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Problems of Muslim Community Education in India & Its Remedies Dr. Md. Afsar Ali Assistant Professor in B. Ed. (Physical Science) Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose College, 1/1B, A. J. C. Bose Road, Kolkata – 700020, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgAbstract : In all the stages of education Muslim community’s representation is far below their population percentage.This is even below the level of Hindu-OBC’s. Their representation is even very negligible in education services.The community has less enrolment, high dropout and microscopic entry in the elite higher educationalinstitutions. Poverty plays a vital role here, although other factors including non-availability of schools withineasy reach, absence of girls’ hostels, cultural aggression by the dominant community, biasness in curriculum,etc. also found to be operative. The need of the hour is to establish an effective link between the Madrasaeducation and the modern education, so that the Muslim community can be brought at the level of other SocioReligious Categories (SRCs).Introduction: God has created human beings and has given unending resources in the nature, for their sustenance. They areto know / acquire the necessary skills / techniques to have access to these materials of sustenance. Not only theresources, He has also shown us the proper paths and methods in order to have peaceful, dignified living. Thisprocess of acquiring right type of knowledge or techniques for the sake of self-sustenance among others withpeace and honour is known as Education. God also has commanded us to acquire proper education on a prioritybasis. His first commandment to His last messenger, Muhammad (S) was, “Read in the name of your Lord.” (1)Here one thing is very important, - the God in His first important message to the mankind does not order them toworship Him, nor to make sacrifice before Him, nor other things like that; but He commands us to read, toknow, to explore the materials and means of sustenance gifted to us in the form of ‘nature’ and also to cultivate,to spread the path of peace and dignity in the society. So, education is of topmost priority in Islam and hence tothe Muslims. If people would have obeyed God’s commandment, at least the very first word - ‘read’, there hadnot been any want of sustenance for them, nor had there been any problem regarding peace and honour. But unfortunately, the situation today is very disgusting particularly to the Muslims, the ‘followers’ of Islam.All the reports, including Government as well as non-Government one, reveal that the Muslim Community inIndia is the most backward in terms of education, socio-economic status, etc. [Sachar & Mishra Committee].This is contrary to the expectation. This means that the matter is not that as it appears to be. There must be someproblems regarding the Muslim Community education in India. As we know, that no nation can prosper with itsmasses as uneducated and backward, so, the problem of Muslim Community education in our country should beidentified, and promptly and properly be addressed – for the interest of the whole nation.Discussion: In order to throw some light on the topic, one has to assess the prevailing condition of the MuslimCommunity in terms of education and then to find out the problems responsible for this condition, as well as tosuggest the effective measures in order to overcome this state.Page 1 of 6
Present State: Even after 65 years of independence our performance in education, the most important base of nation building, is astonishingly neglected. In literacy ranking India stands 134th (74.04% literacy) out of the 179 countries in the world!(2) Muslim literacy is only 67.6%(3). Whereas, small countries like Georgia and Cuba, who achieved independence much after India, have acquired almost cent per cent literacy. Georgia stands first with 100% literacy, whereas Cuba with 99.9% literacy occupied the second position. On the other hand, China with huge population is in double better position (68th rank, 95.9% literacy) compared to ours.(2) Out of the total (4) enrolment in class I, in our country only 5.7% reaches up to class XI . According to Government reports (Sachar Committee, Mishra Committee, etc.), the condition of Muslim population is of much concern in this regard. Union Human Resources Development Minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal has acknowledged that minority- dominated districts of Malda and Murshidabad have the highest dropout rates in the State, and Malda stood at 10.5 per cent —maximum in the state. (5) According to Hon’ble Justice Rajindar Sachar, “As many as 25 per cent of Muslim children in the 6-14 year age group have either never attended school or have dropped out”(6). Muslim Enrolment in Elementary Education in India is shown below: (Data collected from more than 1.28 million recognized schools in India.) (8),(9), (10) Year 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11(7) Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class (I-V) (VI-VIII) (I –V) (VI-VIII) (I-V) (VI-VIII) (I –V) (VI-VIII) (I-V) (VI-VIII) % of Muslim 9.39 7.52 10.49 8.54 11.03 9.13 13.04 11.47 13.04 11.25 enrolment% of Muslim girls - - - - - - 48.89 50.03 enrolment Overall girls % - - - - - - 48.44 47.58 enrolled Total Muslim - - - - - - 17.17 6.20 enrolment (million)Overall enrolment - - - - - - 131.72 54.02 135.2 57.8 (million) Overall Muslim - - - % enrolment 12.58 Overall Muslim - -girls % enrolment 49.20 State wise data also show a general trend of increase in Muslim enrolment (except Andhra Pradesh). The increase is almost three fold in Karnataka State from the year 2008-09 to 2009-10, at both the Lower Primary and Upper Primary Levels; although a slight downfall was observed in the preceding year. Similarly, in Kerala a sharp increase was noted(11). Similar trend was there in Lakshadweep, J&K, etc. % % Muslim Enrolment Muslim Lower Primary Level Upper Primary Level Elementary Level State/UT (Class I to V) (VI-VIII) (Class I to VIII) 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2008-09 2009-10 Total A.P. 9.17 10.51 10.79 8.99 9.45 10.07 8.13 10.55 8.70 944379 Gujarat 9.06 4.57 4.73 6.45 4.52 4.75 6.44 4.74 6.45 504031 J&K 66.97 59.29 66.42 67.80 58.22 63.96 65.14 65.62 66.9 1320192 Page 2 of 6
Karnataka 12.23 15.06 14.67 35.52 16.73 13.81 37.13 14.42 35.99 2748170Kerala 24.70 21.49 26.22 33.24 19.09 21.98 29.23 24.51 31.61 1060733W.B. 25.25 28.13 28.28 30.03 18.91 20.08 22.59 25.79 27.68 3507164In higher education the scenario is alarming. Community wise Graduates as per proportion of population by age group. All India 2004-05 : Age Gr. Hindu Muslims Other (In year) Gen. OBCs SCs/STs Communities 20-30 18.6 6.5 3.3 4.5 11.6 30-40 16.8 4.6 2.3 3.3 9.2 40-50 14.6 3.2 1.5 2.8 8.1 51 & Above 9.8 1.9 0.9 2.1 5.7 Total 15.3 4.4 2.2 3.4 8.9Source: Sachar Committee Report (2006), p.67. In premier colleges only one out of 25 under-graduate students and one out of 50 post-graduatestudents is a Muslim. (12). Here is an illustration of the data provided by the Govt. of West Bengal in response tothe RTI application filed by Social Activist Sabir Ahamed in 2009 : Calcutta University Jadavpur University Higher Higher Student Student Education Education Teacher Teacher UG PG Male Female Departments Directorates 2,72,00 346Total No. - 592 4600 1600 524 - 0Muslim 13,138 656 19 27 6 6 - 8 No.Muslim 4.83 5.93 3.2 0.58 0.37 1.14 2.83 2.31 %Vidyasagar and Kalyani University did not furnish any data on this. According to the Govt., the situation ismore or less same in all over India. UGC maintained that the GRE for Muslim is half of national average.(13)In the elite IIMs and IITs, Muslim students constitute only 1.3% and 1.7%, respectively.(14) They have lessaccess to education than other religious groups. School enrollment among urban Muslim boys is only 80%, ascompared with 90% of SC/ST boys. Only 68% of Muslim girls attend schools, while the figures for Dalit &non-Dalit girls are 72% and 80%, respectively.(14) Year Muslim Literacy National Literacy Male Female Average Male Female Average 2001 67.6% 50.1% 59.1% 75.3% 53.7% 64.8% 2011 74.9% 50.3% 67.6% 82.14% 65.46% 74.04%According to Premji (2011),– Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa andTamil Nadu; both Muslim males and females have got better literacy rate than other communities(3).Page 3 of 6
Problems & Suggestions for Remedy : Education is training for real life. So, this training should be consistent with the real life of the children.Children’s real life is guided by the values, belief system, etc. of their community. So, education should becompatible with the social, ethical and moral value systems of the society. If, this is not ensured, then there willbe conflict between the education system and society, which is harmful to both of them. This conflict hasoccurred after the ouster of Muslim rule in India by the British regime. New pattern of life, value & beliefsystem set by the British education system proved to be antagonistic with the Muslim ways of life and overallsocial pattern. This confrontation harmed the Muslim community education in India in a great way. Theybecame averse to Govt. sponsored education and tried hard to ‘maintain’ it’s Islamic identity in the field ofeducation by sticking to society managed Madrasa (Moktab) education. These Moktabs cater mainly religiouseducation with very low paid Moulovis (teachers). These poor people neither can afford the cost of moderneducation in their Moktabs, nor can purchase it from other institutions. They even can’t bear to let their wardsout of physical labour and be in school, as it put their family at the risk of sustenance. The Govt.acknowledges(12) that the monthly Per Capita Expenditure of Muslims is much lower than the national average,and the benefits of entitlements meant for the backward classes are yet to reach Muslim OBCs. The condition ofMuslims in general is also lower than the Hindu-OBCs who have the benefit of reservations. Unemploymentrate among Muslim graduates is the highest among all socio-religious communities. This is in consistence withthe findings of Sachar Committee that the Muslim enrolment is the lowest (80%) compared to other SocioReligious Categories (For SC/ST it is 90%).(14) More than 77% of Indian earn less than Rs.20/- per day per head.(15) As the Muslims in general are the mostdeprived, their actual percentage, in this regard will be much higher. So, according to Agarwal (2006), 27%children never attend school due to too much costs of education. Approx. 24% dropouts are due to the fact thatthese children were required for work at home or outside for cash / kind. Near about 14% dropouts were for thereason of too much educational costs(16). Maithly B and Saxena V (2008) reported that 34% adolescents were (17)found to have dropped from school due to financial difficulties . Premji (2004) revealed that the socio–economic conditions and social inequalities of caste, class and gender are the major causes of educationaldeprivation in India (18). Muslim community children become victim of acute poverty even before their birth. As per theacknowledgement of our Prime Minister(19), 42% children are born as underweight! The Muslim and SC/SThouseholds generally have worse nutrition indicators than the general population. How one can expect thesechildren even to survive (keep aside education) in this highly competitive world? Due to this feminine level ofpoverty -“Expansion of educational opportunities since Independence has not led to a convergence of (20)attainment levels between Muslims and ‘All Others’” Even the setting up of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayasin rural areas failed to produce desired result in this direction. (21) On the other hand Moktab degrees do not find validity either in continuing education in other institutions, orin the employment market. A stagnant situation is created. If, education is all-round development, then this mustfocus the development of all aspects of human life and society. These are - intelligence, activity, religion,humanity, etc. Our Maktabs are providing religious and humanity education; whereas, the modern schools arecatering intelligence and activity oriented education only. They are working as two parallel lines of the railwaytract, who never meet. But they must meet. Otherwise, there will be incomplete education and the ‘educated’Page 4 of 6
individual will be of incomplete personality, - a confused lot. Such person is susceptible to create more harm tothe society and self than benefit. Our society is already reaping the ‘fruits’ of our such skewed education system.We are the fourth most corrupt country in the world today.(22) Morality, value system, fellow-feeling, etc., allaspects of humanity are crying. Although, almost all the education commissions have recommendedintroduction of value and religious education, but the authorities did not pay heed to this. Muslim community asa whole is more practicing religious than any other community in the world. So, in general, they are not ready tocompromise with their religious values, beliefs, etc. Hence, modern education should be combined with thereligious education to achieve the aim of education. The clash between the education system and the community is continuing even today. Since the secondquarter of 20th century in India, the Urdu language has been unfortunately identified with the religion of Islam (12)and hence started the neglect. At present, there is dearth of facilities for teaching Urdu . This gave a greatblow to the community’s advancement. Attitude of Muslim Community towards modern Education is not negative. They like to send their childrento affordable Government schools. But a number of factors, including monetary factor, non-availability ofschools within easy reach, absence of girls’ hostels and community teachers, cultural aggression by thedominant community, biasness in curriculum, etc. force them to have a second thought on the matter. As aresult, access to modern schools for Muslim children is limited. (12)Observations which could help to solve the problem - The Presidential Order of 1950 which is inconsistent with Article 14, 15, 16 and 25 of the Constitution that guarantees equality of opportunity, freedom of conscience and protect the citizens from discrimination by the State on grounds of religion, caste or creed, should be revoked. (23) Alternate admission criteria should be evolved to facilitate admissions to the minorities in all educational institutions. Providing hostel facilities at reasonable costs for students from minorities. The community should be represented on interview Boards. The states should pay equal attention to Urdu medium schools. Madrasas education should be linked with the modern education system, so that students can shift to the later after completing the former. As artisanship is a dominant activity among Muslims, skill development initiatives should be undertaken for those who could not continue education (22)Conclusion : “Relative deprivation in education of Muslims vis-à-vis other SRCs calls for a significant shift in the policyof the State, …. The data clearly indicates that the educational status of the Muslim community in particular is amatter of great concern” (14),(23.) This situation is not created in a day, it took a long period of time. And duringthis period, the society has slowly developed a lackadaisical attitude towards the problem, where many are noteven ready to recognize this community’s problem as a problem at all. But if, this one-fifth (approx.) of ourpopulation is lagging behind, then how the country can prosper? In the words of Rabindra Nath Tagore, “theyare pulling you back, whom you are pushing back”. Hence, every section of the society, including the Muslimcommunity should be facilitated so that all can contribute to the national progress and march forward together.Page 5 of 6
References :1. The Holy Qur’an, Ch.96, V.1-5.2. UNESCO Report (2007), United Nations Development Program 2009, p.171, retrieved from http://www.wikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia.mht, on 19th Sept. 2011 at 7:00 am.3. Mahendra K. Premi.(2011) Population of India in New Millennium: Census 2001, Muslim Literacy Rise in 7States, Radiance, 22 Feb.2012, retrieved from http://www.radianceweekly.com/49/225/dalit-muslim-alliance-congress-move-may-backfire/2007-01-07/inside-india/story-detail/muslim-literacy-rise-in-7-states.html, on22.2.12 at 9:10pm4. Selected Educational Statistics 2005-06, MHRD, IMaCS Analysis; retrieved on 10th Sept.2011 at from 7:45 am, from http://www.nsdcindia.org/pdf/education-skill- development.pdf.5. Number of school dropouts stays the same as governments spend crores, Indian Express, 29 Sep. 2011, retrieved from http://www.indianexpress.com/news/number-of-school- dropouts-stays-the-same-as/569948/, on 5th Oct. 2011 at 6:00 am.6. Sachar Committee Report, p.587. Akshaya Mukul (2012), School enrolment go up, The Times of India, Jan.19, retrieved from.http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-01-19/india/30642390_1_enrolment-primary-schools-primary-level, on 22.2.12 at 9:30pm8. Syed Amir Jafri (2002), Post-Sachar Muslim enrolment soars, The Times of India, Hydrabad, 8 Jan, retrievedfrom - http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-01-08/hyderabad/30603887_1_enrolment-muslim-children-post-sachar-committee, on 20.2.2012 at 11:30 am.9. Elementary Education in India: Progress towards UEE, DISE Flash Statistics: 2008-09 NUEPA, New Delhi(January 22, 2010), retrieved from - http://www.educationforallinindia.com/Flash2008-09Analysis22012010.pdf, on 20.2.2012 at 7:00 pm.10.School Enrolment of Muslim Children Improves, Outlook India.com, New Delhi, Jan 22, 2010; retrievedfrom http://schoolreportcards.in/Media/m104.html, on 20.2.2012 at 10:30 am11. Syed Shahabuddin (2010), Rise of Indian Muslims in Elementary Education, The Milli Gazette, 1-15 Oct.retrieved from http://www.milligazette.com/news/142-rise-of-indian-muslims-in-elementary-education, on20.2.2012 at 7:10 pm.12. Reports about Indian Muslims, National Sample Survey Organisation Ministry of Statistics & ProgrammeImplementation, Government of India, September 2001, retrieved fromhttp://www.indianmuslims.info/book/export/html/46 on 20.2.2012 at 10:45am13. Shiv Sahay Singh (2009), Muslim presence a rarity in Universities, The Indian Express, Apr.13,retrievedfrom, http://www.indianexpress.com/news/muslim-presence-a-rarity-in-universities/446331/0, on 20.2.2012 at8:00 pm.14. Deepal Jayasekera (2006), Government report concedes India’s Muslims are a socially deprived, victimizedminority, ‘World Socialist Web Site’, Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International(ICFI), 30 December, retrieved from http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/dec2006/indi-d30.shtml, at 11:00pm15. National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS), retrieved fromhttp://reuters.com, on 10th August, 11 at 10:00 am16. Agarwal A (2006), Quantifying reasons for non-enrolment and dropout, National Family Health Survey(1998-99), The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.17. Maithly B and Saxena V (2008), Adolescents Educational Status and Reasons for Dropout from the School,Indian J Community Med. 2008 April; 33, vol. 2, pp. 127–128.18. Premji A (2004), The Social Context of Elementary Education in Rural India, retrieved fromhttp://www.azimpremjifoundation.org/pdf/TheSocialContextofElementaryEductaioninRuralIndia.pdf., on 5thOct. 2011 at 6;00 am.19. Malnutrition : PM calls it a shame, The Statesman, 11 January 2012, p.1.20. Sachar Committee Report, p.6021. Sachar Committee Report, p.6322. The Milli Gazette, 16-30 April 201123. Sachar Committee Report, p.84 __________________Page 6 of 6