A lot of Muslim women leave education before class 12th. Muslim women have the lowest secondary school education rate among the minorities in India. Most of them drop before class 12th. A report of National Family Health Survey (2015-16) says that only 21.2 % of Muslim women are able to go for education after class 12th. Education of Muslim women are 11.4 % lower than the average of other religion in India.
Majra, who dropped school after class 10th said, “I wanted to go to college but my parents did not allow me to go. My elder sister is now married and they are trying to find a match for me”.
Sabiha, Majra’s Mother said, “My all three daughters have studied till class 10th. Now her father, does not allow them to study more. You can see the environment nowadays, if my daughter go out people will gossip about them. Thus, I do not allow them to go out”.
Shama Parveen also met a same fate like Majra. She wanted to become a teacher but was not able to study further. She said, “my parents had to go out for work. Thus, to prevent any mishaps they sent me to my aunt. She asked me to drop my education”. Her mother, Syeda Bi said, “I was interested to teach my daughter but her paternal aunt did not allow her to teach her.”
A research by Sachar, a Non Government Organization says Percentage of Muslims in all courses is low, particularly at the Postgraduate level and marginal in the science stream. For example, in Goussia College out of 1400 students only 300 are Muslim girls.
Abdul Aziz, a sociologist who works for minority upliftment said, “education after college amongst Muslim women is low because of the taboo amongst Muslims to send their daughters to college, and also, because subjects are in English, which decreases their competency”. He further said, based on his recent survey, the trend is changing in urban region but still rural area has same trend of not sending their daughters for higher education. He also said a lot of people are not able to go to secondary schools because of their distance.
While many blame economic backwardness to be the reason, a report by Asha Bharti, an NGO, says conservatism is the major cause of Muslims not sending their daughters for higher education.