New Delhi: The enrolment of Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) in higher education improved by 4.2%, 11.9% and 4% while that of the Muslim community declined by 8%, according to the AISHE Survey 2020-21 the Hindu reported.
This unprecedented decline, caused partially by the COVID-19 pandemic, points to the relative economic impoverishment of the community, which forces its talented students to join the employment pool instead of pursuing higher education beginning at the graduation level, the report said.
Uttar Pradesh, where Muslims account for about 20% of the population, performed the worst with a decline of 36%. This was followed by a decline of 26% in Jammu and Kashmir, 8.5% in Maharashtra and 8.1% in Tamil Nadu, the report said.
Muslims’ enrolment rate in UP is a mere 4.5% even though the state reported a significant increase in the number of colleges during the year, the Hindu report said.
Meanwhile, every fifth Muslim student failed to enrol for higher education in the national capital, pointing to a chink in the armour of the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) much talked about improvements in education in Delhi, the report said.
Kerala is the only state where Muslims are not languishing at the bottom of the education pile. Here, 43% Muslims go for higher education, the Hindu reported.
The absence of Muslim students is mirrored by the absence of Muslim teachers in institutes of higher education. At an all-India level, teachers belonging to the General Category account for 56% of all teachers. OBC, SC and ST teachers make up another 32%, 9% and 2.5% of the teachers, respectively. Muslims constitute only about 5.6% of the teachers, the report said.
The survey presents a bright picture of the OBC community, which accounts for 36% of the total enrolment in higher education in the country while the SCs make up another 14%. The two communities cover nearly 50% of the seats in universities and colleges.