According to the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) report 2020-21, States like West Bengal, Telangana and Kerala have bucked the national trend of the number of Muslim students enrolled for higher education.
According to the report, the proportion of Muslim students enrolling for higher education dropped from 5.5% in 2019-20 to 4.6% in 2020-21 in India. In terms of aggregate numbers, the enrolment of Muslim students dropped from 21 lakh in 2019-20 to 19.2 lakh in the subsequent academic year.
In West Bengal, about 2.38 lakh Muslims students enrolled for higher education in the year 2020-21, whereas the number of Muslim students who joined higher education in the year 2019-20 was 2.35 lakh. While the number of male students from Muslim community who enrolled in higher education marginally dropped from 1.11 lakh in the 2019-20 to 1.10 lakh in 2020-21, the number of female Muslim students increased from 1.23 to 1.27 lakh during the same period.
In Telangana, the number of Muslim students enrolled in the year 2020-21 was 1.28 lakh higher than the 1.21 lakh students from the community who had registered in higher education in the year 2019-20. Similarly, Kerala marked an increased in the enrolment of Muslim students from 1.66 lakh in the academic year of 2019-20 to 1.70 lakh in the academic year of 2020-21.
Sharpest decline in U.P.
Among the States that recorded the sharpest decline in the number of Muslim students enrolled was Uttar Pradesh where the enrolment of Muslim students dropped from 3.57 lakh in 2019-20 to 2.99 lakh in 2020-21. In Jammu and Kashmir, the enrolment of Muslim students dropped sharply from 1.78 lakh in 2019-20 to 1.31 lakh in the year 2020-21.
The decline in enrolment of Muslim students comes when there has been a 7.5% increase in student enrolments across the country in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20.
Political analyst Subhamoy Maitra explained that these figures might be looked at from an economic perspective. “Since Muslims are among the communities which are economically lagging behind comparatively, due to the increasing trend of privatisation in higher education, students from the community are getting lesser opportunities. In the States where the enrolment has improved, there may be little more State run higher educational institutions and less private institutes,” Prof Maitra said. He added that one may argue that West Bengal, Kerala and Telangana have a pro-poor, liberal and leftist tradition as far as education is concerned, and thus there might be a slightly different trend.
Enrolment of PwD also dropped
While the number students in the Persons with Disabilities (PwD) category also dropped in 2020-21 to 79,035 from 92,831 the previous year, West Bengal, Kerala and Telangana have registered an increase in enrolment for students in the category. In case of students with disability it is female students whose numbers of enrolment declined sharply from 45,001 in 2019-20 to 29,701 in the year 2020-21.
In West Bengal, the enrolment in higher education for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) increased from 3,589 in 2019-20 to 7,082 in 2020-21. In Telangana the number of enrolment increased 2940 in 2019-20 to 3104 in 2020-21. In Kerala, the enrolment of students with disabilities increased from 3,710 to 3,991 during the same period.