arun C Mehta based on UDISEPlus & AISHE (2023)

Education is vital for promoting equality and social justice. By examining the educational experiences of  Muslims, we can ensure that all students, regardless of their religious background, have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Muslims face several challenges in India, including poverty and limited access to quality education. Analyzing the education of Muslims allows us to understand these obstacles better and develop effective policies and programs to address them. We can also learn from the successes and failures of different educational initiatives, ultimately improving the quality of education for all students, irrespective of their religion. This endeavor contributes to building a more just and equitable society for everyone.

This article delves into available data concerning school and higher education in India, explicitly focusing on Muslims. It computes various indicators falling under the different components of Universal School Education, which were not previously considered for the Muslim population. The study highlights the limitations of data on the education of Muslims in India, including indicators such as gross enrollment ratio, dropout and retention rates, gender parity index, and the share of Muslims in total enrollment at different levels of education. In addition, Muslim enrolment, GPI, and GER at higher education levels are also analyzed. The findings provide valuable insights into Muslim education in India.

Additionally, the article analyzes the share and patterns of the Muslim population based on census data from 1951 to 2011. The share of Muslims in the total population has remained relatively stable over the years, accounting for 14.23 percent in 2011. However, a lack of data on the Muslim child population hinders the computation of enrollment-based indicators for Muslim students at various education levels.

Media Coverage of  The State of the Muslim Education in India by Arun C Mehta (November 2023)

The main challenge in studying Muslim education is the limited availability of relevant data. Efforts have been recommended to establish an autonomous National Data Bank (NDB) to address this issue, but it is yet to become fully operational. The most comprehensive data on Muslim education comes from the Unified District Information System and the All India Survey on Higher Education. However, some crucial indicators, such as enrollment ratio, flow rates, dropout, and retention rates, are still unavailable in these sources.

Moreover, there is no data source in India collecting information on Muslim enrollment by age, making it impossible to calculate essential indicators like net enrollment ratio, adjusted NER, and age-specific enrollment ratios for Muslims. This dearth of data hampers the development of effective policies and programs to improve the educational attainment of Muslims. The Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education must collaborate with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to include projections of the Muslim population in the next Expert Committee on Population Projections. Extending the coverage of UDISEPlus to collect Muslim enrollment by age and relevant enrollment ratios, transition, and dropout rates in future publications based on UDISEPlus & AISHE data would also aid in addressing this data gap.
Gender skew in schoolkids lower among Muslims Times of India 12th November 2023

Regarding school education, the data shows progress in the enrollment of Muslim students, particularly girls, at primary, upper primary, and elementary levels over the past four years. However, there remains a gender gap that requires attention to ensure equal opportunities for Muslim boys and girls in schools. Concerted efforts are needed to improve access to and retention of Muslim girls in schools, considering socio-economic factors, cultural beliefs, and other barriers.

In higher education, there has been some improvement in Muslim enrollment, but it still falls below the national average, with variations across different states. Financial constraints, limited access to quality education, and socio-cultural influences contribute to the lower enrollment ratio. However, positive trends, such as increasing gender parity in Muslim enrollment, indicate some progress. Nevertheless, more work is required to provide all Muslim students with opportunities to pursue higher education. In conclusion, challenges persist despite improving Muslim students’ education at school and higher levels. Addressing these challenges requires tackling issues like poverty, improving access to quality
schools, providing financial assistance to Muslim families, and raising awareness about the importance of education within Muslim communities. By taking these steps, we can create a more just and equitable society where all students, regardless of religion, can achieve their full potential.

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Frequently Asked Questions based on The Status of Muslim Education by Arun C Mehta

  1. What is the current status of Muslim education in India?
    • Answer: The report provides a detailed analysis of Muslim education in India based on data from UDISE+ and AISHE. It covers enrolment rates, retention rates, dropout rates, and educational attainment levels among Muslim students.
  2. How is the Muslim population in India compare to the total population, and what are the growth trends?
    • Answer: The report highlights the percentage of the Muslim population in India compared to the total population and discusses the growth rates over the years. This data provides insights into the demographic trends of the Muslim community in India.
  3. What are the critical challenges faced by Muslim students in accessing education in India?
    • Answer: The report sheds light on the challenges faced by Muslim students in accessing quality education, including issues related to enrolment, retention, dropout rates, infrastructure, teacher availability, and socio-economic factors impacting educational outcomes.
  4. How do state-wise variations impact Muslim education outcomes in India?
    • Answer: The report delves into state-wise variations in Muslim enrolment at different education levels, highlighting disparities in educational access and outcomes across various regions. It discusses the importance of addressing these variations to ensure equitable education for Muslim students.
  5. What recommendations are proposed in the report to improve Muslim education in India?
    • Answer: The report likely includes recommendations to enhance educational opportunities for Muslim students, such as policy interventions, infrastructure development, teacher training programs, community engagement initiatives, and efforts to address socio-economic barriers to education.
  6. How has the percentage of the Muslim population in India changed from 1951 to 2011?
    • Answer: The PDF file provides data on the percentage of the Muslim population in India from 1951 to 2011, showcasing the demographic shifts over the decades and highlighting the growth trends of the Muslim community within the country.
  7. Which states in India have a higher Muslim population concentration than the national average?
    • Answer: The report mentions states where the percentage of the Muslim population is significantly higher than the national average, such as undivided Jammu & Kashmir, the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, West Bengal, and others, providing insights into regional variations in Muslim population distribution.
  8. What was the total Muslim population in India as per the 2011 Census, and how does it compare to the overall population growth rate?
    • Answer: The PDF file presents the total Muslim population in India as of the 2011 Census, highlighting the proportion of Muslims within the country’s demographic landscape and comparing their population growth rate to the overall population growth rate during the same period.
  9. Has there been parity in educational attainment between Muslims and other minority segments in India?
    • Answer: The report written by Prof. Arun C Mehta indicates that Muslims in India have not achieved parity with other minority segments in terms of education, suggesting disparities in educational outcomes and emphasising the need for targeted interventions to tackle educational inequalities among different religious groups.
  10. How has the Muslim population growth rate compared to the Hindu population growth rate in India from 1951 to 2011?
    • Answer: The PDF file provides insights into the growth rates of the Muslim population compared to the Hindu population in India from 1951 to 2011, highlighting the demographic changes and trends within these religious communities.