About 13.5 million children in the age group of 6-13 years in the country are out of school with Muslims being the most affected section of the society, a study by UNESCO has said.
The 'Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2007' released in New Delhi on Wednesday found that the 13.5 million out of school students account for 6.9 per cent of the 6-13 age group children in the country.
Significantly, the rate of out of school children among Muslims was higher at 10 per cent.
The Centre had last year commissioned the Social and Rural Research Institute to estimate and classify those children who were out of schools on the basis of gender and social category.
The report said over 30 per cent of rural Muslim children in Bihar were out of school followed by around 17 per cent in Jharkhand, 13 per cent in Uttar Pradesh and 11 per cent in West Bengal.
Of the 13.5 million children, 7.8 million were between six to ten years old (the official age group for primary school in majority of the states), accounting for 6.1 per cent of the age group.
About 32 per cent of the out-of-school children were reported to have been enrolled but dropped out later, while 68 per cent had never enrolled, the report said.