Just a little over six per cent students belonging to minority communities were enrolled in various technical education programmes in 2014-15, notwithstanding the government implementing various schemes to increase their participation in the higher education.
A comparison of the latest government data indicates that only a fraction of women (1.55%) belonging to minority communities were enrolled to the various technical education programmes across the country.
Women, however, constituted a little over 23 per cent among all minority community students pursing technical education, according to data with the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry.
Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis and Jains have been notified by the government as minority communities under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
Out of a total 20,81,210 students enrolled to technical and professional programmes at higher educational institutions during 2014-15, only 1,36,765 students are from minority communities.
The flash statistics on minority students in technical education indicate that majority of them preferred to take up engineering programmes over other technical and professional programmes like management, pharmacy, architecture and hotel management.
Tamil Nadu witnessed the highest number of minority students (19,315) enrolling to engineering programmes, followed by Kerala (15,050), Telangana (12,149), Karnataka (12,014), Maharashtra (11,882) and Andhra Pradesh (5,819).
According to the data, the percentage of literacy is lowest among Muslims though their population is highest when compared to Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis. The percentage of literacy among Muslims is 59. 1, Sikhs 69.4, Buddhists 72.7, Christians 80.3 and Parsis 97.9.
“Participation of Muslims in education is lowest because first their dropout rate is very high at secondary school level itself. They do not pursue their studies further because they cannot afford. Education loan is also not easy to get from banks,” M M Ansari, an economist and member of the University Grants Commission, told Deccan Herald.
He also charged the government of having a biased approach towards educational development of minority community. “You have reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but nothing no similar measures for minorities. The government must have a scheme to offer financial assistance to those from economically weaker section to promote education among minorities, especially Muslims in view of their socio economic conditions,” Ansari added.