Muslim student strength in higher education fell by 1.79 lakh in 2020-21

Muslim student strength in higher education fell by 1.79 lakh in 2020-21


According to research based on data from the Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) and the All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE), enrollment in higher education among Muslim students aged 18 to 23 fell by more than 8.5% in 2020-21.

What is the Unified District Information System For Education Plus (UDISE+)?

  • The Indian government’s implementation of the Unified District Information System For Education Plus (UDISE+) is a critical step in improving the country’s educational quality. 
  • The application functions as a complete, real-time, and credible information collection device for objectively analyzing the school education system. 
  • It is a mechanism for collecting data from schools online.
  • In 2018-19, it is being created by the Department of School Education and Literacy.
  • It was created to address the challenges associated with manual data entry on paper.
  • There have been advancements in data capture, data mapping, and data verification.
  • Data on digital libraries, peer learning, hard spot detection, and the number of books available in libraries were collected for the first time.
  • This is done to ensure that the UDISE+ is in line with the NEP 2020 aims.

What does the recent data taken by  UDISE+  portray?

  • Enrollment Drop (2020-21):
      • Enrollment in higher education for Muslim students aged 18 to 23 fell by more than 8.5% in the 2020-21 academic year.
      • In 2020-21, the number of Muslim students enrolled in higher education fell from 21 lakh in 2019-20 to 19.21 lakh.
  • Trends in Long-Term Enrollment:
      • The aggregate number of Muslim students enrolling in higher education increased from 17,39,218 in 2016-17 to 21,00,860 in 2019-20.
      • However, Muslim enrollment fell to 19,21,713 pupils in 2020-21, a drop of 1,79,147 students in absolute terms.
      • The proportion of Muslim students enrolling in higher education as a percentage of overall enrollment fell somewhat, from 4.87% in 2016-17 to 4.64% in 2020-21.
  • Higher Class Enrollment is Declining:
      • There is a consistent pattern of reduced enrollment percentages of Muslim students in Classes 11 and 12 across all States and Union Territories when compared to previous classes.
      • The reduction in representation begins in Class 6 and is most pronounced in Classes 11 and 12.
  • Disparities per Region:
      • States with lower GERs for Muslim pupils, such as Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, indicate that many Muslim children in these states are not enrolled in school.
  • Dropout Rates:
      • The report highlights a higher dropout rate among Muslim students at the secondary level (18.64%) compared to the overall dropout rate for all students (12.6%).
      • Assam (29.52%) and West Bengal (23.22%) recorded particularly high dropout rates among Muslim students, while Jammu and Kashmir recorded 5.1% and Kerala 11.91%.
  • Financial Constraints:
    • Many Muslim students come from low-income families and face challenges in affording the cost of higher education.
    • The report recommends addressing this issue by providing financial assistance, including scholarships, grants, and financial aid, specifically targeted at Muslim students.

What are the Recommendations provided by the UDISE+ 

  • To bridge the enrollment and dropout gaps among Muslim students, the report suggests implementing targeted support and inclusive policies.
  • Identifying and enrolling out-of-school children in age-appropriate classes, especially in states with lower GER, is recommended as a priority.


In summary, the paper emphasizes the need for comprehensive initiatives, such as targeted financial assistance and inclusive legislation, to offer equal educational opportunities for Muslim students in India and address identified enrollment and retention difficulties.