CAIRO – A new research has found that Muslim women are outperforming their male counterparts, gaining more academic degrees at British universities.
“Muslim girls seem to be outperforming Muslim boys, especially in relation to their school performance,” Dr Nabil Khattab of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in Qatar, told The Guardian.
“This is very interesting, given what we know about the gender gap among Muslims, not only in education but also in the labour market. While older men are more likely to be degree-holders than their female counterparts, younger women are more likely to have degrees.”
The research, by Dr Khattab and Professor Tariq Modood of the University of Bristol, will be revealed this week to the British Sociological Association annual conference.
It found that 25% of Muslim women aged 21-24 now have degrees, compared with 22% of Muslim men of the same age.
Same results found that the trend for girls to outperform boys had been well observed among non-Muslim students for some time.
“On the other hand, it is very new among Muslims,” he said.
“Nevertheless, that it has happened at all is remarkable when one considers that in 1990 and 1991 Pakistani and Bangladeshi men admitted to higher education outnumbered their female peers by more than two to one and more than three to one respectively.”
According to Khattab, women usually seek to get higher education, particularly those planning to become economically active after leaving school.
“This can reinforce their determination to obtain higher education qualifications not only as good as those of the majority group but even better, in order to resist the anticipated labor market discrimination preventing them from achieving a desired job,” he said.
Academics added that women’s success in education extended to school level where girls achieve higher scores than boys in tests.
All in all, secondary schools Muslim pupils performed as well as non-Muslim students, and were catching up with them by the time they took GCSEs.
“Once we take the previous school performance into account, Muslim students seem to be performing as well as the majority group, even in attending elite Russell Group universities,” they claim.
“At the GCSE level, there was a clear advantage among Muslims. This finding is striking, given the well-established educational disadvantages among some Muslim ethnic groups, most notably Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.”
For years, independent Islamic schools remained at the top score of UK GCSE results, setting example for faith schools as successful, highly-achieving and inspiring educational institutes in Britain.
The Muslim schools overall average of students who received 5 or more A*- C grade GCSEs, including English & Maths, exceeded the national average with 9 schools achieving a 100% success rate – only 55 schools achieved the 100% landmark in the whole of the UK.
Check a short list of the successful examples as the highest-achieving Islamic educational institutes in Britain here.