Government's various initiatives for minorities seem
to be paying dividend, with Muslim enrolment in
schools -- for long a source of deep concern --
beginning to grow slowly but steadily.
The latest figures, part of National University of
Educational Planning and Education's statistics, to
be released shortly, shows that both in primary and
upper primary level, Muslim enrolment has improved.
Though it is early, a definite improvement can be
seen in north Indian states.
Data collected from 1.29 million recognised
elementary schools in 633 districts revealed a total
enrolment of 14.83 million Muslim children in
primary classes in 2008-09, which is 11.03% of the
total 134.38 million enrolment in primary (I to V)
classes. During the pervious year, the same was
10.49% and in 2006-07, it was 9.39%. Of the total
Muslim enrolment in primary classes, the percentage
of Muslim girls was 48.93%, similar to the share of
girls in overall primary enrolment (48.38%).
Bihar continued to be among the performing states
while Karnataka showed slow decline in Muslim
enrolment, both at primary and upper primary level.
Kerala remained the undisputed leader as it showed
big improvement in enrolment both at primary and
upper primary level.
Remarkably, the percentage of Muslim girls to total
Muslim enrolment in upper primary classes is 50.03%,
which is above the national average of 47.58%.
The highest percentage of Muslim enrolment was
observed in Lakshadweep (99.73%) mainly due to the
fact that the percentage of Muslim population to
total population in the Union Territory in 2001 was
as high as 95.47%. In Bihar, Muslim enrolment at
primary level improved from 11.27% in 2007-08 to
12.96% in 2008-09. Even Assam showed a big
improvement: from 31.94% in 2007-08 to 35.08% in
2008-09. Decline was most evident in Karnataka: from
15.06% to 14.67%. In Kerala, enrolment went up to
26.22% from 21.49% in 2007-08.
Enrolment in upper primary classes also improved to
9.13% in 2008-09 from 8.54% in 2007-08 and 7.52% in
2006-07. Of the total 53.35 million enrolment in
upper primary classes in the country in 2008-09,
Muslim enrolment was 4.87 million. In Bihar, upper
primary enrolement of Muslims improved from 8.22% in
2007-08 to 10.35% in 2008-09. Decline in Karnataka
was more perceptible: from 16.73% to 13.81%.
The data also revealed a share of 10.49% Muslim
enrolment in elementary classes (I to VIII) of which
49.20% were Muslim girls (to total Muslim
Preliminary enrolment data for the year 2008-09 also
revealed that there were certain pockets in the
country with high percentage of Muslim enrolment.
There were about 87,690 schools with more than 25%
Muslim enrolment (to total enrolment in elementary
classes) which was 6.84% of the total schools that
imparted elementary education in the country.
Similarly, 62,534 (4.88%) schools had above 50%
Muslim enrolment as compared to 48,946 schools
(3.82%) having 75% and above and 41,300 schools
(3.22%) even having a share of 90% and above Muslim
enrolment to total enrolment.
Because of the high share of Muslim population to
total population in J&K, 12 districts of the state
had above 90% Muslim enrolment in 2008-09 in primary
classes which was also true for enrolment in upper
primary classes. On the other hand, 25 districts in
the country had more than 50% Muslim enrolment in
primary classes in 2008-09 compared to 20 such
districts in case of upper primary enrolment.
Fifteen districts of J&K, one each in Bihar, West
Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Lakshadweep and Kerala and
five districts of Assam had more than 50% Muslim
enrolment in primary classes.