Muslims Education in Gujarat – Myth and reality
Educationally, Muslims are the most deprived community in Gujarat. A mere 26% muslims reach matriculation and a large dropout takes place at about 5th standard. A disturbing trend was noticed in case of education at the level of graduation. Muslims, who had about the same level of education in the past, are found to have been left behind compared even with the SCs/STs. Despite 75% net enrolment, about similar levels compared to other groups, Muslims are deprived at the level of matriculation and higher levels.
The research team, which was headed by Tripathi, a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, highlighted the fact that the four government primary schools in Juhapura area of Ahmedabad and govt. schools are able to enroll only 10 per cent of the children in the locality in the first standard, while there are only four classrooms for every 818 students.
“There is a serious problem of lack of space. The schools are not able to accommodate all the students. Though around 6,000 children are born in Juhapura annually, there are not enough schools to accommodate them in the secondary and higher-secondary levels.
“Inquiries with the Central Government reveal that the Gujarat Government demands 100 per cent funding against the present norm of 75 : 25 Centre-State sharing. The officials in the Ministry of Minority Affairs point out that the Gujarat Government expressed its inability to implement the scheme until 100 per cent grant (against the current Central contribution of 75 per cent) was provided by the Centre.
On the other hand it is the high caste Hindus who have benefited most in the recent years from the public provisioning of higher education, the SCs/STs are catching up and the Muslims are left behind. The disparity in access to higher education is increasing over time. This clearly is an evidence of discrimination in provisioning of higher education access, infrastructure and related services.
To overcome the Muslim deficit in different levels of education, the central government has launched a nationwide scholarship scheme with effect from April 1, 2008. All states have responded favourably, with the only exception of Gujarat which has not implemented even the pre-matric scholarship for minorities. There are 55,000 scholarships allocated to Gujarat of which 53,000 are to be given to deserving Muslims, but Gujarat has not cared to implement this programme.
A senior state bureaucrat admitted that the Gujarat Government believes that the scholarship creates discrimination among non-minority groups, hence it cannot be allowed.