ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Progress, Retention and Aspirations

Muslim Girls in Urdu Medium Schools of Maharashtra

A revolution is underway in the Muslim community with regard to girls' education. A larger number of Muslim girls is now enrolled in schools, than boys. However, education in Urdu medium, which is weakly linked with the state and market, signifi cantly affects aspirations among the girls. A substantial proportion of students from this community is found with "not clear or no aspirations." This may further compromise the socio-economic prospect of the community which is already at the margins.

Of late, the educational level and enrolment of Muslim girls have shown a consistent rise in Maharashtra. With time, Muslim girls aspire to establish their rightful place in the society and the community. Currently, 95% of students enrolled in the Urdu medium schools in Maharashtra are Muslims. Among them, girls constitute a significantly large proportion at each level of enrolments. However, due to various reasons, as the Urdu medium schools have a relatively poor quality of education, Muslim girls’ larger educational mobility and career prospects are affected badly.

The predicament and politics of language, specifically of Urdu in India, and its impact on Muslim education, specifically on girls’ education, and their career prospects, have been enormous. Urdu as a language is of secular origin. Unfortunately, a large section of the Muslim clergy and intellectuals have emphasised it as if it belongs only to Islam and Muslims. Also, a large section of Muslims send their children to Urdu schools as they consider that studying it is the only way to understand Islam and Muslim culture.

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