Bihar: Muslim girl students increasingly secure first division in state, madrassa board exams

File picture of Minority Welfare Department Bihar

Sami Ahmad,

Muslim students in Bihar show upward trends in topping board examinations if their performance of the last five years is tracked. Data collected from the Mukhymantri Vidyarthi Protsahan Yojna (MVPY, Chief Minister Students Incentive Scheme) shows interesting outcomes regarding the performance of girls and boys, revealing significant facts about the district-wise performance of Muslim students.

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A cursory study of the scheme-related data shows that the overall top-performing districts of Muslim students are Darbhanga, East Champaran, Prunea and Araria. Interestingly, among girls Darbhanga, Araria and Purnea districts have recorded the top performers in board examinations. Capital Patna’s performance is nowhere near the top but analysts suggest it might be because the number of Muslim students studying in government schools is not that high in the city. Similarly, a prominent district in South Bihar, Gaya’s performance is also not attractive. It figured only once among the top 5 of first divisioners.

What is Mukhymantri Vidyarthi Protsahan Yojna?

Under this scheme, all minority community students of Matriculation (10th) and Muslim girl students of Intermediate (12th) who secure first division in their board examination receive a lumpsum amount as an incentive.

Zaman Khan, Minister of Minority Welfare Department told, “MVPY is a dream project of chief minister Nitish Kumar for the upliftment of minority students.” The incentive programme also includes the Bihar Madrassa Board students who secure first divisions in the Fauqaniya and Maulvi levels. For the Fauqaniya first divisioners an incentive of Rs. 10,000 is reserved while Rs. 15,000 is awarded to the Maulvi first division holders.

“Our officials say that this scheme has helped in enhancing the performance of the minority students and we are trying to benefit more students in the coming years,” added Khan.

Girls outsmart boys in Bihar state boards at matriculation and intermediate: MVPY data

There were 33148 Muslim girls who secured first division in their Intermediate Board examination in 2022, the highest since 2018. It is estimated that the number of first rankers among girls will reach around thirty-five thousand this year in 2023.

In 2018, only 5394 girls had scored first division marks in the Intermediate Board examination while in 2019, this figure rose to a whopping 28115. An increase in 2021 to 26684 from 26324 in 2020 was recorded in official figures. Many believe that the decrease in 2020 was caused due to Covid-19.

For the 10th board examinations, the number of minority students (including both girl and boy students, even those opting for Bangla as a subject) who secured first division in 2022 was 50420. The current number is a slight jump from 50114 in 2021. Further, the government data shows that there is a constant increase in this number over a period of five years with the figures being 21863 in 2018, 31613 in 2019 and 41522 in 2020.

Muslim girls securing first division in the Intermediate Board examination from Darbhanga was maximum in 2022 at 2133. The district had a good number in previous years too (1615 in 2021 and 1586 in 2020 respectively). Figures for the Matriculation Board examination for Darbhanga recorded 1399 first divisioners among girls in 2022 – again being the highest. The figures suggest that dropout rates and good performance in Darbhanga balance out the figures.

Followed by Darbhanga is Muzaffarpur with 2090 first divisioners in the Intermediate. Siwan, Gaya and East Champaran fared at the third, fourth and fifth positions with 1770, 1754 and 1708 first divisioners.

Increasing dropouts, performance deficiencies plague Bihar madrassa board

The Bihar Madrassa Board equivalent of Matriculation i.e. Fauqaniya and Intermediate i.e. Maulvi also showed some surprising outcomes. The number of girls (including both Muslim and non-Muslims) who passed out in Maulvi was only 5613. Data from the MVPY showed that the first divisioners in Maulvi witnessed a decrease of over forty percent in the past five years.

Similarly, the madrassa equivalent of Intermediate – Fauqaniya, recorded 9829 first divisioners in 2022. This number was quite less in earlier years, having hardly crossed three thousand figures. This downward trend in numbers in Fauqaniya indicate both increasing dropout rates and performance deficiencies among madrassa education.

Secretary of Bihar Rabita Committee, Afzal Hussain has prepared a compendium of important government schemes, particularly for minorities. He told that this scheme (MVPY) has “certainly helped the students and it is heartening to see that the number of Muslim students securing first division is on a strong uptrend.” However, the amount for this scheme should be doubled as it has not been revised after its inception, he added.

Araria and Purnea excel in Madrassa education

Araria district recorded the highest number (1102) of first divisioners in the Maulvi Board examination of Bihar State Madrassa Education Board in 2022. Katihar, Purnea, East Champaran and Kishanganj held the second, third, fourth and fifth spots with 769, 768, 712 and 447 first division holders respectively in the Maulvi Board examination.

Similarly, in the Fauqaniya level, Purnea was the topper with overall 1195 first divisioners. The district topped with 680 girl first rankers and 515 boy first divisioners respectively. Meanwhile, Katithar came second with 665 girl first rank holders and 488 boy first divisioners in Fauqaniya.

Girls ahead in madrassa board’s matric and intermediate but receive incentive only once

The number of girls getting first division in the Fauqaniya Board examination in 2022 was 5825 while among boys the number was 1820. At the Matriculation level, 23817 girls got first division whereas 26603 boys secured the rank.

Altogether, out of 30 districts from the total 38 districts of Bihar, the number of girls getting first division is much higher than boys even in madrassa boards. Additionally, in 11 districts including Aurangabad, Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Nawada, Patna, Saran, Siwan and Vaishali, girls have outshone boys in getting first division at the Matriculation level.

While Minority Welfare Department’s Khan praised the MVPY saying “ethe minority girl students are getting incentives in good numbers,” it is interesting to note that despite girls scoring much higher in both the state and madrassa examinations of Bihar, only those passing at the Intermediate level are awarded with the incentive.