Faith Capital and Education: Islam’s Influence on Muslim Youth’s Higher Education Aspirations
As traditional Christianity has declined in the UK, Islam has rapidly grown. After Christianity Islam is the second largest religion in the UK. By 2050, Muslims will represent 16% or 13 million people in the UK population. With 33% of the UK Muslim population currently aged 15 or under they represent a key low-researched demographic.
Participation in UK higher education continues to rise rapidly amongst Black and ethnic Minorities (BAME) who now represent one in six of home undergraduates in England. Despite increased ethnic participation in HE, Muslim youth have low levels of qualifications, with only a quarter of over 16 year olds achieving level 4 and above qualifications. Within the Muslim community there is a strong focus on educational leadership. Links between Muslim youth’s faith and educational ambitions are important to explore in order to understand the possible benefits of this alliance.
This research project involved a one-day conference-workshop in York’s city centre that involved presenters and panellists (Imams, head teachers, Muslim youth, higher education academics and researchers). This event is being used to explore issues around Islam and Muslim youth’s ‘faith capital’ (resources) and their educational aspirations.