Declining Enrollment of Indian Muslims in Colleges and Universities

Number of Indian Muslims attending colleges and universities has declined by 8% to 1.9 million in 2020-21, from 2.1 million in 2019-20, according to Indian government data. In the same period, the higher education enrollment in Pakistan has risen about 12%, from 2.7 million to over 3 million. Both India and Pakistan have about the same population of Muslims. 

Higher Education Enrollment of Muslims in India, Pakistan

While enrollment of Indian Muslims has fallen by 8%, the enrollment of Dalits, Adivasis and OBCs in higher education has increased by 4.2%, 11.9% and 4% respectively compared to 2019-20.  The upper caste Hindus have seen the highest jump of 13.6% in enrollment in colleges and universities. 

Labor Force Education Status of Indian Muslims Worst of all Groups.... 

These results are consistent with a 2018 study by three researchers which reported that "Muslims (in India) now have considerably worse upward mobility (29) today than both Scheduled Castes (37.4–37.8) and Scheduled Tribes (32.5–32.7). The comparable figure for African Americans is 34."

The research paper titled "Intergenerational Mobility in India: Estimates from New Methods and Administrative Data" says that "higher caste groups (in India) have experienced constant and high upward mobility over time, a result that contradicts a popular notion that it is increasingly difficult for higher caste Hindus to get ahead".

Dartmouth researchers' analysis focuses on two mobility measures: (i) the expected outcome of a child born into the bottom half of the parent outcome distribution (upward interval mobility, henceforth referred to as upward mobility); and (ii) the expected outcome of a child born into the top half of the parent distribution (downward interval mobility).

Indian Muslims at Bottom in Social Mobility. Source: Dartmouth College

Panel A  in the above figure presents bounds on trends in upward interval mobility, or the average rank among sons born to fathers in the bottom half of the father education distribution. Panel B presents bounds on trends in downward interval mobility, or the average education rank among sons born to fathers in the top half of the father education distribution. Panel C presents bounds on trends in the proportion of sons completing primary school, conditional on being born to a father in the bottom half of the education distribution. Panel D presents bounds on trends in the proportion of sons attaining a high school degree, conditional on being born to a father in the bottom half of the education distribution.

The Dartmouth paper by Sam Asher, Paul Novosad and Charlie Rafkin confirms what an Indian government commission headed by Justice Rajendar Sachar found back in 2006 by saying that "Muslim disadvantage has been widely noted, including by the well-publicized federal Sachar Report (2006)".  Here's an excerpt of the paper:

"India’s Muslims constitute a similar population share as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (14% for Muslims vs. 16.6% for SCs and 14% for STs). Muslims have worse socioeconomic outcomes than the general population (Sachar Committee Report, 2006). While Muslim disadvantage has been widely noted, including by the well-publicized federal Sachar Report (2006), there are few policies in place to protect them and there has not been an effective political mobilization in their interest. Muslims have also been frequent targets of discrimination and even violence."

The discrimination and violence against Muslims that the paper refers to has only gotten worse since the election of Hindu Nationalist leader Narendra Modi to India's highest office in India in 2014. 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on June 6, 2023 at 6:56pm

It is for the first time that the enrolment of Muslims in higher education has declined on year on year basis. Until 2019-20, their numbers had been increasing, though at a varying rate, and had gradually gone up from 6.97 lakh, (or 2.53% of the total enrolment in higher education) in 2010-11 to 21.01 Lakh (5.45%). The rate of growth in Muslim enrolment has, however, been declining lately. During the 2010-11 to 2014-15 quinquennial, the enrolment of Muslims in higher education grew by 15.03% per year which slowed down to 3.56% during the 2015-16 to 2020-21 sexennial. A decline in Muslim enrolment in higher education by a whopping 8.53% in one year is simply inexplicable.

The latest edition of the All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE), as published by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, reports that the number of Muslims in higher education declined from 21.01 Lakh in 2019-20 to 19.22 Lakh in 2020-21. Thus 1.79 Lakh Muslim students are missing from the higher education system of the country. As a result, the share of Muslim students in higher education has come down from 5.45% to 4.64% during the corresponding period.

This is when the total enrolment in higher education in India has gone up from 3.85 crore to 4.14 crore during the same period. This is also when, the enrolment of all other social groups – the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) has gone up. The only groups that have seen a decline are Persons with Disabilities, Muslims and Other Minorities.

Disquietingly, the share of Muslim students has declined across all higher educational institutions: central universities, from 8.41 to 8.24%; institutions of national importance, 1.92 to 1.87%; public-funded state universities, 5.29 to 4.30%; self-financed private universities, 4.25 to 3.87%; government deems universities, 1.10 to 1.03%; government-aided deemed universities, 14.55 to 11.84%; self-financed private deemed universities, 3.47 to 3.04%; colleges of central universities, 4.68 to 3.58%; and colleges of state universities from 6.05 to 5.09%.

What is all the more perturbing is the fact that Muslim enrolment in higher education has declined in 22 out of 36 states and Union Territories. In absolute numbers, the decline has been in UP (58,365), Jammu & Kashmir (47,334), Maharashtra (15,424), Tamil Nadu (14,593), Gujarat (10,909), Bihar (10,208), Andhra Pradesh (9,644), Jharkhand (9,263), Karnataka (6,153), Assam (5, 424), Delhi (5,271), Madhya Pradesh (2,862), Haryana (2,432), Manipur (2,049), Odisha (1,359), Rajasthan (1,193), Puducherry (785), Tripura (768), Chhattisgarh (691) and Himachal Pradesh (588), Arunachal Pradesh (57) and Meghalaya (16).

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 8, 2023 at 5:10pm

Ministry of Education releases All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-2021

Enrollment in higher education increases to 4.14 crore (41.4 million), crossing the 4 crore mark (40 million) for first time; increase of 7.5% from 2019-20 and 21% from 2014-15

Female enrollment reaches 2 crore mark, increase of 13 Lakh from 2019-20

Significant increase of 28% in enrolment of SC students and 38% in enrolment of Female SC Students in 2020-21, compared to 2014-15.

Substantial increase of 47% in enrolment of ST students and 63.4% increase in the enrolment of Female ST Students in 2020-21, compared to 2014-15.

Significant increase of 32% in OBC Student enrolment and 39% in Female OBC Students, since 2014-15.

Notable increase of 29% in Student Enrolment and 34% in Female Student Enrolment in the North Eastern Region in 2020-21 since 2014-15.

Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) has improved from previous year for all social groups

Enrollment in Distance Education has increased by 7% in 2020-21 from 2019-20

Number of Universities has increased by 70, number of Colleges has increased by 1,453, in 2020-21 over 2019-20

Gender Parity Index (GPI) has increased from 1 in 2017-18 to 1.05 in 2020-21

Total number of faculty/teachers increases by 47,914 from 2019-20
Posted On: 29 JAN 2023 7:20PM by PIB Delhi

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 8, 2023 at 6:30pm

Higher Education enrollment in India (41.4 million) is much higher than Pakistan (3.04 million) in 2020-21.

However the rate of growth over the last 5 years in higher education enrollment in Pakistan (12% since 2019-20, 134% since 2014-15) is much faster than in India (7.5% since 2019-20, 21% since 2014-15).

Sources: AISHI India and HEC Pakistan

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 9, 2023 at 7:53am

A third of India's most sought after engineering graduates leave the country

Banaras Hindu University saw a 540% spike in immigration among graduates after it was turned as an IIT in 2012

One-third of those graduating from the country’s prestigious engineering schools, particularly the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), migrate abroad.

Such highly-skilled persons account for 65% of the migrants heading to the US alone, a working paper (pdf) of the US-based National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has concluded.

Nine out of 10 top scorers in the annual joint entrance examination held nationally for admission to the IITs and other reputed engineering colleges have migrated. Up to 36% of the top 1,000 scorers, too, have taken this path, according to the paper published this month.

In the US, there is a long list of IIT graduates now leading executives and CEOs. However, most immigrants move to the US as students and eventually join the US workforce. The NBER paper found that 83% of such immigrants pursue a Master’s degree or a doctorate.

“...through a combination of signaling and network effects, elite universities in source countries play a key role in shaping migration outcomes, both in terms of the overall propensity and the particular migration destination,” the report said.

India has 23 IITs across the country. The acceptance rates at most these hallowed institutions are lower than those of Ivy League colleges, especially at the most sought-after IITs at Kharagpur, Mumbai, Kanpur, Chennai, and Delhi. In 2023 alone, 189,744 candidates registered for the JEE, competing for only 16,598 seats.

Global economies are keen on highly skilled Indians
The US graduate program is a key pathway for migration, to recruit the “best and brightest,” the NBER report said.

Similarly, the UK’s High Potential Individual visa route lets graduates from the world’s top 50 non-UK universities, including the IITs, stay and work in the country for at least two years. For doctoral qualification, the work visa is for at least three years.

Fresh IIT graduates looking to move abroad are helped by a network of successful alumni and faculty already settled abroad, the report said. Some even provide access to particular programs where they have influence over admissions or hiring decisions.

The interesting case of Banaras Hindu University

In 2012, the century-old Banaras Hindu University (BHU), also India’s first central university, was accorded IIT status. The institute located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, was elevated without any changes to its staff, curriculum, or admission system.

The NBER report studied 1,956 BHU students who graduated between 2005-2015 with a BTech, BPharm, MTech, or integrated dual degrees. It found a 540% increase in the probability of migration among graduates after the grant of the IIT status.

“...the quality of education/human capital acquired by the students in the cohorts before and after the change remained constant, while only the name of the university on the degree received differed,” the report said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 9, 2023 at 7:14pm

One metric of note is gross enrollment ratio (GER), which measures total enrollment in education as a percentage of the eligible school-aged population. India’s GER of 27.1 percent in 2019–20 seems poised to fall below the Ministry of Education’s target of achieving 32 percent by 2022.

India’s higher education landscape is a mix of progress and challenges. Its scope is vast: 1,043 universities, 42,343 colleges, and 11,779 stand-alone institutions make it one of the largest higher education sectors in the world, according to the latest (2019–20) All India Survey of Higher Education Report (AISHE 2019–20).

The number of institutions has expanded by more than 400 percent since 2001, with much of the growth taking place in the private education sector, according to a major 2019 report from the Brookings Institution, Reviving Higher Education in India. This growth continued through 2019–20, according to the 2019–20 AISHE report.

Capacity is growing rapidly to serve India’s large youth population and burgeoning college-aged cohort. One metric of note is gross enrollment ratio (GER), which measures total enrollment in education as a percentage of the eligible school-aged population. India’s GER of 27.1 percent in 2019–20 seems poised to fall below the Ministry of Education’s target of achieving 32 percent by 2022. It is also significantly behind China’s 51 percent and much of Europe and North America, where 80 percent or more of young people enroll in higher education, according to Philip Altbach, a research professor at Boston College and founding director of the Center for International Higher Education.

The number of institutions has expanded by more than 400 percent since 2001. ...Capacity is growing rapidly to serve India’s large youth population and burgeoning college-aged cohort.

India has produced many noteworthy higher education institutions, including those specializing in sciences and business, though none of them take the top spots in global rankings. Its highest-ranked institution, the Indian Institute of Science, was in the 301–350 range among institutions worldwide in 2022, according to the Times Higher Education 2022 World University Rankings. China, by contrast, has 16 institutions in the top 350, including six ranked in the top 100 and two in the top 20. However, much is different about India—its central government is less efficient and empowered, there’s enormous variation between India’s 36 states and territories, there’s less affluence, and the country has a democratic political system.

Across India, there is an enormous variation in quality institutions between states. For instance, according to the National Institutional Ranking Framework of India 2021, the best colleges in the country are concentrated in 9 of India’s 28 states: Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and West Bengal. The colleges in these states are all in the ranking’s top 100 institutions, notes Eldho Mathews, deputy advisor at the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration. In states with fewer resources, offering quality education is more of a challenge.

Other difficulties that hobble the sector include lack of sufficient funding at both the national and state levels; inefficient structure; massive bureaucracy; and corruption. An additional, formidable hurdle is to bridge the gap between graduates and jobs, as many employers have doubts about the quality of Indian graduates’ skills. In a recent survey by Wheelbox, Taggd, and the Confederation of Indian Industry, respondents rated graduates of higher education institutions below a 50 percent employability level, according to the resulting Indian Skills Report.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 10, 2023 at 8:31am

Muslims have the lowest enrollment in higher education, says a report

The recently released All India Survey on Higher Education 2020–21 says the enrollment of Muslim students dropped by 8 percent from 2019-20 – that is, by 1,79,147 students. This level of absolute decline has never happened in the recent past for any group in India. Muslims represent about 15 percent of society.

UP accounts for 36 percent of that total decline followed by Jammu and Kashmir, which accounts for 26 percent, then Maharashtra (8.5 percent), Tamil Nadu (8.1 percent), Gujarat (6.1 percent), Bihar (5.7 percent) and Karnataka (3.7 percent).

While the states that have a larger share of the Muslim population account for the higher share of decline, small states too show similar trends. For instance, between 2019-20 — 2020-21, Delhi lost about 20 percent of its Muslim students while J&K lost about 36 percent.

The Sachar Committee Report (SCR) submitted in 2006 showed that the condition of Muslims in education was comparable to, or even worse than, the country’s most backward communities. Their marginalization, since then, has deepened. Initially, Muslims were slightly above Dalits. But Dalits overtook Muslims in education in 2017-18 and in 2020-21, it was the turn of the Adivasis.

If we strictly follow the age cohort 18-23, the PLFS data confirms this trend. Muslims do even worse than Dalits and Adivasis. According to this source, only about 19 percent are currently attending higher education institutions, as against 21 percent among Adivasis, 26 percent among Dalits, 34 percent Hindu OBCs, and 45 percent Hindu upper castes.

Among major states, in 2020-21 in no state did Muslims do better than Dalits except in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Delhi. Advasis do better than Muslims in many states such as Rajasthan, Assam, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Jharkhand.

UP being the most populated state pulls down the national average of Muslims. Muslims, who account for about 20 percent of the state’s population, have just 4.5 percent of total enrollment. UP alone witnessed the dropout of 58,365 Muslim students from 2019-20 — a decline of 16 percent.

If UP illustrates the story of the deepening deprivation of Muslims, Kerala offers a story of upward mobility. Kerala has not only seen positive growth in enrolment, it also tops in the percentage of Muslim youth (43 percent) who are currently attending higher education. The century-old positive discrimination in favor of Muslims has helped the community to build educational capital in the state.

Muslims in Kerala enjoy 10 percent reservation in government jobs and 12 percent in educational institutions. After Ezhavas caste (14 percent), Muslims form the largest population and also claim a large share of the quota in the state’s OBC list.

While the sources of marginalization began much before, what is new is the acceleration of such marginalization in recent times. How can this be explained? A few factors might have played a role but the key role in this context is the rising Hindu majoritarianism.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 10, 2023 at 8:32am

Muslims have the lowest enrollment in higher education, says a report

First, is the bleak employment opportunities faced by Muslims as they face the highest unemployment rate among socio-religious groups? The percentage of unemployment among Muslims rose from 1.6 percent in 2018-19 to 13.2 percent in 2019-20. This data certainly reflects discrimination against Muslims in the job market. It has been found by the surveyors that the same CV is sent with Brahmin names, Dalit names, and Muslim names, and the percentage of those invited to an interview is the lowest in the case of Muslims.

Second is the weak economic condition of the Muslim candidates and they may not have enough money for higher studies as they need to work to make a living. Hence, the high dropout rate among Muslim youth in higher education is noticed.

Third, the ongoing ghettoization process of the Muslims in almost all Indian cities has restricted their spatial mobility and has forced them to withdraw into their shells, and thus lack of interest in higher education.

Lastly, the state support for Muslims has come down sharply under the BJP rule. Karnataka which had been providing Muslims a sub-quota of 4 per cent within the OBC quota was scrapped recently by the BJP government. The Ministry of Minority Affairs has stopped the Maulana Azad Fellowship dedicated to pursuing higher education for minority students from 2022-23.

The only remedy to arrest the declining trend of Muslim enrolment in higher education is that the government should evolve a positive discrimination policy for Muslims in India. The Sachar Committee Report and the Mishra Report have recommended initiating a positive discrimination policy in favor of Muslims — something some southern states have done successfully but not the states that have a high Muslim population.

What does discrimination by targeting the Muslim population intend to achieve by targeting their access to higher education wants to achieve? Obviously, it is done with the intention to manufacture second-class citizens who cannot stand up as equals to caste Hindus. But will this policy result in the harmonious development of the country?

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 10, 2023 at 10:37am

Rs65bn allocated to HEC in current expenditure, Rs70bn in development expenses
Pakistan Endowment Fund being created to award scholarships to school, college students on merit.

Rs65 billion are being allocated to the Higher Education Commission in the current expenditure, and Rs70 billion in the development expenditure.

A Pakistan Endowment Fund is being created for financial assistance in the education sector for which Rs5 billion have been set aside in the budget. This Fund will award scholarships to school and college students on merit.

“Our target is that no hardworking student should have to quit higher education over lack of resources,” the minister said in his speech.

Under the laptop scheme that was run successfully in Punjab in 2013-18, the federal government in the current fiscal year distributed 100,000 laptops to merit-based deserving students. To continue this scheme, Rs10 billion have been allocated in the next financial year.

Rs5 billion have been allocated for the development of professional sports, schools and colleges.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 11, 2023 at 7:56pm

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman: Pretty Hopeless for Indian Companies to Try and Compete with them

Sam Altman, the creator of ChatGPT, expressed his belief that India’s attempt to develop a foundational AI model similar to ChatGPT may not be worth pursuing.

CEO of OpenAI and creator of ChatGPT Sam Altman was in India for the last couple of days. His visit was concentrated broadly on the way forward and regulation in the area of artificial intelligence (AI).

Meeting with the students of Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Delhi on Thursday, June 8, 2023, for a one-on-one session with Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, the 38-year-old techie’s emphasis was on the AI tool.

During his visit to India, Sam Altman’s one statement captured the attention of Indians, coinciding with the country’s efforts to formulate AI regulations under the Digital India Bill. The bill, which has been in progress since the previous year, signifies the timing of Altman’s visit.

Sam Altman claimed that Indians would be “totally hopeless” if they attempted to develop something akin to ChatGPT.

This observation gained widespread attention, particularly considering the challenges that tech enthusiasts often face in the country.

Altman’s remarks about the difficulty of freely expressing opinions without taking responsibility for their accuracy among Indian techies sparked a viral response on social media soon after he made them.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 18, 2023 at 8:27pm

#India’s deadly #traincrash: Forget the truth, blame it on #Muslims. It’s the latest instance of how in an #Islamophobic India, justice and accountability have themselves been derailed. #Hindutva #Islamophobia #Modi #BJP via @AJEnglish

By Apoorvanand

Apoorvanand teaches Hindi at the University of Delhi. He writes literary and cultural criticism.

It happens only in India that even a train accident is used as an opportunity to demonise Muslims.

Just after the recent terrible train crash near Balasore station in the eastern state of Odisha, in which more than 280 people died, posts started circulating on different social media platforms and WhatsApp groups, blaming Muslims for the accident.

Could it be a coincidence that it was a Friday when three trains collided with each other in Odisha? As if the Friday angle was not sufficient, a lie was invented that the station master was Muslim. To make it look more sinister, the photo of a religious shrine near the railway track where the accident had taken place was spread on social media claiming that it was a mosque, suggesting that there must be some link between the mosque and the accident.

It was immediately exposed as a lie. It was a Hindu temple and not a mosque. But imagine if it had actually been a mosque – the baseless conspiracy theory would have received fresh wings.

Sadly, fact-checking only cements doubts created by fake news in minds that are already prejudiced against Muslims and are being told day and night that Muslims are conspiring against the nation. These are minds trained to think that there is a need to keep an eye on Muslims and to subjugate them using laws and, if necessary, violence.

The railway minister ordered an inquiry into the accident by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which has long given up the pretence of acting as an independent investigative agency and is principally used to target political opponents and probe cases along ideological lines laid down by the country’s ruling masters.

In this case, handing the case over to the CBI circumvents the normal process in such situations, which is an investigation by the commissioner of safety. The result: Instead of paying attention to flaws in safety measures, which could raise uncomfortable questions for the government, the investigation into the accident will now keep alive a criminal conspiracy theory. It aligns with the rumours spread just after the accident.

Close on the heels of this accident, the chief minister of the state of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, made a speech to discourage the use of chemicals in farming. Giving it an anti-Muslim twist, he vowed that “fertiliser jihad” would not be allowed. He was using this occasion to target Bengali Muslims in his state, whose main occupation is farming. Suggesting that they were spoiling the land by using chemicals, he was giving yet another justification for evicting Bengali Muslims and taking away their land, building on a campaign he has relentlessly pursued in recent years.

Sarma is recovering from the defeat of the BJP, his party, in the legislative election for the state of Karnataka, where he was a star campaigner. He, along with other leaders of the BJP, turned the election into an anti-Muslim hate campaign, saying that he had closed hundreds of madrasas and would ensure that all are closed. He also parroted familiar tropes about Indian Muslims, portraying them as against family planning. Statistics show that rates of polygamy are almost identical among Hindus and Muslims in India, and Muslim fertility rates have fallen sharply in recent decades. But facts are inconvenient when the aim is to spread lies about a religious minority community.


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