CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu led the country in admitting students from the minorities to various technical and professional courses during the academic year 2014-15.
According to a report released by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) recently, 21,280 minority students were admitted to 1,713 higher education institutes in Tamil Nadu, the highest in the country. Almost a sixth of the total number of minority students in India were admitted in Tamil Nadu colleges.
The report covers all higher education institutes in the country offering courses in engineering & technology, management, MCA, pharmacy, applied arts & crafts, architecture & town planning and hotel management & catering.
Of the 21,280 admitted from minority communities in Tamil Nadu, around 19,315 were engineering graduates. Among them, more than two-third were boys and the remaining 4,471 were girls. Standing next to Tamil Nadu in total number of minority students admitted in 2014-15 was Kerala, with 17,574 students.
Kerala also topped the country in percentage of minority students. According to the report, 24.9 per cent of total students studying in 931 higher education institutes were from minority communities. This was four times higher than the national average of 6.6 per cent. Tamil Nadu’s numbers were marginally above national figures — 6.89 per cent.
Educationist Prince Gajendra Babu said social justice movements in Tamil Nadu have always protected the interest of minorities’ welfare and Dravidian parties also supported them through various welfare schemes. Of late, reservation for minorities not only in education but also employment for minorities by the State government has also helped in its substantial progress, he added.
The percentage of other states, including Gujarat (2.5 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (3.8 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (3.9 per cent) and Uttarakhand (3.2 per cent) was less than 4 per cent.
The overall national average reflected poor admission for minority students. The percentage of minorities varied between zero and seven in most other states.
Four states — Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland — and one union territory Daman and Diu recorded zero minority representation in their institutions last academic year. In Arunachal Pradesh, only one minority student had pursued engineering and technology.
Some courses that saw a high percentage of minority students include hotel management and catering at two institutes in Goa, where minorities comprise 55.9 per cent of enrollment and architecture and planning courses in Chandigardh, which had 36.8 per cent minorities.
The Centre has set up a Standing Committee to address issues relating to educational empowerment of minorities.