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In 2009, more Muslim kids joined school


NEW DELHI: 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 enrolment).

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.


Al-Qura'n Kareem

Hadith Mohammed SAW





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