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Muslims worse off than STs

The ratio of Muslims enrolled in a formal education system to those pursing higher education in India is lowest among all communities, including the STs, considered most backward, says the NSSO report released on Wednesday.

india Updated: May 19, 2010 23:48 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Muslims continue to remain the country’s most backward community on the educational front.

The ratio of Muslims enrolled in a formal education system to those pursing higher education in India is lowest among all communities, including the Scheduled Tribes (STs), considered most backward, says the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) report released on Wednesday.

Of 100 Muslims in the education system, just 10 are enrolled in high school and above. Similar ratio for STs is 11, Scheduled Castes (SCs) 12 and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) is 14.

“It is not surprising,” said Tahir Mahmood, member of the Ranganath Mishra Committee, which has asked the government to reserve seats for Muslims in educational institutions and make modern education mandatory part of madarssa education.

“Poverty is a reason for the few Muslims to drop out of schools. Many Muslim families consider sending a child to work better than getting him or her educated. Without government intervention, modern education won’t improve their condition.”

Among all communities — religious and social — the NSSO found Christians to be the best in pursing education, followed by Sikhs and OBCs.

The report also highlighted that the educational disparity among religious groups, especially Muslims, was more in urban areas, which has better educational facilities. Just seven of urban Muslims in the education system were enrolled in high school or above as compared to 12 in rural areas. “It indicates that prejudice against education among urban Muslims was higher,” said Satish Deshpande, a Delhi School of Economics professor.

The data can provide fillip to demand of Muslim groups and parties such the Samajwadi Party and RJD to provide reservation for them in education.

“It is need of the hour as Muslims are going into the worst ebb of deprivation,” Mahmood said.