Home Education Educational Status of Muslims In India: Problems & Prospects

Educational Status of Muslims In India: Problems & Prospects


For Muslims being the largest minority of the largest democracy several provisions concerning education of minorities were incorporated in the National Policy of education- 1986 and in its Programme of Action (1990), it was proposed to design varied kind of programs and schemes to modify the madrasah curriculum, minority education and its development. But, the whole efforts might not achieve any significant target for different reasons: lack of incentives, gap between theory and practice, government’s indifferent attitude. But, the fact could not change and Muslims remained backward in educational development. Not only this, the Prime Minister’s 15 Point Programme was issued with guidelines 11 and 12 pertaining to education which could not change the fact but some statistics. The Sachar committee Report (2006) made it quite clear that Muslims are far behind other communities.

The case can be contended by referring to the Sachar committee report on many issues related to the Indian Muslims. The overall literary rate in India has been around 74% for quite some time, the literary rate of Muslims is around 60%. The data later falls down with the increase in the level even at the high school level due to drop out scenario. In general, 26% of those aged 17 years and above have completed matriculation, this percentage is only 17% amongst Muslims.

That Muslim Enrollment ratio was far less than any other community in higher education sector in India is exposed by the official records of government itself. As per the data of All India survey on Higher Education, Muslim student ratio was only 4.9 – 5.0 % in 2017-18 in proportion to their population of 14%. This meager number points to their lack of representation. Community representation among teachers is also nothing short of bad representation. There are only 4.9% teachers from the community in the higher education.

In northern India the average enrollment of  Muslims in Non-minority universities is around 1-3 %, average enrollment of Muslims in Jamia Millia Islamia is 50% and 75% in Aligarh Muslim University (Source: Indian Muslims and Higher Education: A Study of Select Universities in North and South India). In such a scenario, it is deliberate and intentional on the part of Central Government to oppose the Minority status because of the discriminatory perception of the government functionaries to view the Minority Status not as a bridge for educational development of marginalized community but as a university associated with Muslims against which the government is prejudiced and biased.

Centre for Educational Research & Training (CERT) studied 34 universities of India in which 63,325 Muslim students are pursuing their education out of total 9,15,806 students. It is noticed that as per the data of All India survey on Higher Education, Muslim student ratio was only 4.9% in 2016-17, vast section of Muslim populace remains illiterate due to lack of facilities for primary and secondary education.

The Educational backwardness of the Muslim community in India has been established and highlighted by a number of officials report such as the Gopal Singh Minority Panel Report, the reports of the 43rd Round and the 55th Round of the National Sample Survey, and the programme of action under the New Education Policy (1986) and NEP revised (1992) and Sachar (2006). The various schemes launched by government to ameliorate the economic and educational condition of Muslims have remained mostly on papers, the benefits of various government schemes, aimed at improving the socio-economic condition of the weaker sections of society, have not accrued to Muslims in any significant measure. Many schemes did not succeed, but that should not deter us from continuing the endeavor.

We demand the government to take steps to ensure fair representation of student who belongs to marginal communities considering the facts of AISHE 2017 – 2018 set up by Ministry of Human Resource Department.


Based on 2001 census data, a directory of 90 Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs) in India has been prepared by the previous Government.  In the latest list of 20 most backward districts in the country released by Niti Aayog in the month of March, 2018 eleven are minority-concentration districts.

One of the best examples is Mewat (India’s Most Backward district)

Mewat region lingered underdeveloped still after India’s independence and the creation of Haryana state in 1966. The agricultural opulence of Mewat region during 1980 was rich. Paradoxically, the proximity to the national capital made Gurgaon District a new millennium hub as an industrial centre in the 1990’s. The areas which were demarcated for Mewat district from Gurgaon (Gurugram) in 2005 remained agriculturally and industrially backward. It lacked vital infrastructure such as education, health, basic amenities viz. railway links for the development of transport and commerce. According to 2011 Census, Mewat district had total population of 1,089263. 88.61 % percent of its population is rural and just about 11.39 % per cent is urban.  Muslims account for 79.20 % per cent of the total. The total literacy rate is 54.08%, gender wise, male and female literacy were 69.94 and 36.60 respectively. The Muslims living in Mewat district are called Meo. They are listed under the OBC category which means they are recognized as part of the backward class communities. 493 primary schools exist in the district but only 45 high schools are there, approximately 80% Muslim concentration district has 352 sanctioned positions for Sanskrit, 116 for Hindi and 03 for Urdu. A report claims that out of 162,000 students registered in primary schools, 48,000 reached class 8 and only 12,000 passed class 10 in the year 2015. The district is also lacking in educational infrastructure. It has 3 colleges and only one polytechnic and 7 ITI/VEI which reveals the precarious situation of educational facilities. Primary schools exist in 78.14 per cent of the villages, but there is a short fall of Middle, High School and Senior Secondary Schools which is 9.30, 6.91 & 3.77 per cent respectively. Therefore girls formal education suffers from neglect. The girls belonging to Muslim communities prefer to go to Madarasas and not to high schools which are not located in the villages. Mewat has 77 Madarasas, 18 of them are common for boys and girls.

CERT opines that a 72 year old Independent India has miserably failed to provide the easy access and quality education to all. Owing to this, there are still some districts where people are deprived of education and thus economically disadvantaged, socially crippled and politically under-represented. This lack of education is responsible for many problems they are facing in day-to-day life.

In pre-school, out of school, drop out at higher education, according to NSSO, NUEPA, UNICEF and various reports, ‘Muslims are at ladder at each level of education, educationally backward’, it should be included and addressed without which India should not be knowledge society. Nonexistence of Pre-schools, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas in minority concentrated areas; non availability of trained staff in respective medium is a big challenge. Major gaps in quality of Govt. – Private; Urban- rural, English- Hindi/Regional language / Urdu schools is a challenge in education system. Under Teacher Development, Training modules, material in regional languages, Urdu is not available or it is not up to the mark. Three centres of MHRD for Professional Development of Urdu Medium Teachers do not fulfill the requirement at national level. With a framework for providing quality education to the weaker sections in society, as part of PoA, NEP 1992, Human Resource Development Ministry has approved setting up of Block Institutes of Teachers Education (BITE) in 196 districts in 2013, less than 25 BITEs are established and functional as planned in minority areas. The NEP draft acknowledges greater and focused attention for SC, ST and Muslim students to curb high rate of Out Of School Children, but it miserably fails in suggesting any policy initiative in this regard. GER in Higher Education for general, SC, ST categories, but for Muslims which is again very low as compared to national average, greater and focused initiatives for GER improvement of Muslims in higher education is urgently needed. The findings of National Achievement Survey (NAS) for general, SC, ST, OBCs is mentioned in the NEP draft as challenge, neglecting for Muslims which is again worst. It requires special measures for their betterment.

It is a fact that all minorities in India are not educationally backward, only Muslims are (see India human development report of Niti Aayog, current MHRD annual report on education, and NSSO report). The 1986 policy was sensitive about minorities. NPE 1986 considered their education which proves its sensitivity towards a human rights perspective. The Govt. reports have accepted Muslims as ‘educationally most backward’. Muslims SC and ST constitute more than one third population of India; Govt. is silent on the educational issues of these communities. How can we dream of India to become a Super Power if one third population is devoid of quality education? But most unfortunately, NEP 2016 didn’t mention any such initiatives for educationally backward classes of this country. Can a country become superpower, when its more than one third population is illiterate or mal-literate?

Although, Indian Constitution under Part III, Fundamental Rights 15.(4) Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. 15.(5) Nothing in this article or in sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of article 19 shall prevent the State from making any special provision, by law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in so far as such special provisions relate to their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of article 30.

In the press conference held today at Press Club of India, the CERT has put forth the following demands before the government:

Establish AMU Off Campus Centres in Minority Concentrated Districts

Develop all the Primary & High Schools on the pattern of Kendriya Vidyalaya in all the blocks

Provide Scholarship to 11th and 12th standard students

Run Education Awareness campaigns in all blocks

Establish Colleges & Higher educational institutions in all blocks

Give admission to the Madrasa pass outs in Colleges & Universities on the pattern of AMU

Fill the vacant teaching positions in schools and sanction more teaching positions

We also demand Government to establish Kendriya Vidyalaya Model schools in all the minority concentrated areas with 50% reservation to minorities and also establish University with Minority status in all the Districts. Provide Scholarships and Tuition Fee Free facilities to all the enrolled students.

Maulana Azad National Fellowships for Minorities

It is strongly urged that, this Fellowship Scheme must be implemented with increased budget at par catering at least 3000 minority students each year for M.Phil. & Ph.D.

National Overseas Scholarship Scheme for Minorities

National Overseas Scholarship (Karnataka Model) should be implemented so that minority students can also go abroad for better, advanced educational and professional courses and research (Rs. 20 Lakh to each student).


  1. Very critacaly stage in indian muslim educational standred very lo and goverment.emoply and higher education is low how can up this report

  2. Feeling sorry to see the report.Muslims are being pushed back by the govenment as well as Molanas..
    We must make them progressive in higher education. They are much laborious , they always sacrifice them for thier beloved country India.

  3. We must do something in India for the deprived community and we know this govt is not going to entertain us on this matter so the responsibility of this should be taken by us so that we could uplift our community so the each and every individual should take the responsibility of this at least we could aware our brothers and sisters and the most necessary things is that we should add new syllabus in our madarsa apart from the Hadith and quran shareef . As my first preference is also Hadith and quran but to be a elite in society we must study the thing which could make us leader rather than the follower .

    • As per the rough estimates Muslim Waqf board has huge properties across the country that runs into lakhs of crores .These properties can be acquired for establishing educational institutions, colleges and universities . This is the only way through which
      Education can be promoted among Muslims.For this to happen a noble intention is required which is Unfortunately missing.My intention is not to create frustration in an already frustrating educational situation among Muslims. But, the truth is that education has been very low on list of priorities of Muslim leadership with few
      exceptions like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad,Dr Rafik zakeria.I think I must also put on record the over obsession with religion and aversion to Modernism is also one of major reason why we as Muslims are lagging behind in Education.

  4. We should make education a foremost priority on each Friday day sermon.Teachers and educationist should train Imam of Mosques about the relevance and significance of education in 21st century and request them to sensitise and persuade Namazis regarding importance of Modern education.I think social activists should launch community out reach programme regarding awareness about education by visiting Muslim Mohallas ,colonies and localities.nowadays ladies ijtema is quite common among Muslims that can be a platform wherein women can be persuaded and enlightened about the benefits of education. promotional campaign like role plays,symposia,advertising can also be used create awakening about education.
    Muslim elites should come down from the ivory tower and contribute in spreading awareness about education among poor Muslims.Student volunteers from colleges , universities and other educational institutions can make huge contributions in creating awareness about education among poor and Pasmanda Muslims.Education is the key that can change the world.

  5. Muslims have the highest number of illiterates — nearly 43 percent of their population — while Jains have the highest number of literates among India’s religious communities with over 86 percent of them educated.Sep 1, 2016
    Education for a child begins at home. It is a lifelong process that ends with death.
    Education provides stability & strength in life, and it’s something that no one can ever take away from you.
    It is high time for educated, well to do and capable Muslims to realise and start investing in educating our Ummah. Each and every one of us is equally responsible. We cannot simply depend upon the Government to uplift this sector. We need to run educational awareness campaigns on war footings. No need to wait for others, start doing it within our own locality, neighbourhood and cities, in what ever capacity we have. Our kids and youth need our guidance, support and care. Please extend your support, before it becomes too late..before history and future generations blame us. May Allah guide us, help us contribute to our Ummah and reward us.

  6. The suggestion of using the enormous property and other resources of waqf board for setting up educational institutions including vocational training is very constructive. Muslim community must realise that it has lagged in development due to poor educational level and only way to break itself free from shackles of poverty and backwardness is by embracing education and modernity.