Educational status of Muslims in India: An overview/scope for improvement

By Abdullah Khan | Muslim Mirror

Education is one of the most important instruments for the development and empowerment of any marginalized community. This plays an important role in gaining a respectful and dignified life within the society and also helpful for earning employment and money for the livelihood. Malcolm X was a famous African American human rights activist who says that ‘education is the passports of the future, for tomorrow belong to those who prepare for it today’. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was a great socio-religious reformer and Messiah of ‘Muslims education’ said that ‘it is the categorical verdict of all the nations and great seers of the world that national progress depends on education and training of the people’. Keep in mind that life without education and training is like a bird without wings.                                      

Muslims are the second largest populous religious group after Hinduism in India. The National Minority Commission has identified Muslims as minorities along with Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains on the basis of religion. Among the minorities, Muslims have the highest population with 14.2 percent, followed by Christianity 1.7 percent, Sikhism 0.7 percent, Buddhism 0.5 percent, Jainism 0.4 percent and the other 0.7 percent. There are many states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Bengal, Assam, and others in which population of Muslims is above 20% (Censes, 2011). Muslims, despite being the largest religious minority of the country they are lagging behind from other religious minorities on all indicators of human development, such as living standards, financial stability, political existence, education and other aspects, thereby showing poor performance in the maximum fields. Their socio-economic status is far behind that of other minorities and is also less than the national level.

The factors of their educational backwardness are not fully and satisfactorily have been studied by scholars and any other governmental and non-governmental agencies. Invariably all individual researchers, organizational surveys and government appointed committees find out that Muslims are most educationally backward community of the country.

In this regard, a high level committee was headed by the Prime minister of India in 2006, popularly called the Sachar Committee. The committee founds that they have low level access to educational opportunities and to they have a lower quality education and their academic backwardness as bad as or even worse than Scheduled Casts (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Their level of education decreases as the level of education rises. The report has also revealed that ‘one fourth of Muslim children in the age group of 6-14 years have either never attended school or are dropouts. For children above the age of 17 years, the educational attainment of Muslims at matriculation is 17%, as against national average at 26%. Only 50% of Muslims who complete middle schools are likely to complete secondary education, compared to 62% at the national level’ (Ministry of Education, GOI). Their literacy rate, mean year of education, representation in senior secondary education and higher education is below to other communities of India. For example, Literacy rate among Muslims is 57.3%, which is far behind from national average 74.4%. When we see another minority community in India their literacy is far better than Muslims minority. The majority Hindus whose literacy is 63.6%. Literacy among other minority such as Jain is 86.4%, Among Christians is 74.3%, Among Buddhist is 71.8% and, Sikh is 67.5% in India. This shows that the Muslims have the highest illiteracy rate of any single religious community in India. Although the literacy rate for Muslim women was higher than SCs and STs Women, but lower than others (Times of India, 2020).

A study was conducted by S.M.I.A. Zaidi in 2006 and found that the highest literacy among Muslims were in Andaman and Nicobar Island 89.8%, followed by Kerala 89.4%, while lowest literacy was found in Haryana 40%, and Bihar 42%. In the major states of the country (i.e. Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, and Haryana etc.) where Muslims are educationally most backward in comparison with other religion.

As per National Sample Survey Report of the 75th Round (2018), reported by the Times of India (2020) the Gross Attendance Ratio (GAR) of Muslims was lower (i.e., 100) than SCs (101), STs (102), OBCs, and minorities. The same case is also at Upper primary level; their GAR was lower than other communities. The GAR of Muslims at Secondary level was 71.9%, which was less than STs 79.8%, SCs 85.8% and from OBCs also. Similarly, in the case of higher secondary level the GAR of Muslims was lowest i.e. 48.3%, below from the SCs 52.8%, STs 60% and lowest from others communities also. At the level of above higher secondary, their GAR has been 14.5%, just above the STs 14.4%, but below from the SCs 17.8% and other communities. In the age group of 3 to 35 years, among all communities, Muslims has the highest proportion that had never enrolled in formal educational institutions or programmes.

The enrollment of Muslims in higher education, as per All India Survey on Higher Education Reports (AISHE) (conducted by MHRD, GOI) revealed that the representation in higher education has also lowest from other communities such as SCs, STs and OBCs. The evidence of the survey data is depicted in the following table-

Years Muslim (%) STs (%) SCs (%) OBCs (%)
2010-11 3.8 4.4 11.1 27.6
2011-12 3.9 4.5 12.2 30.1
2012-13 4.2 4.4 12.8 31.2
2013-14 4.3 4.6 13.1 32.4
2014-15 4.5 4.8 13.4 32.8
2015-16 4.7 4.9 13.9 33.75
2016-17 4.9 5.1 14.2 34.4
2017-18 5.0 5.2 14.4 35.0
2018-19 5.2 5.5 14.9 36.3

Source: AISHE Reports

From the above table, the growth rate of Muslims in higher education from year 2010-11 to 2018-19 was 26.92%, while STs 20%, SCs 25.50 %, and OBCs 23.96%. This is clearly shows that, among all, Muslims have the highest growth rate, but in terms of proportion their enrollment is the lowest among these communities.

The importance of education and skill in the rise and fall of the communities is well known, and everyone also knows that in the present scenario (which is known as knowledge society) it is impossible to spend a self-dependent and dignified life without an education.

From the above discussion and evidences, and various reports, it shows that, in the matter of education, the condition of Muslims at all levels (i.e. Primary, upper primary, secondary, senior secondary and higher education) of education remains pathetic as comparison with other religious group as well as SCs, STs and OBCs group. It is a serious constraint in planning for the education of Muslims. A large population of Muslims is not only poor, but also deprived of the legacy of education. It is very difficult to get education for those Muslims who earn their livelihood through hard work and small business. There are only two ways for these poor and hard working class of Muslims to get education, either government school and colleges or madarsa.

For this reason, in my opinion, there is an urgent need for Muslims intellectuals and philanthropists to form an organization so that people are made aware of all beneficial educational schemes, policies and programmes run by the government of India. It is also need that the Waqf Board of India should open modern educational institutions on its vacant or useless lands so that Muslims can be educated and they can improve in the field of education. State Governments and Government of India, need to pay special attention towards the education of Indian Muslims.

The author is a Research Scholar (Sociology) at Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.



Also read-


  1. We request the government & private entities to take cognisance of this situation.It is the basic right of every child to get education in any field of her/his choice.Lack of government schools, colleges and skill development centres have deprived people from socio-economic progress.It is high time the academicians and philanthropists along with government bodies take necessary decision for establishing social infrastructures in place. How long can we sleep…? the price of ignorance is paid by the innocent poor children and their families.

    • Modern, scientific education is not allowed in Islam .
      According to Quran ‘our earth is flat’ , there is flying horse(Udne wala Ghoda) in Quran.
      If Islamic people will get modern education then they will leave Islam by saying it’s false religion

      • No it is not true . Iam muslim and lecturer in physics.My whole family is educated and practicing muslim without any doubt in Islam..


      • Lol another Bhakt lavishing his whatsApp forwards.
        Sir, please dont teach us physics of how the Earth can rest on a Snake’s head, or how a Flat Earth is balanced on Shivling or how a monkey can lift a mountain.
        Please carry on your research on GauMutra as a vaccine for Coronavirus and leave Muslims alone.

        The Muslims of Lakhswadeep and Kerela have the highest (90%) literacy rate and are the most practicing as well. Just like countries with ‘the’ highest literacy rates are Muslim, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan(99%), Muslims of India too, will overcome this colonialism affected literacy rate and bring down ‘Brahmin’ and ‘Baniya’ prejudice.

      • Regarding the belief that the Quran says that the earth is flat and that there is a flying horse in it, this is a misunderstanding of Islamic scripture. The Quran does not state that the earth is flat; in fact, it describes the earth as being “egg-shaped” or “like an ostrich egg” (Quran 79:30). Additionally, the story of the Prophet Muhammad’s miraculous journey on a flying horse, known as the Isra and Mi’raj, is a spiritual and symbolic event that is not meant to be taken literally.

    • Kazi Saab,
      The pre-requisite is to come out of the time warp of Madrasa. They are primitive shanties and have outlived their utility. These spawn separatists and fissiparous tendencies.
      Unless this is accomplished all the efforts would be wasted.
      Government cannot initiate schools at our doorsteps. People will be required to send the kids to school- how- is their problem? Hindus and Sikhs send them there for modern education and not for rote learning.
      The community is getting scholarships that run into billions. Hindus are paying for this. They are subsidizing your education.
      Teach your community that the most impressionable years of the kids get wasted in learning about Kafirs and the treatment to be meted to them. This goes on till they are adults. It distorts the vision that makes them lead a fudgy and warped life.
      The government and the majority community have done their best that they are paying for the minority benefits.
      It is your turn to come out of the chasm of religion that only builds identity and ‘Others’, you people. It’s your turn to come out of the tag of ‘Others’ and merge into the society that shall embrace you as it has always done. It’s for you to win them over.
      The recent event at Idgah, Banglore, speaks volumes about the religious fanatism that the community breeds. The community should have welcome the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi at Idgah grounds. What a great message of ‘Ganga-Jamuni’ would have got transmitted !!
      But Alas ! the one-sided animosity won. And none liked it. It broadened the chasm between the two communities where one of them is threatened by ‘Sar Tan S Juda’.
      It should change, sometime. Sooner the better !!
      Educate your community to spend some part of income on the modern education.

  2. The article proves that despite having free education facility by government till 12th standard, muslim community is not interested in its own development. Hence, please don’t blame to government or Hindutva anymore for your own downfall. The major reason behind muslim’s backwardness is lack of family planning. I have seen many educated muslim families those produce 3 to 4 children without bothering future of their children. Also, girls education is given least importance in muslim community. The inhuman practices like hijab, polygamy, nikah halala has downgraded the social status of muslim women.

    • @secular hindu aka Hindu sewer rat..

      Still repoasting the same old nonsense from your RSS whatsapp group of unemplyed computer coolies.

      Discrimination is rife in India by Hindus who don’t even low caste Hindus right, Muslims are doing better despite Hindu attempts to keep the community in poverty, and discriminate in the job market. So many Hindus, including the illiterate PM Modi have fake degrees. I see this all the time in my company which is why I don’t hire Hindus. Your lies about Islam and Muslims are applicable to your own filthy backward extremist Hindus who are today dying like dogs thanks to covid…Hindu super spreading of the virus is destroying India.

      Hinduism is filthy Brahmin death cult, it must be exterminate for India to progress. Hindus treat women like garbage. and this why India is the most dangerous country in the world. Your obsession with Muslim birth rates is a reflection of how impotent and unmanly Hindu men are. Most of you look like starving dogs on the side of the road on a hot day. This is why so many Hindu women escape the Hindu cult by converting to Islam. No one can respect a religion of tom and jerry characters like Krishna stealing women’s underwear or having 16000 wives. You are a backward and hopeless group of pagans who have zero value.

      The inhuman practices of Hinduism like racism, caste hatred, filth, eating and drinking animal excreta, rape, murder, incest terrorism, are a cancer. Islam is the chemotherapy.

      • You bloody Muslim dog why parking and check the whole history all the Muslim dogs by birth of rapist and latest ISIS and not any Hindu do not touch any women even his enemy and treat like his own mother. Read properly in your prophet history and Krishna and understand who is rapist.

      • Muslim have no rights to live in India if this country is so dangerous for Muslim, you are free to go to Pakistan & Bangladesh as per 2 nation theory you Islamic people got your separate country, now go to your Islamic Country and produce your children there, bloody 3 third class religion Islam, that’s why whole world is fucking islam and your Islamic people nowdays, your Prophet Muhhamad is rapist that’s why whole Muslim people follow how he raped 9 year old girl Aisha. Go to your pakistan, Bangladesh,middle East. Do whatever you want,produce kids like wild pigs there

        • Lol Mr. Black ripped you bad😂.
          Btw he forgot to mention how that conman Krishna had eloped with an 8 yo Rukhmini and had 16,108 wives🤯

          Literally 16,108!! What a life!!

          • Arshan
            You are strictly advised to not to indulge in anything that qualifies for expletives and profanity.
            How will you react if something is said about your God ?

        • Even in USA 🇺🇸 Islam is spreading fastly . After 9/11 I used to hate Muslims , but after reading thoroughly about lslam and Hinduism, I could decide that lslam is the best religion in all aspects. So , I decided to convert from atheist to lslam which gives best concept of God . As lslam doesn’t give any imaginary idol of God so it is better than any Pagan religion. Though my great grandfather was Shudra ( working class ) Hindu , who was not allowed to enter in Sanatan Hindu Brahmin dharm temple being untouchablity and castism the core principle of Brahmin religion. Ganesh the elephant 🐘 sized Brahmin god has the rat 🐀 as his vehicle. Ram didn’t know that his wife Sita will be kidnapped any the god ( Ram) will need army of 🐒 and bears 🐵 to win any war . How can Hanuman monkey-god fly without wings 🐦 to sun 🌞 to engulf ( swallow) the Sun and still not burnt to ashes. How can Shiva be a god when he doesn’t recognized his own son Ganesh and cut his neck and later on replaced it by elephant ‘s head . According to “Shiv Puran” ( Hindu religious book book) after seeing “Mohini ” (Hindu god Vishnu ‘s avtaar of beautiful woman ) beauty Shiv ‘s Semen discharged out . Porn hindu temples of Khajuraho ( perverted sex gods in central lndian province of Madhya Pradesh) and Devdasi Mandirs ( religious prostitution in Hindu temples) , and even polyandry custom (Draupdi pratha ) , polygamy ( Krishna had 16,108 wives & his lover Radha / Radha was Krishna ‘s maternal aunt / Maami ) , Brahma raped his daughter Saraswati before marriage with her , Yam & Yami were real brother & sister before marriage. 72 Hoors ( Swarg ki Apsara) are actually Hindus by names ( Urvasi, Maneka, Tilottama, Ghritachi, Rambha etc ). Aghori Shaiv Sadhu eat Human’s meat 🍖 in Shamshan during their religious rite called ” Shav Sadhu ” , live naked like Naga sadhus , rape dead bodies of Hindu women , Smoke Chilms of Charas , Hashish, drink alcohol with meat in their cannibalism practices .

          • Dr. Saab…
            Please stop the nonsense. People know many things about your God as well but they don’t denigrate him.
            Religious beliefs have a stamp of permanence even if they are fuzzy just like -the earth is flat and the flying horse. Be happy with that and let us also.
            Good Luck !

      • Black-
        It is observed that your posts are very derogatory and denigrate the Hindu religion. I have gone through some of your posts and all of them have an ostensible element of utter disgust and contempt for Hindus and Hinduis. Even if you have opinions that is your problem. Don’t spill the beans of hatred here.
        I hope you neither know Hinduism nor Islam.
        Does Islam preach to caterwaul the co-religionists?
        How will you react if I start firing guns at your creed and customs?
        We come here to share views and opinions and not for regular and continual insults.

  3. In Maharashtra, girls education is free in most of the government aided schools. So our convent school was patronized by many Muslims, however the uniform, ie wearing frocks/pinafore was despised by many. Thus people from poor background, whose main aim was to get their daughter married ASAP, would withdraw their daughters starting 7th grade. Similarly the local populace, influenced by their clergy further skews the problem. I’ve seen top scoring girls are discouraged from attending college.
    Thus living in ghetto, where the fake dogma rules, acts as a deterrent.

    • I don’t know why would the school have problem of the girl observes modesty by drawing a dupatta or Hijab.

      Unless it’s intellectually colonised, mentally subservient, inferiorly complexed wannabe and a white man’s apple polisher whose definitions of ‘freedom’, ‘liberty’ and ‘modernity’ on how the Western man eats dresses and shits.

  4. I don’t know why would the school have problem if the girl observes modesty by drawing a dupatta or Hijab and choses not to let herself be objectified and treated as object by fellow boys. Of course unless it’s an intellectually colonised, mentally subservient, inferiorly complexed wannabe and a white man’s apple polisher whose definitions of ‘freedom’, ‘liberty’ and ‘modernity’ is based on how the Western man eats, dresses and shits.

  5. Exactly, as a matter of fact, the Hindu community has the least literacy rate in global terms whereas the central asian Muslim nations surpass Europe and North America in fetching a complete 100% literacy rate.

  6. I think Muslims are very interested in education.
    However, since no such thing as caste exists in Islam and Muslims think they are the epitome of supremacy and intelligence on the earth, I request the govt to withdraw all scholarships and reservations allocated to Muslims.
    No more Upsc coaching, no more muslim universities (Jamia, AMU) etc.
    Muslims should be treated just the same as general category.
    As they ruled over India for 1000 years (which they themselves boast) and also had the power to split the country into 3 during partition, they can surely pay for their own education.

    • More than 90% Muslim biradari classes communities are Mulniwasi converted indigenous population. Yes , foreign origin 2% Muslims have ruled lndia ( but not whole Muslim population was king of lndia ) . Similarly, Dwijs Hindus ( upper caste Hindus , Ganeu-dhari, twice born ) have enjoyed rule and power by oppressing Shudra and Untouchable indigenous lndian population ( which includes converted minorities who converted to non-Hindu religions due Manuwadi Brahminical system tyranny of upper caste peoples of Sanatan Hindu dharm.

  7. It is a matter of great pleasure that the author expressed his concern regarding the low level of education among the Indian muslims.
    Since the author is a research scholar, he should be very careful in citing data.
    According to 2011 census, the literacy rate for muslims is not 57.3 % but it is 68.5 %. Still it is the lowest among all religious communities.
    2021 census report is not yet published (or prepared ) but it is expected (by me ) that the growth in literacy of muslims would be the highest among all religious communities during 2011 – 2021.

  8. This community is the most privileged community. It gets Madrasdas financed through the Government schemes under Art 30. Billions have been spent on them without any fruitful purpose except as a strong identity builder that promotes separatists and fissiparous tendencies.
    The literacy rates of Muslims have an aberration that no one knows if literacy means literacy in secular and modern education or if is it related to religious knowledge only that is imparted in Makhtabs and Madrasa. Government can’t fund them for schools and Madrasa. Madrasa serves as a great drag on the community and promotes only obscurantism. Madrasas should be shut down by them or else the Government should stop providing funds to these radical institutions that promote and spawn fundamentalism and radicalism. Deobandi Madrasas are teaching terrorism only. Taliban is inspired by the Deoband ideology. What a waste of Money !!
    But let them roll in this rote education. It is for the community to choose from- Religious instructions of Modern education. Government funding should stop.
    None has stopped the community to seek admission in regular Government schools.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Stories

Could Darul Huda Islamic University be a model for other big Madrasas in India?

By Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef There is no dichotomy in Islam between knowledge of religious and secular learning. In the past our education system was a...

We are Gau Mata country: Himanta on DMK MP’s comment

Guwahati : Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said India is a “Gau Mata” country and asserted that there is no dispute...

‘Here to make it easier for Muslims in India to go to Makkah, Madinah”: Saudi Minister of Hajj

New Delhi : Saudi Minister of Haj and Umrah Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah on Wednesday said “We are here to make it easier for...

31 years after Babri Mosque demolition: Perpetrators rule India

By Shamsul Islam Criminal Hindutva perpetrators instead of being punished rule India The RSS-BJP government of India led by a seasoned RSS whole-timer, Narendra Modi has...

Indian Army Major dismissed for ‘ties with Pakistani intelligence operative’

An Indian Army Major, who was recently dismissed from service by the President in October, is alleged to have been in contact with a...

Postpone probe into madrasas: UP madrasa board to Yogi govt

Lucknow : Following the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to initiate a probe into the availability of basic facilities and competent teachers at state-funded madrasas,...

Turkey, Qatar sign 12 agreements, issue joint declaration after high strategic committee meeting

DOHA, Qatar : Turkey and Qatar on Monday signed 12 cooperation agreements in various fields and the joint declaration of the 9th meeting of...

Anti-terror case: NIA searches in 5 J&K districts

Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday carried out searches at several places in five districts of Kashmir valley as part of a...

Almost 1.9M Palestinian displaced across Gaza Strip since Oct. 7: UN

ISTANBUL : Almost 1.9 million people, or over 80% of the population, have been displaced across the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, the UN...

Modi will become PM for third time: Badruddin Ajmal

Guwahati : All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief, Badruddin Ajmal said that the BJP’s victory in the three state Assembly elections have proved...

Saudi Arabia gears up to deliver world-class services to Hajj and Umrah performers

By Tareq Wahab In recognition of its historical obligation and with a deep sense of honor, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques government has...

Afghan tragedy unfolds in Pakistan

By Asad Mirza For the last two months the international attention has been focussed on the continuing Gaza crisis, yet in its background another human...

2022 sees 24% rise in crime against women, minors, SC/ST: NCRB report

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recently released its comprehensive data for 2022, shedding light on the surge in crime against women, children, Schedule...

Hindu young women will lose rights if they marry Muslims: Karnataka BJP leader

Dakshina Kannada : BJP leader Malavika Avinash asserted that Hindu young women who marry a Muslim would lose their rights. She also raised questions about...

Is the party now over for Mayawati and BSP in UP?

Lucknow : The Bahujan Samaj Party has miserably failed to arrest its downslide in politics. The BSP failed to open its account in Chhattisgarh, Madhya...

FIR against Kafeel Khan for ‘objectionable’ content in his book

Lucknow : A case has been registered against Kafeel Khan, a former doctor at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur, and five unidentified people...