After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s call for ‘fair share’ to Muslims, the Human Resource Development Ministry has taken the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) route to bring Muslim children under the education fold.
According to figures released by the ministry, only 59.1 per cent Muslims in India are literate as against a national percentage of 65.6 per cent. About 10 per cent of Muslim children have never been to school and the dropout rate among the community is reported to be the highest, even when compared to the weaker sections of society.
In a bid to check these appalling figures, the HRD ministry has already proposed a pre-matric scholarship scheme for Muslims, other backward classes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and the girl child. The proposal, if approved by the Planning Commission, will be implemented from the next financial year. “We want to give incentives to the weaker sections to continue their studies, in a bid to check the high dropout rate among them,” an official said.
Giving details of the steps being taken to improve the lot of Muslim children under the SSA, the HRD ministry said that 6,918 new primary and upper primary schools have been sanctioned in minority-dominated districts during 2006-07. Furthermore, 32,250 centres under the Education Guarantee Scheme, with a total enrollment of 1.2 crore children, have been sanctioned for the same period.
“From 2006 onwards, the category minority (Muslims) is being included in the reporting of enrollment from each school under the District Information System for Education database of the SSA,” the ministry said. Similarly, each state can collect habitation-wise information on out-of-school children for which the Muslim community is being included as a separate category.
Releasing statistics on out-of-school children, the ministry said a total of 7.82 lakh children are out of school in Uttar Pradesh, followed by 6.22 lakh in Bihar and 3.87 lakhs in West Bengal.