In 2006, the Sachar Committee’s Report highlighted that Indian Muslims are among the most educationally disadvantaged communities in India, and that their deprivation is more pronounced as the level of education rises. More than 15 years since, Indian Muslims continue to remain on the margins of the education system. As few as 5.5% of all enrolled students in higher education in India are Muslims (AISHE 2019-2020). It is unsurprising therefore that freedom of Information requests reveal that only an approximate 4% of all Indian applicants at various UK universities are Indian Muslims.
Recognising this underrepresentation, as well as the systemic and dispositional barriers unique to Indian Muslim learners, we have been providing such learners customised mentorship support for all aspects of university and scholarship applications for higher education. Under our 2022-23 Mentorship Programme, as of May 2023, 31 Indian Muslim mentees had received admission offers from universities abroad. Two mentees received scholarships (Clarendon Scholarship and Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Scholarship) to study at the University of Oxford, another received the Felix Scholarship to study at the SOAS University of London and a fourth received the Inlaks Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge.
These results have only steeled our resolve to continue supporting Indian Muslim learners with their graduate applications through our India Graduate Mentorship Programme 2023-24. Moreover, we will work towards helping them avail more opportunities for professional and personal development, such as through internships, research assistantships and leadership programmes.