Sincere efforts can only address less pre primary education in Muslims

By Dr Kouser Fathima for,

The recently released “State of the World Children Report-2016” by UNICEF says 34% of Muslim children have no access to pre primary education or they did not attend pre-school. These figures are disturbing for the community but not surprising as the number of literate Muslims itself is less, comparatively.

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This data will certainly produce some reactions, blaming and then forgotten with hardly any concrete action to check the problem.

The reasons for this low number can be many ranging from low literacy amongst Muslims, early marriages, immature or irresponsible parents, economical backwardness and lack of pre primary schools in the area. Add it with callous educational authorities and political leaders who use Muslims only for vote bank politics, indulging in symbolism and no concrete plan or action for their upliftment .Governments and political parties indulge in so called “minority appeasement”, at times even arrange Iftar parties in Ramdan. Muslim leaders too were seen happy to be part of the appeasement and seldom focused on the real issues of the community. Even the religious and social leaders did nothing concrete in encouraging and empowering the Muslims.

The result is a blame game, politicians blaming the religious and cultural practices while community leaders blaming the politicians, both passing the ball onto each other. The solutions are not very tough but the problems are needed to be looked into to address them. The emphasis on education especially of girls, stopping early marriages, focusing on economic independence and pressurizing the authorities to increase number of pre primary schools in Muslim areas are some of the solutions that may will help in addressing the issue.

The responsibility of community as a whole cannot be ruled out and therefore Mosques and Madrasas should also start pre primary schools at a nominal charge or free if possible. As stated the problem is not big but needs sincere efforts to handle it. Emphasis on education at all ages and all classes is the only way for social and economic empowerment of the Muslim community.

(The author is a Bengaluru based writer. She can be reached at twitter @drkf_18)