Despite almost trebling in the decade ending 2010 – from 5.2% to 13.8% – the rate of Muslim enrolment in higher education trailed the national figure of 23.6% and that of other backward classes (22.1%) and scheduled castes (18.5%). Scheduled tribes lagged Muslims by 0.5%.
The rate of enrolment is a measure of the number of enrolments in higher education, regardless of age, in a given academic year compared to the 18- to 23-year-old population eligible for higher education in that year.
Source: SAGE Publications, All India Survey on Higher Education, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Sikh Institute, UNESCO, National Sample Survey Office. Notes:1. Gross Enrolment Ratio for Other Backward Classes and Muslims shown for 2000-01 is from 1999-2000.2. Gross Enrolment Ratio for Other Backward Classes and Muslims shown for 2014-15 is from 2009-10.3. OBC share of population: Kaka Kalelkar Commission estimate. OBC share in population has been variously reported since Independence, with no definite assessment as the last caste census in India was done in 1931.4. SC and ST literacy rates for 2014-2015 are from NSS 55th Round.5. OBC Literacy Rate: 54.8% rural, 75.3% urban6. Muslim Literacy rate: rural male 69.1%, urban male 81%, rural female 47.4%, rural male 65.5%
In proportion to their population, Muslims were worse-off than scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Muslims comprise 14% of India’s population but account for 4.4% of students enrolled in higher education, according to the 2014-’15 All India Survey on Higher Education.
The situation has worsened over the last half century, according to the 2006 Sachar Committee, appointed to examine the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community.
Among younger members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, (aged 20 to 30), the committee reported three times the proportion of graduates as in older scheduled castes and scheduled tribes (aged 51 years and above). Among Muslims, the committee found double the proportion of graduates among younger Muslims compared to older ones, “a widening gap between Muslim men and women compared with ‘All Others’, and an almost certain possibility that Muslims will fall far behind even the SCs/STs, [scheduled castes and scheduled tribes] if the trend is not reversed”.