Karnataka: 50% Muslim students dropped out of government colleges due to hijab controversy

Following the Karnataka government’s ban on hijab in educational institutions, many Muslim students have shifted to private colleges from government colleges.

The data, which was accessed by Indian Express, shows that a total of 1,296 children enrolled in Class XI (also known as Pre-University College PUC in Karnataka) during the year 2021-22. In 2022-23 the number was 1,320.

In government colleges, however, 388 Muslim students were enrolled in Class XI in 2021-22, the number decreased to 186 in 2022-23.

According to the research, only 91 Muslim girls enrolled in government colleges this academic year, compared to 178 in the 2021-22 academic year.

The number of Muslim boys enrolled in government colleges fell from 210 to 100.

In contrast, enrollment of Muslim students in the district’s private (or unassisted) pre-university colleges has increased. 927 Muslim students enrolled in PUCL in unaided colleges in 2022–2023 as opposed to 662 in 2021–2022. There’s a rise in Muslim boys’ admissions from 334 to 440 and Muslim girls’ admissions from 328 to 487.

Salihath PU College in Udupi is an example. According to the private institution, 30 Muslim girls were studying in PUCI (or Class 11) in 2021-22, the number has risen to 57 in 2022-23.

“The enrollment of Muslim girls in our PU college has almost dou- bled for the first time. This is a tes- tament to how the hijab issue has actually impacted them person- ally and academically,” Aslam Haikady, adminstrator of the Saliath Group of Education was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

Habeeb Rehman, the principal of Al Ihsan PU college, an other private institution, told Indian Express, “The trend in boys, too, may be because parents want them to stay away from any agitation on hijab. Considering the communalisation and politicisation of hijab in government PU colleges in Udupi, parents may have de- cided to ensure they focus on education and discipline in private PU colleges this academic year.”

BC Nagesh, Karnataka’s Minister of School Education and Literacy, said, “When it comes to admission of students, we look at the overall students’ trend, irrespective of their religion, caste or creed. We don’t single out a particular com- munity or section and assess their admission numbers. Eventually, we want to ensure that we deliver quality education to all students, irrespective of their background. We feel, the overall admission numbers of all students in govern- ment PU colleges have increased considerably compared to previ- ous years. However, if at all there is a dip in the Muslim students’ numbers in Udupi government PU colleges, we will look into it.”

According to official surveys, the GAR (Gross Attendance Ratio) of Muslim women in higher education climbed from 1.1 percent in 2007-08 to 15.8 percent in 2017-18. In this context, the GAR is the ratio of Muslim women aged 18 to 23 attending college to the total number of Muslim women in that age cohort.

Furthermore, all enrolled Muslim women students had appeared in the final test held in April 2022, according to the sole district in deputy directors of the PU (Pre-University) Board of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.

The admissions records highlight a noticeable trend at the Government PU College in Udupi, which was at the centre of the demonstrations. Here, 41 Muslim girls enrolled in the first PU in 2021-22, the highest number since 2018-19. In 2022-23, the college had 27 fresh admissions in the same grade.

Karnataka Hijab Row

A school uniform dispute was reported in the Indian state of Karnataka at the beginning of February 2022, when some Muslim students of a junior college who wanted to wear hijab to classes were denied entry on the grounds that it was a violation of the college’s uniform policy.

The Karnataka government issued an order on February 5th declaring that uniforms must be worn where policies exist and that no exceptions may be made for the wearing of the hijab. Several educational institutions used this directive and barred Muslim girls wearing the headscarf from entering.

On February 10, the High Court issued an interim ruling prohibiting all pupils from wearing religious clothing. The directive was executed in all Karnataka schools and colleges, with students and, in certain circumstances, teachers being asked to remove their hijabs and burqas outside the school gates.

The court’s decision to uphold the hijab limitations was made on March 15, 2022. The court determined that the headscarf is not a requirement for practising Islam.


By: Muslim Mirror


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