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23 November 2011

Maharashtra Muslims lagging behind in education, jobs: Maharashtra State Minorities Commission

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IMO News Service

Mumbai: The Maharashtra State Minorities Commission submitted a report last week preented to it by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), which stated that Muslims in the western State of Maharashtra are considerably lagging behind the rest in education, jobs and economic progress. However, they are still better off compared to their counterparts in many north Indian states.

D.P. Singh a professor at the Center for Research Methodology at TISS, conducted the study of the “demographic, socio-economic and educational status of the Muslim community in Maharashtra”, and revealed that a sizeable Muslim population has not at all entered the education system in the state and that the employment rate was also much lower than the general population.

Mr. Singh has recommended that more awareness must be created about the various policies, schemes and scholarships meant for Muslims.

“Over the last 20 years, the literacy level of the Muslim community has gone up in Maharashtra. But compared to other minority groups, it is much lower. Adult male literacy was also much lower as compared to the general population. Hence, their educational qualification must be enhanced to compete with other groups,” said Singh.

“Further, they are mostly engaged in unskilled jobs owing to their low educational qualifications. Better training facilities should be made available them. It is also important to remove the obstacles responsible for the high dropout rates. The situation will improve when both the academic and economic fronts are taken care of”, Singh added.

Mr. Singh in his report revealed that among the population age 5-29 years, 53.9 percent of Muslims are currently not enrolled in educational institutions, while the percentage of Hindus not attending school or college stands at 46.3 percent. Thus in comparison to the Hindu community, Muslims were found to be similar in educational achievement, but lag behind other minority communities like Jains, Sikhs, Christians and Zoroastrians.

“The reasons for Muslims dropping out were multiple. Among the Muslim community, 30 percent in rural areas and 25 percent in urban areas cited financial and economic reasons for not attending school or college or for discontinuation. Need to join the labor force early was a predominant factor. Unemployment rate among Muslims was found to be higher than that of the total figure for Maharashtra and it was found to be much higher in urban areas where concentration of the Muslim community is higher,” said Mr. Singh in his report.

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