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Research Study on Maharashtra Urdu Schools – Girls outnumber Boys in Urdu Schools

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By A Staff Writer

Maharashtra accounts for the largest number of Urdu medium students in the country. Their number currently stands at 12,99,629. The State had 4,900 Urdu medium schools, as per statistics available till 2013-14. Of the 13 lakh students, 57.1% were girls. Greater Mumbai accounted for 15% of the total girls enrolled in the Urdu medium schools. Thane, Nashik, Aurangabad followed Mumbai (in that order). However, what is noteworthy is that in all the districts, except Gondia and Sindhudurg, the share of girl students in Urdu medium schools is far higher than boys at the state level. Out of 35 districts, in 21 districts, as per the data, the share of girls was higher than the state average share of girls, that is, 57.1%. In fact, in many districts””Pune (65%), Ahmednagar (66.3%), Bhandara (66.4%), Latur (68.2%), Osmanabad (68.4%) and Gadchiroli (68.9%)””girls constitute more than 65% of the total students enrolled in Urdu medium schools. Meanwhile, in Mumbai Suburban, Mumbai and Thane districts, the share of girl students was above 55% of the total students enrolled in Urdu medium schools.

Urdu Teachers Posts Vacant
Of the total students in the Urdu medium schools, 95% are Muslims. Since many of the posts of teachers are reserved for SCs, STs and the OBCs, hundreds of Urdu teachers posts remain vacant as teachers from those reserved categories would have studied only through Marathi or English or any other language medium. It should come as a pleasant surprise that in none of the other medium schools, the proportion of girls is as high as in Urdu medium schools which indicates a revolution in terms of girls enrolment in the Muslim community. Curiously, in Marathi medium schools (Marathi is the state’s official language), the proportion of girls is 46.7%.

More Boys Drop Out
According to a study by Mr. Abdul Shaban of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS),
whereas in the Marathi, English and Hindi medium schools in the state, the number of girls enrolled per thousand boys in 2013″“14 was 878, 725 and 979, respectively; in the Urdu medium schools it was 1,331. This shows that not only a lesser number of boys enrol in Urdu medium schools in the state in comparison to girls, but also the dropout rate of boys from Urdu medium schools is higher than the girls’ dropout rates.
However, Urdu schools record a painfully high rate of dropout. Out of 100 girls enrolled in Urdu medium schools in Maharashtra, only about 28 reach the senior secondary (SSC or 10th std.) level, while only about 11 reach up to higher secondary (HSC or 12th std.) level.
The number of Muslim girls enrolled in Hindi medium schools at the state level in 2013″“14 was 43,706, while the number of Muslim boys enrolled in these schools was 58,194. The study also points out that while at the entry stage in primary schools, boys outnumber the girls, the number of boys dwindle at later stages and girls begin to outnumber the boys. This serves as an indication of higher dropout rate of Muslim boys.
A survey conducted by the TISS on nearly 2,734 Muslim girls and 3,033 girl students, reveals that 62% Muslim girls had no clear aspirations and 9.3% had ‘no aspiration’. As against girls, 62.4% of boys (54.6% with no clear aspirations and 7.8% with ‘no aspirations’) have no clarity about their future jobs. As a large proportion of Muslim students from both genders do not show any aspirations, it does not augur well for the future of community, which is already marginalized, the study observes. The study says, since Urdu is neither linked with market nor state, the students have no clear idea about what to do in future.
(For a look at the full report, log onto: http://www.epw.in/journal/2016/25/notes/muslim-girls-urdu-medium-schools-maharashtra.html)