To bring Muslim girls into the mainstream, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday suggested “widening of access” to them in professional education, including medical and engineering courses.
"Widening of access of the Muslim girls in professional education, particularly medical and engineering courses, should be priority area of educational programmes,” Manmohan Singh said at the annual conference of the State Minorities Commissions.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the main factor responsible for socio-economic backwardness of the minorities, particularly Muslims, was the lack of access to the common school system.
“This is particularly true in the case of Muslim girls," he noted. “During the current plan period and the next plan period, we must therefore ensure that concrete schemes for setting up of secondary and higher secondary schools in the blocks and districts having predominantly Muslim population are indeed implemented with a sharper focus on the needs of the Muslim girls," he said.
According to Firoz Bakht Ahmed, a community worker, only 17 per cent of Muslim women in the country are educated and only nine per cent gets a job. “Out 100 Muslim girls admitted to primary schools, only two per cent reach universities," Ahmed said.