What makes a community — especially a religious one — educationally backward? The data from the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MMA) suggests that lack of trying by the government is not a reason.
As a follow-up to the Sachar Committee recommendations, the MMA commissioned a study to understand the reasons for high school drop-out rates in minority-dominated areas. It found that in Assam’s Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs) like Barpeta, Darrang and Dhubri, 88.89 per cent to 100 per cent of the schools at the primary, upper primary, secondary and senior secondary level were pucca buildings. In Mewat district, separate toilet facilities for girls ranged from 88.89 per cent to 100 per cent. In other words, infrastructure is not a problem.
The problem seems to be trained teachers. And the children are not dropping out — except in Haryana.
The report found that the major reasons for dropping out of minority children was poverty (92 per cent), illiteracy of the parents (78 per cent), early marriage among Muslim girls (37 per cent), non-availability of separate toilet facilities for girls (32 per cent) and migration of families to other places in search of livelihood and jobs (24 per cent).