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Education and Caste in India
Seven decades since Indian Independence, education takes the centre stage in every major discussion on development, especially when we talk about social exclusion, Dalits and reservations today. This book examines social inclusion in the education sector in India for Scheduled Castes (SCs). The volume: • • • • •
Foregrounds the historical struggles of the SCs to understand why the quest for education is so central to shaping SC consciousness and aspirations; Works with exhaustive state-level studies with a view to assessing commonalities and differences in the educational status of SCs today; Takes stock of the policymaking and extent of implementations across Indian states to understand the challenges faced in different scenarios; Seeks to analyse the differential in existing economic conditions, and other structural constraints, in relation to access to quality educational facilities; Examines the social perceptions and experiences of SC students as they live now.
A major study, the volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of education, sociology and social anthropology, development studies and South Asian studies. Ghanshyam Shah is former Professor in Social Sciences at the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. He has also been a national fellow at ICSSR, Delhi, and at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, India. Kanak Kanti Bagchi is Professor at the Department of Economics, University of North Bengal, Siliguri, West Bengal, India. Vishwanatha Kalaiah is Professor and Chairman at the Department of Economics and Director, Centre for Study for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy Mangalore University, Mangalore, India.
Education and Caste in India
The Dalit Question
Edited by Ghanshyam Shah, Kanak Kanti Bagchi and Vishwanatha Kalaiah
First published 2020 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 selection and editorial matter, Ghanshyam Shah, Kanak Kanti Bagchi and Vishwanatha Kalaiah; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Ghanshyam Shah, Kanak Kanti Bagchi and Vishwanatha Kalaiah to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-0-367-20254-5(hbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-31701-9(ebk) Typeset in Sabon by Apex CoVantage, LLC
List of fgures List of tables Contributors Preface and acknowledgement Abbreviations 1 Introduction: education and the Scheduled Castes
vii viii xiii xv xvii 1
G H A N S H YA M SH AH
2 Education among Scheduled Castes in India: a review of literature
B H A R AT C H A N DRA RO UT
3 Aspirations and achievements of Scheduled Caste students in Kerala
S . I R U D AYA R AJA N AN D S. SUN ITH A
4 Land ownership and the levels of educational attainment in Haryana
K . V. C H A M A R , S.K. CH A MA R A N D N .K. CH AMAR
High schools 5 Access, discrimination and educational attainments of Scheduled Caste children in Karnataka V I S H WA N ATH A KA L AIA H
6 Educational attainments of Scheduled Caste children in Goa state
V I S H WA N AT H A KA L AIA H , V. RAMA KRISH N APPA AND K .P. S I D D A L I N GSWAMY
7 Scheduled Caste children and secondary schooling: sociological study of Andhra Pradesh
N A G A R A J U GUN DE ME DA AN D CH . KRISH NAR AO
8 Secondary education in Odisha: some challenges
R A M E S H C . MAL IK AN D B ASA N TA K. MA L L IK
Higher education 9 Higher education and the Scheduled Castes in Maharashtra
G O VA R D H A N WA N KH E DE
10 Higher education of Scheduled Caste students in West Bengal: a study on access, attainments and challenges
K A N A K K A NTI B A GCH I
11 Scheduled Castes in higher education in Gujarat
N A R E S H M . CH A UH AN
12 Educational status of Scheduled Caste women in Delhi
D . PA R I M A LA AN D A N JA L I DASH
Appendix I: ICSSR sponsored study on ‘educational status of Scheduled Castes: attainments and challenges’ 2012–14 Index
3.1 5.1 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 12.1
Literacy Level of SCs and General Population by Sex, Kerala Gross Enrolment Ratio of SCs in Higher Education (18–23 years) Social Category–Wise % Students’ Survival from 6th Standard to 12th Standard Percentage of Students’ Decline (% from the Same Category) Percentage of Students Who Faced Diffculties in Getting Admission Academic Performances of the Students by Caste (Division System) Distribution of SC and Non-SC HHs by Management of Their Children’s School
44 85 195 195 196 198 209
3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5
Samples Taken for the SC Educational Survey, 2013 Standard of Living of the Students According to Social Strata and Level of Education in Kerala, 2013 (%) Educational Aspirations of Students According to Their Standard of Living (%) Occupational Aspiration of Students According to Their Standard of Living (%) Bivariate Correlations Model Fitting Information for Performance of Students Likelihood Ratio Tests for Performance of Students Parameter Estimates for Performance of Students Model Fitting Information for Educational Aspirations of the Students Likelihood Ratio Tests for Educational Aspirations of Students Parameter Estimates for Educational Aspirations of Students Model Fitting Information for Occupational Aspirations of Students Likelihood Ratio Tests for Occupational Aspirations of Students Parameter Estimates for Occupational Aspirations of Students Haryana: Sample Households Haryana: Levels of Educational Attainment among Social Groups (%) Caste-Wise Levels of Educational Attainment among General Population (%) Levels of Educational Attainment among Other Backward Castes Population (%) Haryana: Levels of Educational Attainment among Scheduled Castes Population (%)
46 50 51 51 53 55 55 56 58 58 58 59 59 60 64 66 67 68 68
4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 4.10 4.11 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 5.10 5.11 5.12 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 6.10
Haryana: Caste-Wise Levels of Educational Attainment and Weighted Score among General Population Haryana: Caste-Wise Levels of Educational Attainment and Weighted Score among Other Backward Castes Population Haryana: Caste-Wise Levels of Educational Attainment and Weighted Score among Scheduled Castes Population Difference in Levels of Educational Attainment among Social Groups in Haryana (%) Differentials among Scheduled Castes and Non-Scheduled Castes in Haryana Total Score and Rank of Educational Attainment among Social Groups Literacy Rate among SCs across Rural and Urban Areas in Karnataka (%) Details of Number of Schools by Management Enrolment of Students in Schools across Category during 2012–13 Dropout Rates among SCs in Karnataka at Primary Education Level Travel Distance of Elementary Schools from Children’s Residence (%) Mode of Transport Used by Children to Reach School (%) Distance from Residence to Different Types of Schools (%) Mode of Transport to Reach School (%) SC Students’ Sub-Castes and Types of Schools (%) Educational Status of the Family Head of the School Students (%) Occupation of the Head of HHs of Students (%) Income Level of the Sample Students’ Family Head (per Month) (%) District-Wise Distribution of SC/ST Population in Goa – 2011 District-Wise Literacy Rates in Goa (2001–2011) Number of Schools by Level and Management, 2013–2014 Distribution of Schools by Rural/Urban (%) Distribution of Schools by Medium of Instruction (Nos.) Enrolment of SC Students in Schools during 2013–14 Distance from Residence and Mode of Transport Used to Reach School across Gender (%) Mode of Transport Children Use to Reach School (%) Distance from Residence to Different Types of Schools (%) Mode of Transport to Reach School (%)
70 71 72 73 73 74 81 82 83 84 86 87 89 90 91 93 95 96 100 101 101 103 103 104 107 108 109 109
6.11 6.12 6.13 7.1 7.2 7.3 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8
Educational Status of the Family Head of the School Students (%) Occupation of the Children’s Family Head (%) Income Level of the Sample Students’ Family Head (per Month) (%) Gender Profle of Secondary School Students (%) in Andhra Pradesh Education Levels of the Head of Secondary School Students’ Household (%) The Main Occupation of the Head of the Households of the School Students (%) Literacy Rate of Major Castes in 2001 and 2011 (%) in Odisha Levels of Education among the Major Scheduled Castes in Odisha (2001) (%) Enrolment of SC Students at Secondary School Level of the Studied Districts Educated Neighbours by Social Category (%) Seeking Guidance from Educated Neighbours by Social Category (%) Education Level of the Parents by Social Category (%) Students’ Households’ Land Ownership by Social Category (%) Types of Houses of Secondary Students by Social Category (%) Availability and Type of Ration Cards by Social Category (%) Distance of the Secondary School from Residence by Social Category (%) Diffculty in Comprehension in Classroom Teaching by Social Category (%) Reasons for Diffculties in Understanding Classroom Teaching by Social Category (%) Performances in Examination by Social Category (%) Sitting Arrangement in Classroom by Social Category (%) Course by Type of College (%) in Maharashtra SC Literacy in Maharashtra (%) Age of Respondents (%) Gender by Caste by Course (%) Castes among SC Students Parents’ Place of Living (%) Father’s Occupation by Type of College (%) Caste by Students’ HH Income by Course (%)
111 112 113 118 119 120 130 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 150 151 151 151 152 153 154 155
9.9 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 10.9 10.10 10.11 10.12 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 12.1 12.2
Household Assets (%) Someone Knowing English in Students’ Family (%) Educational Level of Father (%) Educational Level of Mother (%) Highest Education in Student’s Family (%) Residence of Students for Study (%) Student Working while Studying (%) Educational Aspirations of Students (%) Occupational Aspirations of Students (%) District-Wise Scheduled Caste Population Distribution in West Bengal: 2011 Census Literacy Rate among 16 Major SC Sub-Castes in West Bengal Proportion of Literates Aged 7 and Older in West Bengal Distribution of College Students on the Basis of with Whom the Student Lives at Present (%) Distribution of College Students on the Basis of Total Income of HHs (%) Distribution of College Students on the Basis of Main Occupation of the Earning Members of HHs (%) Distribution of College Students on the Basis of Highest Education Level Completed by Family Members (%) Distribution of College Students on the Basis of EnglishKnowing Members at Home (%) Distribution of College Students on the Basis of Expenditure Incurred (in Rs.) on Private Tuition (%) Distribution of College Students on the Basis of Results of Last Year’s Annual Examination (%) Distribution of College Students on the Basis of Aspirations for Level of Study (%) Distribution of College Students on the Basis of Aim to Become in Life (%) Kind of Occupation to Which the Students Studying at Different Levels Aspire (%) in Gujarat Distance of School/College from Residence (%) Geographical Location of Parents of College Students by Caste (%) Occupation of Students’ Fathers by Caste and Courses (%) Caste Composition of Students’ Neighbourhood (%) Literacy Rate of Population and SC Population in Delhi (%) Gender-Wise Gross Enrolment and Dropout Rate among SCs in Delhi and India (%)
156 156 157 158 159 160 160 161 162 167 167 173 175 176 177 179 180 182 183 185 186 194 197 199 200 201 207 208
12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 12.8 12.9 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13
Distribution of SC and Non-SC HHs by Gender-Wise Education of Their Children (%) Caste- and Gender-Wise Distance Travel for Colleges and Mode of Transport (%) Family Income of the SC and Non-SC College Students by Gender and Type of Institution (%) Occupation of Head of HHs of SC and Non-SC College Students by Gender and Type of Institution (%) Gender- and Caste-Wise Education of the HHs’ Head among School and College Students (%) Educational Aspiration among SC and Non-SC Students by Gender (%) Occupational Aspiration among SC and Non-SC Students by Gender (%) Academic Performance of SC and Non-SC College Students by Gender (%) Diffculties Faced by SC and Non-SC College Students by Gender (%) Academic Performance among SC and Non-SC College Students with Gender and Challenges (%) Importance of Education and Caste for Marriage among SC and Non-SC College Students by Gender (%)
210 211 212 214 214 215 216 217 218 219 220
Kanak Kanti Bagchi is Professor at the Department of Economics, University of North Bengal, Siliguri West Bengal, India. He has edited several books including State, Labour and Development: An Indian Perspective (2008), Good Governance and Development: An Indian Perspective, (co-edited) Social Security for Unorganised Workers in India – Issues and Concerns(2012), and International Migration of Labour – Nature, Trends, Determinants and Consequences(2015). His recent (co-authored) book is Reservation in Local Self-Government and Women’s Empowerment in West Bengal(2019). K.V. Chamar is Professor at the Department of Geography, M.D. University, Rohtak, India. N.K. Chamar is Research Scholar at the Department of Geography, M.D. University, Rohtak, India. S.K. Chamar is Research Scholar at the Department of Geography, M.D. University, Rohtak, India. Naresh M. Chauhan is Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics, Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, India. Anjali Dash is Post-doctoral Fellow at the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, India. Nagaraju Gundemeda is Professor at the Department of Sociology, Hyderabad Central University, Hyderabad, India. He has authored Education and Hegemony: Social Construction of Knowledge in India in the Era of Globalization (2014). Ch. Krishnarao is Assistant Professor in Sociology at the Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad, India. Ramesh C. Malik is Assistant Professor at the Department of History, Utkal University, Odisha, India.
Basanta K. Mallik is Professor at the Department of History, Utkal University, Odisha, India. D. Parimala is Associate Professor at the Department of Education, University of Delhi, India. S. Irudaya Rajan is Professor at the Centre for Development Studies, Kerala. He has recently published the edited volume India Migration Report 2019: Diaspora in Europe (2019). V. Ramakrishnappa is Associate Professor at the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP), Mangalore University, Mangalore D.K., Karnataka. Bharat Chandra Rout works as Consultant at the Institutions of Eminence, UGC, Delhi. Ghanshyam Shah is Former Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, and Centre for Social Studies, Surat, India. He has published (authored, co-authored and edited) more than twenty books. They include (ed.) Dalit Identity and Politics (2001), (ed.) Dalits and the State (2002); (co-authored) Untouchability in Rural India (2006), Democracy, Equality and Education (2012), Education and process of Inclusion under Neo-liberal Political Economy (2018), Democracy, Civil Society and Governance (2019), and (co-authored) Education and Scheduled Castes: Attainment and Challenges Ahead (2020). K.P. Siddalingswamy is Research Associate at the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP), Mangalore University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India. S. Sunitha is Research Associate at the Centre for Development Studies, Kerala, India. Vishwanatha Kalaiah is Professor and Chairman at the Department of Economics and Director, Centre for Study for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Mangalore University, Mangalore, India. Govardhan Wankhede is retired as Professor and Dean at the School of Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India. He has recently published (co-edited) Accessing Higher Education: Footprints of Marginalized Groups (2017).
Preface and acknowledgement
The present volume is an outcome of the ICSSR-sponsored project (2012– 14) on “Educational Status of Scheduled Castes: Attainments and Challenges”. At the completion of the project, most of the state project directors met at ICSSR Delhi for two days in February 2015 to discuss their fndings and presented papers focusing on some aspects of their studies. Later, again they met with the revised version of their papers at the Centre for Social Studies in January 2016. On the basis of discussion in these meetings and comments from experts, the papers have been revised/completely rewritten. In the process a few dropped out. An overall concern of the scholars has been to probe the role of education in the process of social inclusion in the socio-economic system of deprived communities with equality and dignity. With this perspective, they attempted to locate the constraints to have access to educational institutions at different levels in different parts of the country. The authors address the following questions: Is educational attainment even in all socio-economic strata of Scheduled Castes (SCs)? What hurdles do SCs face while accessing and pursuing education in schools and colleges? Has education empowered them to attain equal status and opportunities as others? What are the aspirations of SC parents for education for their children? How does gender mediate access and participation in education? Sukhado Thorat, then the Chairperson of ICSSR (2011–2016) has been a motivating force for the study. He participated in the frst seminar in 2015 when the papers were presented. Later, Virendra Kumar Malhotra, Member Secretary of ICSSR, not only encouraged the study but also actively participated and gave comments in the second seminar at Surat. At various stages of the project, we received support from Ramesh Dadhich, then the Member Secretary, G.S. Saun, Revathy Vishwanath and other administrative members of ICSSR. We gratefully acknowledge each of them for their support. We also specially thank Sujatha K. (NUEPA), Geetha Nambissan (JNU), V.B. Singh (CSDS), Amresh Dubey (JNU), Dinesh Tiwari (NCAER) and Vimal Trivedi (CSS) for their guidance at different stages of the study. Parsis Ginwala read all the chapters very carefully and provided very valuable comments which helped each author in improving their chapters. She
Preface and acknowledgement
took lots of pain in editing the chapters. The project received technical and administrative assistance from research associates Bharat Rout and Anjali Dash. At the later stage, the project of preparing this volume was located at the Centre for Social Studies, Surat. We also acknowledge help of Satyakam Joshi, Kiran Desai, Harish Jariwala, Ashish Nikam, Seema Shukla and Ashok Pawar of CSS Surat for their support at different stages in the preparation of this volume. We are thankful to all the contributors for revising and re-revising their papers ungrudgingly. And, our apology to those scholars whose papers we could not include in this volume. Ghanshyam Shah Kanak Kanti Bagchi Vishwanatha Kalaiah
AAS AIIMS AP APL APSWRS AREA ASER BA BE B Ed BPL CA CSDS CSS CV D&D D & NH DISE DK DPEP DPEPSSA ELT EPW ESCAC EWS F GER GoG GoI GoK Govt.
Affrmative Action Schemes All India Institute of Medical Sciences Andhra Pradesh Above Poverty Line AP Social Welfare Residential Schools Scheme Adoption of Right to Education Act Annual Status of Education Report Bachelor of Arts Bachelor in Engineering Bachelor of Education Below Poverty Line Chartered Accountant Centre for the Study of Developing Societies Centre for Social Studies Curriculum Vitae Daman and Diu Dadra and Nagar Haveli District Information System for Education Do Not Know District Primary Education Programme District Primary Education Programme and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan English Language Teaching Economic and Political Weekly Education Status of Scheduled Castes: Attainment and Challenges Economically Weaker Sections Female Gross Enrolment Ratio Government of Goa Government of India Government of Karnataka Government
GSDP HDI HE HHs HSC ICSSR ICT IIDS IIM IIMS IIT ITI J&K JNU KM KSSP LPS M MBBS MCM MDM MHRD MP M.Phil. NA NCAER NCER NCERT NCT NEP NFHS NGO Non-SC NSS NUEPA OBC OTET p.a. PG Ph.D. Pm PMS PTM PTSMA
Gross State Domestic Product Human Development Index Higher Education Households Higher Secondary Certifcate Indian Council of Social Science Research Information Communication Technology Indian Institute of Dalit Studies Indian Institute of Management Indian Institute of Medical Sciences Indian Institute of Technology Industrial Training Institute Jammu and Kashmir Jawaharlal Nehru University Kilometre Kerala Shasthra Sahitya Parishad Lower Primary School Male Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Merit Cum Means Mid-Day Meal Ministry of Human Resource Development Madhya Pradesh Master of Philosophy Not Applicable/Not Ascertained National Council of Applied Economic Research National Centre for Education Research National Council for Educational Research and Training National Capital Territory National Educational Policy National Family Health Surveys Non-Government Organisation Non-Schedule Castes and Tribes National Sample Survey National University of Educational Planning and Administration (Socially-Educationally) Other Backward Classes Odisha Teachers’ Eligibility Test per annum Postgraduate Doctor of Philosophy per month Post Metric Scholarship Parents Teacher Meeting Parent Teacher School Management Association
PUC Pvt. RMSA Rs. RTE SC SCSTRTI SSA ST T ToI TN TV UEE WB ZHCES
Pre-University Course Private Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan Rupees Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Act) Scheduled Castes Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Scheduled Tribes Tot Times of India Tamil Nadu Television Universal Elementary Education West Bengal Zakir Hussain Centre for Educational Studies
Introduction Education and the Scheduled Castes Ghanshyam Shah
Introduction The Republic Indian State has not only guaranteed equality before law to everyone but has also undertaken a responsibility to provide equal opportunities for social, economic and cultural development to all citizens in all spheres of life. Liberty, equality – social and economic– and fraternity are the core values of the Indian Constitution. The state is committed to the eradication of all forms of discrimination based on gender, religion, race, caste and region (Article 15 and 29). Article 17 of the Constitution treats the practice of ‘untouchability’ in any form as illegal and a cognisable crime. The Constitution directs the state to abolish child labour, forced labour, human traffcking and other forms of exploitations. Simultaneously, it directs the state to provide free education to all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years. Moreover, it is a constitutional obligation of the state to protect and promote ‘educational and economic interest of the weaker section of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs)’ and to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation (Article 46). These constitutional commitments are the result of multiple factors. Increasing Dalit1 (SC) and Adivasi (ST) assertion for dignity and rights since the mid-19th century, liberal outlook and approach of some of the leading members of the Constituent Assembly, infuence of the idea of modernity and welfare state at a global level, and concern of the western liberal educated middle class of the time for social transformation coupled with a changing political economy were instrumental in shaping the vision for building an egalitarian social order (Austin, 1966). The introduction of formal education in the early 19th century led to increasing demands from different sections of society for its benefts. The upper castes, being closer to the ruling classes and in the forefront in administration, business and traditional learning, were the frst benefciaries of the system. They used their social and political capital in expanding the reach of education among the poor of their castes. Following them, middle and poor peasant castes in
some parts of the country also started demanding government-aided schools in their localities. For instance, as early as 1855, some inhabitants of ‘low caste’ localities from Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra, mobilised funds from the community to build a small building and for the salary of a teacher. Then, they demanded from the government ‘the establishment of a school for the education of low castes’ (Moon, 1982: 408). Till then, the social groups, known ati-shudras to whom the British government classifed as ‘depressed classes’, now called the Scheduled Castes (SCs) were customarily not permitted to take formal education. Caste Hindus treated them as ‘untouchables’. Their touch, and in some places even their shadow, was treated as polluting. Their settlements were at the outskirts of a village/town. However, acceding to the demand from the lower strata of society, the British government made it mandatory for governmentaided schools to admit students of all castes including the ‘untouchable’ castes. During the colonial period, some provincial governments and a few native states like Travancore-Cochin, Baroda and Kolhapur made some efforts to ensure that SC children got admissions in government schools. Jyotiba Phule, from traditionally lower strata of society in Maharashtra, saw modern education with liberal and ‘scientifc’ values as opening of avenues to the traditionally deprived sections of society. He demanded special facilities for the depressed classes in educational institutions. In Andhra Pradesh during the colonial period, ‘the frst generation of educated Untouchables became either ideologues or activists of the Dalit cause. They made efforts to educate the Dalit masses seeing education as the most effective way to break the strongly embedded caste hegemony’. (Yagati, 2002: 109). Dr. Ambedkar repeatedly emphasised the importance of education for the emancipation of the oppressed. In the 1920s, he campaigned for universalisation of education in the Bombay province (Moon, 1982: 39–54). He pleaded for ‘favoured treatment to backward communities’ in education and demanded more allocation of funds for primary education. He opposed the transfer of education to local bodies on two grounds. According to him, the local bodies were not enlightened enough to understand the value of education and were unwilling to provide education to backward classes. They also lacked the resources needed to fulfl the task (ibid.: 40–43). He called upon the Dalits to ‘educate, organize and agitate’. He asserted that ‘we may forego material benefts of civilization but we cannot forego our right and opportunity to reap the beneft of the highest education to the fullest extent as education is the greatest material beneft’ (cited in Chalam, 2008:23). He also set up educational institutions in Maharashtra (Chapter 9 in this volume). A few of the SCs, in their efforts at Sanskritisation, also called upon their members to educate their children (Chapters 10 and 11). Like upper and middle castes, a few SC associations tried to mobilise human and fnancial resources to support education of their caste children. Thanks to such efforts, education has now become a norm among all SCs all over
the country. Almost all parents desire to see that their children – girls and boys – study and graduate (Shah, Sujatha and Thorat, 2020). Most of them aspire for a government job for their children that provides regular income, security as well as status. During the last 7 decades, various governments at the Centre and the federal states have formulated education policies and programmes from time to time with special emphasis on the poor and the marginalised. The collection of articles in the present volume is an attempt at examining the outcome of the education policies in providing equal opportunities to the SCs in education. It is an endeavour to assess educational status of the SCs in the frst decade of the 21st century. Is educational attainment even in all socio-economic strata of SCs? What hurdles do SCs face while accessing and pursuing education in schools and colleges? Has education empowered them to attain equal status and opportunities in everyday life? Has education empowered them to seek opportunities to improve their life chances? The studies presented here are an outcome of a larger study, sponsored by ICSSR in 2012–14, on ‘Educational Status of Scheduled Castes: Attainments and Challenges’ (ESCAC 2012–14) in different states of India. The project followed common research objectives, methodology and sample (Appendix I). This is accompanied by the All India report, which presents an overview of the situation at the national level (Shah, Sujatha and Thorat, 2020). The present volume is confned to state-level studies using primary data of the project, with a view to assess commonalities and differences in educational status of SCs and the problems that they encounter.
Education policies, programmes and governance The education system of a country encompasses formal education, which is imparted in and through institutions and follows prescribed curricula dictated by the policy and rules formulated by the state. The larger purpose of education, irrespective of political ideology (unless it stands for status quo), is to develop a student’s ‘creativity’ and ‘criticality’ to enable him/her to comprehend the complex social and physical environment. In other words, it should foster the ability of a student to question the information received through socialisation and also imparted in classrooms by teachers and/or through textbooks. It is also expected to help the learner in developing the skills needed in the production process to earn a livelihood. Skill development also includes ability to understand critically one’s own life as well as social complexity to attain common good. The education system is expected to translate such laudable objectives into reality. While introducing the formal educational system, the colonial rulers had three broad interrelated objectives. The frst was to train Indians as administrators to help them run governance smoothly. The second was to replicate the English education which was assumed to have been based on ‘liberal’
and ‘scientifc’ values and approaches of the European Enlightenment. The third was to ‘civilize’ Indians through an assumed superiority of the European civilisation. The institutions of formal education during the British rule were very limited and largely catered to a handful of individuals of the upper castes, particularly those belonging to landed and/or merchant and/or government functionary class (Nurullah and Naik, 1946). However, the liberalism of law prevented the administration from legally prohibiting the ‘lower’ castes from entry in state-funded schools. In 1893, the Madras provincial government provided concessions and incentives to promote education among the untouchable communities (Satyanarayana, 2002; Yagati, 2002). But on the whole, the government was ‘very cold in promoting education among the lower castes including the “untouchables”’ (Moon Vol. 12, 1993: 93–109). Nambissan has rightly observed that the British policy for education of ‘untouchables’ is marked by dualism, liberalism on the one hand and compromise with dominant caste pressures on the other (1996:81). In the 1920s and 1930s, Bombay and other provincial governments also mooted the idea of universalisation of education through local governments. As mentioned earlier, Dr. Ambedkar within and outside the provincial legislative assembly campaigned for it. Some of the architects of Indian Constitution were not only committed to the universalisation of education but they also advocated revolutionizing the education system. But, the exercise for the formulation of education policy for the country was not undertaken in the 1950s. After more than a decade of Independence, the frst Education Commission was constituted in 1964, headed by D.S. Kothari. The commission considered education as a major instrument for peaceful economic, social and political transformation. With signifcant change in the existing educational system, it was hoped ‘the socio-economic and political revolution that society needed would also be automatically triggered off’. It called for universal elementary education on a priority basis. For that, it strongly proposed a ‘common school system’. The commission argued: The existing educational system refects the socioeconomic differences between the well-to-do classes and the poor masses. It has a system of high quality good institutions at all levels which are used by the children of the rich and socially or politically important groups while the bulk of the educational institutions provided by the State are of poor quality and are the only ones available to the vast bulk of have-nots or marginal people. This segregation is highly undesirable from the point of view of social and national integration. The national system of education should therefore adopt the common school system, which abolishes this segregation and enables all children to avail themselves of a common system of schools, which maintains comparable standards. In particular,
it should adopt the neighbourhood school model at the primary stage where all children, irrespective of caste, race, religion, sex or colour, attend the common elementary school established for the locality. (Naik, 1982: 18) The commission further asserts that One of the important social objectives of education is to equalize opportunity, enabling the backward or underprivileged classes and individuals to use education as a lever for the improvement of their condition. . . . This is the only guarantee for the building up of an egalitarian and humane society in which the exploitation of the weak will be minimized. (Kothari, 1966:203) It emphasised that the school system should pay special attention to children from the under-privileged groups through the provision of day-study centres or boarding houses. Further, in order to mitigate gender and social inequality between the advanced classes and the backward ones, particularly the SCs and the STs, the commission emphasised a need for special efforts. The government accepted the report, acknowledging the recommendations of the commission as ‘essential for economic and cultural development of the country, for national integration and for realizing the ideal of a socialistic pattern of society’ (Kothari, 1966: XII). While endorsing the recommendation of the commission, the parliamentary committee asked for its immediate implementation (Naik, 1982). In 1968, the National Educational Policy (NEP) was formulated. The main principle of this policy was to provide ‘free and compulsory education’. It called for strenuous efforts ‘to equalise educational opportunity’. It called upon the government to develop programmes so as to ‘to reduce the prevailing wastage and stagnation in schools and to ensure that every child who is enrolled in school successfully completes the prescribed course.’ Later, with the constitutional amendment in 1976, education was placed on the concurrent list to develop an overall national policy and also for its effective implementation through the states. With this amendment, the Union government accepted a larger fnancial responsibility and also evolved policy for ‘the national and integrative character of education, to maintain quality and standards’. But, policy for universalisation of education and common schooling system was put on the back burner. However, in 1986, thanks to the pressure from civil society’s campaign, the government revisited the NEP and reiterated the principle of universalisation of education. But the governance continued as usual. Education was/is not on the agenda of any political party. At the same time, assertion of the upwardly mobile and vocal sections of different social groups including various shades of feminists for their inclusion in education opportunities was mounting.
In order to meet rising identity politics among the middle class of disadvantaged communities in the post-Mandal period, the government modifed the NEP in 1992. The policy took note of ‘considerable expansion in educational facilities’ and granted that ‘neither normal linear expansion nor the existing pace and nature of improvement can meet the needs of the situation’. The main thrust of the policy in the 12th Five-Year Plan, under structural adjustment of economy, was privatisation of education. The policy promised to facilitate private investment directly or through public-private partnership (PPP) model for establishing and managing educational institutions and also to develop large education hubs on government land in different parts of the country (Tilak, 2009). Simultaneously, the policy reaffrmed the principle of ‘equalization of educational opportunities’. Later, ‘inclusion’ has gained focus in policy documents. Needless to say, ‘inclusion’ is sine qua non of equality. But inclusion is not equality. It may be a starting point, but it does not necessarily mean that inclusive policy moves in the direction of equality. With the thrust on inclusion, the revised NEP focused on the social groups – women, SCs, STs, religious minorities and (Socially-Educationally) Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and physically handicapped. The policy specifcally mentioned that ‘the new thrust in elementary education will emphasise three aspects: (i) universal access and enrolment, (ii) universal retention of children up to 14 years of age [and] (iii) a substantial improvement in the quality of education to enable all children to achieve essential levels of earning’. To meet this objective, the policy also promised to take effective measures in the direction of the Common School System as recommended in the 1968 policy. But no effort was made in that direction. However, the central government launched a scheme called the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) in 1994 to achieve the objective of universalisation of education. Later, in 2002–03 the government launched Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) as its fagship programme for the same purpose. The programme planned to provide for a variety of interventions for universal access and retention, bridging of gender and social category – SC, ST, OBC and minorities, gaps in elementary education and improving the quality of learning. To enhance access to secondary education and improve its quality, the government launched the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan in 2009. It planned to provide secondary schools to all students within 5 KM distance from their residence. The scheme planned a special enrolment drive for weaker sections and to remove gender and socio-economic barriers. Over and above that, since the early 1950s the central government has made provision for providing pre- and post-matric scholarships and doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships to SC students. It has also evolved different incentive schemes to support SC students. Various state governments have also introduced different schemes at different levels, from primary to
higher education, providing incentives to the SC students and their parents so as to increase their enrolment and retention. Over and above this, government model schools – Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas – were opened in the SC/ST concentrated districts, providing reservation of seats to SCs. In 2008–09, the central government started Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya for girls from SC, ST, OBCs and Muslim communities. And in 2006, the government enacted the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, providing 15% reservation to SC (7.5% for ST and 27% for OBCs) in IITs, IIMs, central universities, etc. Simultaneously, the campaign of civil society for universalisation of education as a fundamental right continued (Shah, 2018). The Supreme Court of India in Mohini Jain vs. State of Karnataka (1992)2 found that ‘the right to education is concomitant to fundamental rights enshrined under Part III of the Constitution’ and that ‘every citizen has the right to education under the Constitution’. For the frst time, the Constitutional Amendment Bill for the inclusion of education as a fundamental right was moved in the Parliament. The bill was passed in 2002 as the 86th Amendment Act. But it did not spell out modalities for its implementation. After 3 years, with specifc provisions, the bill was again placed before the Parliament in 2005. Subsequently, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) was passed by the Parliament in 2009. The bill became an act in 2010. Accordingly, Every child of 6 to 14 years shall have the right to have free and compulsory education in neighbourhood school till the completion of elementary education and no child shall be liable to pay fees or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education. The act also makes a provision that all private schools have to admit 25% of the total students from poor and disadvantaged communities.3
Significance of state studies While the central government policy and programmes apply uniformly to all states, different states have their own trajectory of social movements and their own policy thrusts and modus operandi of governance. Before Independence, different provinces of the British territory and native states had different policies and approach towards education. At the turn of the century, the colonial government delegated responsibility of primary education to local bodies. Following the Government of India Act 1919, at different points of time different provincial governments introduced ‘compulsory’ elementary/primary education for boys and girls (Nurullah and Naik, 1946). A few of the princely states introduced free and compulsory
education in the early 19th century. And they also made special efforts to provide education to children of the depressed communities. Moreover, different regions also witnessed general social movements as well as assertion from the Dalits for access to education. Kerala and other south Indian states have a long history of anti-Brahmin movements in which education was an important component for social mobility of non-Brahmins. Such anti-Brahmin movement in general and Dalit movement in particular in Maharashtra under Phule and Ambedkar’s leadership mobilised SCs for acquiring formal education (Chapters 3 and 9). Punjab, owing to Sikhism that ideologically does not legitimise the caste system (Jodhka, 2004), has a different trajectory in shaping SCs’ quest for education. Simultaneously, almost all regions of the country also witnessed the process of Sanskritisation among traditionally ‘low’ castes including the SCs for upward social mobility (Chapters 10 and 11). They also saw formal western education as an opportunity to better their life chances and a ladder to rise up in the social hierarchy. With the Constitutional amendment in 1976, placing education on the concurrent list, the central government evolved a policy for ‘the national and integrative character of education, to maintain quality and standards’. It introduced, as mentioned earlier, several centrally sponsored programmes for primary and secondary education. Nevertheless, school education (from primary to higher secondary) continues to be largely the responsibility of the state governments. Different states spend a different proportion of their gross state domestic product (GSDP), which varies from 2% to over 8%. Each state has a reservation policy and quotas for SCs proportionate to their population in that particular state. The reservation policy entitles SCs to admission in certain professional courses in state-run educational institutions. Though there are several common schemes across the states for the welfare of SC students, some states have also evolved special schemes. For example, Andhra Pradesh (Chapter 7) evolved an AP Social Welfare Residential Schools Scheme (APSWRS) for SC and ST students in the 1980s. Some states like Maharashtra and Gujarat (since 1947) and Kerala (since 1958) already had a legal provision for ‘free and compulsory’ primary education. In fact, the Kerala government devolved this responsibility to local Education Committee to ‘implement the provisions of this Act of 1958 with regard to school attendance and to ensure that the employment, if any, of children does not interfere with their attendance in Government or private schools’. Moreover, the state governments are generally responsible for the governance of primary and secondary schools directly or through the local governments. They prescribe curricula, medium of instruction and textbooks and formulate rules for recruitment of teachers, their service conditions and their training. Each state has its own Secondary School Board for conducting class X and XII examinations. Consequently, the state governments’ approach
and priority to education and other aspects of human development also shape the status of education of the SCs. On several social indictors, the situation of SCs closely follows the overall situation in the respective state. The growth of the SC literacy rate corresponds, more or less, to the overall literacy rate of the respective states. SCs have high literacy rates in states such as Kerala where the overall literacy rate is high. Conversely, their literacy rate is lower in states such as Bihar, M.P., and Odisha, where the overall literacy rate is lower. Moreover, grassroots civil society efforts and Dalit assertion movements also contribute in raising the aspirations of Dalits. As per the 2011 Census, 5% of SCs have studied up to graduation and above. This proportion varies from state to state and is 5% in West Bengal, 6% in Karnataka and Gujarat and above 7% in Maharashtra. The rate of urbanisation among SCs, by and large, corresponds with the rate of urbanisation of the state. Although nationally their rate of urbanisation is 24%, the states such as Goa (64%), Maharashtra (44%) and Gujarat (44%) have higher urbanisation than the national average. NCT Delhi is an exceptional case where 97% of SCs live in urban areas (2011). Conversely, states with low rates of the SCs are less urbanised – 13% in Odisha, 20% in West Bengal and 22% in Andhra Pradesh. The national sex ratio is 943 females per 1000 males; for the SCs it is 945. In Haryana and Delhi the overall sex ratio is 878 and 879, respectively, and correspondingly it is 887 and 888 for the SCs. However, in the southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh the sex ratio is more or less equal and it is so for the SCs as well. Such regional demographic and historical variations refect in the education status of SCs.
Spread of education Enrolment in educational institutions The enrolment ratio of children at the primary school level (standard I to IV) was 96% in 2009–10 (MHRD, 2011). Though the rate of enrolment among SC has jumped 5 points from 21.2% in 2003–04 to 26.5% in 2016–17, it lags behind non-SC/ST, whose rate of growth was 12.4% during the same period. Enrolment of girls in general and of SC and ST has also increased both at primary and upper primary levels over the years (Ramchandran, 2009). Though enrolment fgures are impressive, registration of names in school records does not necessarily mean that students attend classes regularly. Several micro-studies show a gap between enrolment on record and actual presence in classrooms, particularly at the primary stage. Even those who attend classes regularly do not complete the respective stage of education. Thanks to various campaigns like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, launched in 2001, the
dropout rate in the last decade, as per government data, has considerably declined. At the same time, the rate from class I to V is fuctuating. In 2005– 06, the dropout rate was 25.6%. It declined to 24.33% in 2008–09 and increased to 28.86% in 2009–10 at the primary level. According to the 2011 Census, the dropout rate at the elementary level was 54%. Upper primary and secondary Enrolment rate at the upper primary and secondary level has also considerably increased over a period of time. But the rate of growth at the upper primary level is lower than the primary level. This cuts across social groups and gender. It, however, picks up at the secondary level. Similarly, enrolment in higher education (above secondary) has also increased considerably. The ratio of SC and ST students has also increased correspondingly. Their proportion increased from 11% and 4% in 2005–06 to 14% and 5%, respectively, in 2013–14 (MHRD, 2016). However, exclusion of students of all social groups in general and deprived communities in particular from educational institutions increases from primary to secondary levels and above. All those who get enrolled at the upper primary level, the VI standard, do not necessarily complete class VIII. The same is the case with those who pass class VIII. This pattern applies to all social groups and gender. But the proportion of those getting left out is higher among SC, ST and OBCs than upper castes (Chapter 11). Among the major marginalised communities, the rate of survival among the students to reach higher education is more in SCs than STs or the OBCs. In some states like Maharashtra and Gujarat, if an SC student manages to cross the upper primary level s/he has a greater possibility to join college than SC students of several other states. Similarly, once girls, including SCs, overcome the initial barriers of the primary classes, they continue studies till class X and beyond (Chapter 12). On the basis of NSS data of 2005–06, Sinha and Srivastava note, Of all literate SCs only 16.3% attained education up to middle or upper primary classes and another 15% received education till secondary and higher secondary levels. Only 3.1% were fortunate enough to graduate from college. On the other hand, over 22% among the non-scheduled communities could attain high school education and another 7.64% had graduate and post-graduate degrees. (2009: 123–124) At the higher education level, a majority of the students (56%) of all social groups get enrolled in arts or ‘general stream’ – humanities and social sciences – and science faculties. More often than not, they join these courses because they do not get admission in other courses of their choice. It is
ironical that these courses are not in demand in the market, yet a very large number of students get enrolled for these courses. On the whole, fewer SCs than non-SCs join professional courses. However, relatively more SC students of Kerala (Chapter 3) and Delhi (Chapter 12) than West Bengal (Chapter 10) aspire for professional courses.
Who survives and who drops out? SCs – an agglomeration of castes – constitute 16% of India’s population. Like all social groups in India, the SCs are also socially and economically stratifed. According to the government categorisation, there are more than 1000 castes under the category of SC. They are spread all over the country in varying proportions. The states with high SC populations – more than 20% – are Punjab, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Tamil Nadu. On the other hand Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat and Goa have SC populations varying from 12% to less than 2%. Karnataka, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh fall in the middle, closer to the national average. The literacy rate among the SCs has increased from 10.27% in 1961 to 69% in 2011 against a 74% overall literacy rate. There is a wide gap between male and female literacy rates, 75% and 50%, respectively. The literacy rate among the SC is high, above 75% in states like Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and NCT Delhi, where the overall literacy rate is higher than the national average. Among the SCs the rate of literacy varies. We have not come across studies that correlate the literacy level with socio-economic, regional and other variables (Chapter 2). However, the process of availing education among a tiny section of the Dalit labouring class began in the mid-19th century. They were those who got the opportunity to work in the non-agrarian sector – military and allied activities and, later, in industries. In south India, the British employed the Parayars for various services (Washbrook, 1993; Aloysius, 1998). The Parayars and Pallars were also employed as butlers, cooks, attendants, keepers of horses, etc. and ‘were taught to maintain themselves with dignity’ (Aloysius, 1998: 45). In Maharashtra, before British rule, Mahars had ‘an outlet from traditional work in the time of Shivaji as guards in the hill forts and soldiers in artillery’ (Zelliot, 1970: 28). Subsequently, the British also provided them the opportunity to join the army. ‘In the army of the East India Company there prevailed the system of compulsory education for Indian soldiers and their children, both male and female’ (Ambedkar, 1946, cited by Zelliot, 1970:31). The growth of textile factories provided jobs to Mahars of Maharashtra and Vankars of Gujarat who were either traditionally weavers or village servants. A similar pattern was found in north India in the 19th century (Gooptu, 1993). These castes, thus, had an early exposure to modern education.
Though enrolment at the primary level as per the government fgures is almost 100%, about 6 million children of school-going age, according to various estimates in 2014, are out of school (CPR, 2016).4 Most of them are from SC, ST and other marginalised communities. They may or may not have registered their names in school record. The proportion of girls is higher among out-of-school children in all social groups. Chronic poverty – low wages, irregularity of work and seasonal and/or daily migration in search of livelihood – has been the main cause of irregular attendance and dropout from school. Children of such families are forced to either look after the siblings when the parents go for work and/or assist parents in economic activities to get a square meal. The situation in urban areas is not much different, as most of them work as casual labour in the informal sector. In their everyday struggle for survival, notwithstanding their aspirations for a better future of their children, the poor are unable to sustain their efforts in providing schooling to their children since it requires continuous care and long-term commitment (Jha and Jhingran, 2005: 291). A majority of the children of landless and small and marginal farmers are forced ‘to join the workforce to supplement their household income’ at an early age. This is true for all social groups, depending upon the size of the vulnerable strata. The proportion of poor in post-higher secondary education has declined from 3.18% in 1993–94 to 2.18% in 2004–05 (Dubey, 2009). A productive asset, such as land in rural agrarian economy, is an important means with which to meet minimum expenses for education. Nearly 75% of SC households are landless or near landless, 18% are small and marginal farmers and 5% are middle farmers with land ownership between 2 and 4 hectares. Only 2% own more than 4 hectares of land (Thorat, 2009:55). Their proportion varies from nearly 94% in Kerala and Punjab to 92% in Haryana to 63% in Karnataka and 40% in Rajasthan. The proportion of children of landless farm labourers in schools sinks at upper primary and secondary levels. A majority of the students at the secondary level belong to families who are engaged in farm and/or non-farm labour and poor peasants. It gets further reduced at higher secondary and college levels. At the same time, a tiny section of children of SC landless labourers also join college (Shah, Sujatha and Thorat, 2020). This has been made possible for them due to government support in the form of post-matric scholarship, free hostel accommodation, exemption from college fees and other facilities. They are present in professional courses as well, albeit in fewer numbers (Dandekar, 2013). Chamar and Chamar, in their study on Haryana (Chapter 4), show that attainment of education is closely related to ownership of land which in turn paves the way for occupational mobility. It is seen that 92% of SC households in Haryana are near landless. Under the Land Ceiling Act, 1972, the government acquired surplus land in some districts. But distribution of this land to SCs was poor. Several of the SC benefciaries did not get actual possession of the allotted land (Judge, 2001:124). Among the
SCs, children of land owners have attained higher education than those of the landless. This has opened the doors to white-collar jobs for them. The presence of children of white-collar employees, government and private or self-employed, and urban blue-collar workers increases in secondary and higher levels of education. Among the SC college students their proportion is high, but they do not constitute a majority. In some states like West Bengal, SCs in urban areas are in an advantageous position (Chapter 10). But it is not so in Gujarat, where colleges in rural areas have increased in the last two decades. Compared to poor cultivators and labourers, the proportion of children of white-collar employees is high in the professional courses (see also Dandekar, 2013). Education breeds education. When any member of a family joins school and studies to some level, s/he would encourage one’s children and siblings to get educated. Such educated parents and more so fathers (in a patriarchal structure) tend to prioritise schooling of their children. Studies on secondary school students (Chapters 5 to 8) show that around 55% of the students are frst-generation learners in their families to have reached that level. Similarly, parents with college education ensure that their children complete higher education. But the proportion of such parents is not large – 15% of fathers and 6% of mothers. In Gujarat, nearly 80% of SC college students are frst-generation college goers in their families. In the case of Maharashtra and West Bengal, their proportion is around 77%. Most parents not only wish that their children get higher education and then a better white-collar job. Recent years have seen an increasing trend towards English-medium education among all social groups including SCs. SC college students who had studied in the vernacular medium at primary and secondary levels experience a sense of inadequacy because of this. English as a medium of instruction in schools has increased, around 10%, in the last decade in all the states. Between 2008 and 2014, it increased around 25% in Goa and Andhra Pradesh, 13% in Karnataka and 7% in Odisha. SC parents also prefer to send their children to English-medium schools, provided a school is available in the vicinity of their place of residence and affordable. The proportion of SC students studying in the English medium has increased from 5.6% in 2007–08 (61th NSS round) to 10.9% in 2014 (71st round), as against a 15% rise, from 27.8% to 42.6%, among upper-castes-class (nonMuslim) during the same period (Borooah and Sabharwal, 2017). The trend towards English-medium education is more among collegeeducated parents. But, since nearly 70% of SC households have no member who has crossed secondary education, they are unable to teach them at home. Moreover, except for a small section, a neighbourhood of SCs consists of same-caste members who are not well educated to provide guidance to school and college going children. A few of the SC parents, within their meagre means, send their children to private schools with a hope of getting a ‘good’ education. They also pay
for private coaching. Out-of-pocket expenditure of the poor households who send their children to either public or private schools has doubled after 2000 (Tilak, 2009). According to our survey (ICSSR: ESCAC 2012–14), SC households on an average spent Rs. 5000 p.a., as against Rs. 8000 of non-SC-ST households, for primary and upper primary education of their children (Shah, Sujatha and Thorat, 2020).
Institutional ethos and outcome A majority of the SC and other poor students study in government or government-aided institutions, managed by local and/or state governments. A few government schools are directly or indirectly managed by the central government. They are ‘model’ institutions, meant for a few. The government-aided schools/colleges are managed by non-government organisations. These institutions take tuition and other fees from the students. Though SC students are exempted, as their expenses are paid by the government, one way or another they are required to pay some charges. The number of private schools has increased in the last two decades (since the 1990s). There is a great deal of variation among the private schools in their approach to education, physical and human infrastructure and pedagogy. They can be broadly divided into two types: (a) elite schools and (b) commoner schools. A handful of schools, committed to common good, do admit students of SC and other deprived communities along with the others and pay special attention to their development. Except these, most elite schools are meant for the rich and upper middle class. They are primarily for proft, started by educational entrepreneurs (Tilak, 1996; Shah, 2018). Their fees vary from Rs. 20,000 to more than one lakh per year. The rest of the private schools cater to the rising educational aspirations of the lower, middle and poor strata of society. Fees in these schools vary from Rs. 50 to Rs. 300 p.m. A majority of the private schools are located in urban areas to cater to those with the capacity to pay. Many of them lack adequate physical infrastructure and qualifed teachers. More than 85% of the private primary schools are unrecognised. They account for 38% of all primary schools and 42% of the total enrolment (Ahluwalia, 2010). A few, including the poor, send their children to private unaided schools with an expectation of getting ‘good quality’ education. More than 70% of the SC upper primary students attend schools closer to their residence. The rest of them travel more than 3 KM to reach school. They spend a good deal of their time and money in commuting, 6 days a week. The studies on Goa and Karnataka highlight that distance to schools hampers students’ enthusiasm. Several schools in rural areas do not have enough rooms and other infrastructure facilities. Most secondary schools do not have a library. Even among those with a library, many are without librarians. Students are rarely encouraged to use the library. Computer
and other modern aids are not commonly used for teaching. Except in a few schools, the students are hardly encouraged to use computers. SC students are more in a disadvantaged position than non-SC students in availing access to computers. All the state studies reveal that a signifcant section of upper primary and secondary students of SC as well as non-SC-ST, varying from 50% to over 70%, at all levels reported that they face diffculties in comprehending classroom teaching. This also includes, as the Delhi study reveals, students who obtain frst division in examinations. Some of these students do ask questions to the teachers as and when they do not understand lessons. Many, however, never ask questions. It is partly out of fear that the teacher might reprimand them, partly out of shyness and partly also considering such efforts as futile because they feel that the teacher would repeat the lessons rather than explaining to make them understand. This is also true of the aided and private schools, although in varying proportion. The survey conducted by Pratham in 2014 reveals that nearly one-third of the students of class II could not even recognise letters. It was noted that 25% of the class VIII students were not able to read class II level texts. Only 25% of the children of standard III could do a 2-digit subtraction. And only 44% of the class VIII students could correctly solve a 3-digit by 1-digit division problem. Overall, 47% of children in class VIII could read simple sentences in English. This was the scenario of all students, not only SCs. A teacher is the soul of a school. The Kothari Commission emphasised not only improving the quality of teachers and their training but also adequate numbers in every schools. It also stressed ‘a radical alteration in the methods of teaching and in the training of teachers’. The commission observed, ‘Nothing is more important than securing a suffcient supply of high quality recruits to the teaching profession, providing them with the best possible professional preparation and creating satisfactory conditions of work in which they can be fully effective’ (Kothari, 1966:74). But over a period of time, this aspect has been severely compromised. Vimala Ramachandran and others rightly note, ‘Despite the idealised vision of the teacher contained in education policy documents, the education system treats teachers as lowly recipients and implementers of instructions and content designed elsewhere, rather than as actively engaged participants in a creative and dynamic process’ (2008). At primary as well as secondary school level, the student-teacher ratio has increased over a period of time. This is true for all states. Studentteacher ratio at the primary level varies from 1:40 to 1:60. According to the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s calculation in 2012, there is a vacancy of 12.59 lakh teachers in government primary and upper primary schools. The number varies from 3.12 lakh in Uttar Pradesh to 3013
in Kerala. A number of schools in rural areas are one-teacher schools. At the secondary level, the situation is not any better in any of the 4 states under study (Chapters 5 to 8). Often, vacant positions are either not flled or flled with appointment of teachers on an ad hoc basis. All teachers are not properly qualifed. At places, there is a mismatch between the teachers’ specialisation and the subject s/he is asked to teach. They are overburdened with administrative and teaching work. Though the teachers are expected to be creative and develop pedagogy suited to the students, more often than not, they are evaluated on the basis of whether they complete the syllabus on time. Moreover, during the last two decades, the system of school inspection has deteriorated. One of the reasons for this trend is the declining number of school inspectors. The situation in colleges for undergraduate classes is worse. Even institutes created by the central government for ‘excellence’ and ‘world class’ education also do not have an optimum number of teachers. In this situation, the students of the deprived communities, not having any one to teach in family and neighbourhood, are the worst victims. The medium of instruction is also a stumbling block, particularly at the college level. Most students, including SCs, are not at ease with other students from the English medium, having studied in the vernacular medium at the pre-university level. They believe that ‘teachers pay more attention to students from English medium’, they ‘felt ignored in the class’, ‘teachers did not care about their involvement in the class-room,’ and they ‘were most of the time mute spectators’. Many SC/ST students chose subjects based on their poor command of the English language, thus impacting both their academic performance and their personal confdence level (Sabharwal and Malish, 2016). It is expected that schools and colleges conduct remedial as well as English-language coaching classes for weak students in general and SC/ST students in particular. But, except a few, most of the institutions have not taken this seriously. As the study on Odisha shows, most of the teachers hardly spare time to help SC students in their studies. Even SC teachers are not performing this responsibility. There are instances showing sympathetic and helpful attitude of teachers towards SC students. At the same time, opposite instances are also available where the teachers directly or indirectly make SC students feel humiliated, asking them to follow their caste occupation instead of studying (Subrahmanian, 2005). School as a public institution provides a platform to students of different communities to intermingle with one another and develop common bonds. And, this is happening to a certain extent. Students of different communities do sit side by side and participate in classroom discussion as well as in other extracurricular activities like cultural programmes, sports, picnics, study tours, etc. Some SC and non-SC students become friends, share books, notes and experiences and also visit one another’s homes. With increasing
privatisation of schools, this process has however been somewhat halted. Government schools are increasingly seen as places only for the poor and the deprived. Students of the non-deprived communities in general and upper castes in particular are shifting to private schools. Instances of overt discrimination of SC students in schools are not many. However, subtle discrimination continues to prevail. This is evident in seating arrangement and assignment of responsibly in a class. It is more noticeable in mid-day meals. At several places, separate rows and plates for SCs and non-SCs are maintained. Young SC students view this as normal rather than discriminatory behaviour. Perception and experience of discrimination of SC students increase as students move to higher classes. It is more so in the professional courses where SC students compete with non-SC students (Chapter 11). As students from deprived communities are frst-generation college goers, particularly in the professional courses in elite institutions, they hardly have anyone to guide them. Over and above this, they frequently face negative comments denigrating their dignity, reminding them of their social status. They often feel alienated on campuses (Rao, 2013; Sukumar, 2013; Chandru, Shah and Wankhede, 2016). There were at least 18 cases of SC/ST student suicides between 2007 and 2011 from such elite professional institutions. While analyzing some of these cases in detail, Anup Kumar Singh observes, What these cases show is that elite professional institutions are places where caste prejudices are so frmly entrenched that it has become normal. Because the stakes involved here are very high, there is a lot of unthinking resentment against SC and ST students regardless of the academic standing of these students. Teachers, students and administration are all usually biased against them, though the intensity and manner in which it is expressed may differ. (2013: 202) An analysis of incidents of suicide of Dalit students in Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (IIMS) in 2008 reveals the same situation (Thorat, 2007).
Overview Since Independence, our education policy has paid lip service to the rhetoric of equality, equal opportunity, citizenship, justice, respect for each other and so on. It promised to develop critical thinking, rationality, potentiality of everyone. But all these promises are hardly translated into the contents of textbooks and in classrooms. ‘Equality’ is not a thrust of the education system (Bhog et al., 2010). Instead, competition and consumerism are encouraged. Hierarchy and inequality as core value systems of the caste system are not questioned. Instead, in order to eulogise Indian civilisation, the students
are taught that ‘. . . the varna system as an ideal system of building the social and economic structure of a society cannot be overlooked’ (Manjrekar et al., 2010:48 and 75–80). Patriarchal norms and differential gender roles are more often than not reinforced and legitimised. Moreover, besides prescribed curriculum, the management structures and socio-physical environment of several private institutions impart lessons that strengthen hierarchical and divisive values in the name of ‘tradition’ and ‘culture’. SC students, like all other students, imbibe these values in and outside the educational institutions. Like others, they are not able to get out of the trap of graded inequality and patriarchy. SC females remain victims of caste and patriarchy within and outside their social milieu and education system. At the same time, educational institutions do play a catalytic role in loosening the rigid caste boundaries, providing opportunities to students of different socio-cultural orientations to intermingle and develop fraternity/sisterhood. The quest for education among the SCs is intense and, despite constraints, they are catching up with the upper castes. With a growth of education among SCs, they get a sense of empowerment. Their assertions for their rights, justice and dignity have increased. A very few of them have attained positions of power and status. At the same time, pauperisation and deprivation of a vast majority of SCs as well as other deprived communities continue. The process of elimination of the poor SCs, like all poor of the deprived communities, starts with non-enrolment and dropout right at the primary stage. Among those who manage to complete the primary stage, some more get eliminated by the 7th and 8th standards. Of the remaining, a large number leave schools with or without passing secondary education. As we move up from the secondary to the higher levels, the place for poor in general and of the deprived communities in particular sinks. A very small proportion, 1 out of 10, could get access to higher education. The institutions of higher education split them as per the demand of the market. Criteria for the bifurcations of the students in different streams are more often than not aspirants’ ability to pay, performance in terms of marks and access to social capital rather than their ‘aptitude’ and ‘interest’. As most of the SCs (as also many others) do not possess these properties, they are confned to ‘general’ courses in average government colleges. They are left to pursue studies in whatever courses are available hoping for a degree and a ‘better’ job. A tiny segment, however, succeeds in getting admission in well-established accredited institutions, where they become victims of discrimination. Thanks to education, a small stratum of educated SCs now have a place in the middle class, which is somewhat cosmopolitan in its composition. Such processes of inclusion are a prerequisite for an egalitarian social order. But it is not suffcient. As of today, the upwardly mobile educated SCs are not on an equal footing with other members of the middle class. Their experiences of subtle discrimination – real or imaginary – in the employment market,
workplace and social networking continue (Thorat and Newman, 2010). The hegemony of the upper/middle castes which constitutes the majority among the educated and also controls the economy and cultural reproduction has been reinforced. The dominant groups wield power to change the idioms of public discourse in their favour. According to them, the caste system is irrelevant in modern India. They assert that their position has nothing to do with ascribed caste status. Their position in society, they believe, is on account of their ‘modern’ education and their ‘rational’ approach to life, achievement, ability and the skills needed for success in a competitive market. By wishing away the role of a social hierarchy-based system, they have come to believe that that their dominance is based on merit and thus rightful. Their dominance is thus perpetuated.
Notes 1 Scheduled Castes are also known as Dalits. In this volume we use both terms interchangeably. The term gained currency in public spheres in the 1970s when the SCs started using it to describe themselves to assert their rights and self-respect. The latter term is not confned merely to economic exploitation and poverty. It also relates to the suppression of a culture – way of life and value system – and, more importantly, the denial of dignity. It has essentially emerged as a political category. 2 In 1989, Mohini Jain, a resident of UP, applied for admission to private medical college in Karnataka. The college asked the student to pay Rs. 60,000 under the state government notifcation which prescribed fees in private medical colleges for the seats other than ‘government seat quota’. The student fled a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the notifcation. The court raised an important question of ‘whether right to education is guaranteed to the Indian citizen under the Constitution of India?’ 3 See August 8, 2006. ‘Private Schools in India Wriggle Out of 25% Seats for the Poor’, The Economic Times, Singh, S. 22, 2006. ‘Right to Education Only on Paper’, The Statesman, See also, Seethalakshmi, S. and M. Seshagiri. August 8, 2006. ‘Private Schools Have the Last Laugh’, The Times of India, available at http://timesofndia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1874504.cms last accessed on 14 Jan 2020. 4 For the same year, NSS estimates twenty million children out of school in the school-going age group (CPR 2016).
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Bhog, D., Mullick, D., Bharadwaj, P. and Sharma, J. (2010) Text Books Regimes: A Feminist Critic of Nation and Identity: An Overall Analysis, New Delhi, Nirantar. Borooah, V.K. and Sabharwal, N. (2017) English as a Medium of Instruction in Indian Education: Inequality of Access to Educational Opportunities, New Delhi, Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education, NEUPA. Chalam, K.S. (2008) Modernisation and Dalit Education: Ambedkar’s Vision, Jaipur, Rawat Publications. Chandru, Shah and Wankhede (2016) Report of the People’s Tribunal on Caste Discrimination and Police Action in the University of Hyderabad.www.academia. edu/28717795/Report_of_the_Peoples_Tribunal_on_Caste_Dis crimination last accessed on 14 Jan. 2020. CPR (2016) Pilot Study of Estimating Out-of-School Children in India, New Delhi: Centre for Policy Research. http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/fles/documents/apilot-study-of-estimating-out-of-school-children-in-india-2016-en.pdf last accessed on 14 Jan. 2020. Dandekar, V. (2013) ‘Reservation in Medical Education in Maharashtra: An Empirical Study’, in Satish Deshpande and Usha Zacharias (eds.), Beyond Inclusion: The Practice of Equal Access in Indian Higher Education, New Delhi, Routledge. Dubey, A. (2009) ‘Determinants of Post-Higher Secondary Enrolment in India’, in UGC (ed.), Higher Education in India: Issues Related to Expansion, Inclusiveness, Quality and Finance, New Delhi, University Grants Commission, pp. 139–198. Gooptu, N. (1993) ‘Caste, Deprivation and Politics: The Untouchables in U.P. Towns in the Early Twentieth Century’, in Peter Robb (ed.), Dalit Movements and the Meanings of Labour in India, Bombay, Oxford University Press. Jha, J. and Jhingran, D. (2005) Elementary Education for the Poorest and Other Deprived Group, New Delhi, Manohar Publishers and Distributors. Jodhka, S.S. (2004) ‘Sikhism and the Caste Question: Dalits and Their Politics in Contemporary Punjab’, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Vol. 38, Feb., pp. 165–192. Judge, P. (2001) ‘Land Reforms in Haryana’, in Sucha Singh Gill (ed.), Land Reforms in India. Vol. 6: Intervention for Agrarian Capitalist Transformation in Punjab and Haryana, New Delhi, Sage. Kothari, D.S. (Chairperson) (1966) Education and National Development: Report of the Education Commission 1964–66, New Delhi: Ministry of Education. http:// dise.in/Downloads/KothariCommissionVol.1pp.1-287.pdf Manjrekar, N., Shah, T., Lokhande, J. and Chudhury, N. (2010) Gujarat Text Books Regimes: A Feminist Critic of Nation and Identity, New Delhi, Nirantar. MHRD (2011, 2014) Statistics of School Education 2010–11, New Delhi, MHRD. MHRD (2016) Educational Statistics At Glance 2014–15, New Delhi: MHRD. https://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_fles/mhrd/fles/statistics/ESG2016_0.pdf Moon, V. (ed.) (1993) Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches Vol. 2, Vol. 12, Bombay, Department of Education, Government of Maharashtra. Naik, J.P. (1982) The Commission and after, New Delhi, Allied Publishers. Nambissan, G. (1996) ‘Equity in Education? Schooling of Dalit Children in India’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 31, No. 16/17, Apr. 20–27. Nurullah, S. and Naik, J. (1946) History of Education in India during the British Period, Bombay, Asia Publications.
PRATHAM (2014) Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) 2016 beyond Basics. www.asercentre.org last accessed on 14 Jan. 2020. Ramchandran, V. (2009) Towards Gender Equality in Education, New Delhi, National University of Educational Planning and Administration. Ramachandran, V., Bhattacharjea, S. and Sheshagiri, K.M. (2008) Primary School Teachers: The Twists and Turns of Everyday Practice, New Delhi, NUEPA, Education Resource Unit. Rao, S. (2013) ‘Structural Exclusion in Everyday Institutional Life: Labelling of Stigmatized Groups in an IIT’, in Geetha Nambissan and Srinivasa Rao (eds.), Sociology of Education in India, New Delhi, Oxford University Press. Sabharwal, N.S. and Malish, C.M. (2016) Diversity and Discrimination in Higher Education: A Study of Institutions in Selected States of India, New Delhi, CPRHE, NUEPA. Satyanarayana, A. (2002) ‘Growth of Education among the Dalit-Bahujan Communities in Modern Andhra, 1893–1947’, in S. Bhattacharya (ed.), Education and the Disprivileged, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century India, New Delhi, Orient Longman. Shah, G. (2018) Education and Process of Inclusion under Neo-Liberal Political Economy, New Delhi: Centre for the Study of Discrimination and Exclusion, JNU. Shah, G., Sujatha, K. and Thorat, S. (2020) Educational and Scheduled Castes: Attainments and Challenges Ahead, Jaipur: Rawat Publications. Singh, A.K. (2013) ‘Defying the Odds: The Triumphs and Tragedies of Dalit and Adivasi Students in Higher Education’, in Satish Deshpande and Usha Zacharias (eds.), Beyond Inclusion: The Practice of Equal Access in Indian Higher Education, New Delhi, Routledge. Sinha, S. and Srivastava, R. (2009) ‘Inclusiveness and Access of Social Groups to Higher Education’, in UGC (ed.), Higher Education in India: Issues Related to Expansion, Inclusiveness, Quality and Finance, New Delhi, University Grants Commission, pp. 111–138. Subrahmanian, R. (2005) ‘Education Exclusion and the Development State’, in R. Chopra and P. Jeffery (eds.), Educational Regimes in Contemporary India, New Delhi, Sage Publications. Sukumar, N. (2013) ‘Quota’s Children: The Perils of Getting Educated’, in Satish Deshpande and Usha Zacharias (eds.), Beyond Inclusion: The Practice of Equal Access in Indian Higher Education, New Delhi, Routledge. Thorat, S. (2007) Report of the Committee to Inquire into the Allegation of Differential Treatment of SC/ST Students in the All India Institute of Medical Science Delhi. www.nlhmb.in/Reports%20AIIMS.pdf last accessed on 14 Jan. 2020. Thorat, S. (2009) Dalits in India: Search for Common Destiny, New Delhi, Sage Publications. Thorat, S. and Newman, K. (2010) Blocked By Caste: Economic Discrimination in Modern India, New Delhi, Oxford University Press. Tilak, J.B.G. (1996) ‘How Free Is Primary Education in India’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 31, No. 6, pp. 355–366. Tilak, J.B.G. (2009) Public Private Partnership in Education, New Delhi, The Head Foundation Discussion Paper Series.
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Education among Scheduled Castes in India A review of literature Bharat Chandra Rout
Introduction Undoubtedly, since the early 1970s there have been considerable improvements in the educational status of Scheduled Castes (SCs) in India on markers such as enrolment, dropout, and performance. These marked improvements in indicators of education among SCs have also been accompanied by concerns for widespread inter-regional and gender inequalities within SCs. These achievements and continuing challenges have been examined by scholars in various studies on education of SCs. An attempt has been made in this chapter to encapsulate some of the important fndings of these studies. Such a review is needed for a number of reasons. First, there has been a rise in scholarly interest in the area of SC or Dalit education over the years. The volumes of research on the subject have also gone up gradually. It is, therefore, pertinent to know which problems and issues on SC education these studies focus on and which areas have been relatively ignored. A review of these studies can help in identifying gaps in our knowledge and help the scholars to explore new areas. Second, a review of literature spanning nearly fve decades of research can reveal trends and patterns of emerging issues and policy challenges in time and space. This in turn can inform policy initiatives. Finally, this review hopes to provide a background to the present volume on education among the SCs emanating from a research project on ‘Educational Status of Scheduled Castes: Attainment and Challenges’. The review is heavily based on the literature on policy, implementation and outcome of reservation/quota and other affrmative action programmes in education for SCs. The review has depended on three major sources of research material; frst, those published in Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) from 1970 to 2017; second, an index of research papers compiled by Zakir Hussain Centre for Educational Studies (ZHCES), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU); and fnally, some relevant books and book chapters (both print and digital) collated from various libraries. Paucity of time and space, however, has prevented it from being a comprehensive review.
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Historical studies on modern education The present system of modern education in India, as discussed in Chapter 1, can be traced back to the early 19th century. Historical studies on modern Indian education provide insights into the divergent processes of access to and participation in modern education and the inhibiting role of the caste structure for Dalits. Many studies have also critically engaged in examining the impact of British colonial policy on education among Dalits (Nambissan, 1996; Nancharaiah, 2002). The rise of western education in India on the one hand and the decline of the indigenous system of education on the other have also been studied to provide historical antecedent of Indian education (Satyanarayana, 2002). The studies are critical of colonial education, as a process of ‘infltration’ for a handful of upper-class citizens. As far as education among Dalits is concerned, these studies reveal three signifcant and interrelated trends. First is the exclusionary nature of early modern education heavily dictated by the exclusionary caste structure and its norms (Yagati, 2002; Satyanarayana, 2002; Zelliot, 2002). These studies critically examine the severely circumscribed scope of educational opportunities to Dalits vis-à-vis the upper castes and the accompanying inequalities. Second, the role of colonial policy in modernizing and westernizing Indian education is studied with reference to its impact on education of Dalits and other groups belonging to the lower socio-economic strata (Nancharaiah, 2002). Nambissan (1996) terms the British policy for the education of untouchables as one marked by dualism, that is comprising their own liberal position owing to pressures from the dominant caste. She takes a critical look at colonial education programmes and facilities like ‘special schools’ and ‘night schools’ for Dalits. These studies also highlight the discrimination practiced towards Dalits in these educational settings and the poor quality of education imparted to them. Finally, the 19th-century social reform movement in India and the Indian national movement recognised the critical role of education for social reforms as well as national integration (Yagati, 2002; Satyanarayana, 2002). The scholars who studied these processes observed that the social movements admitted Dalits only as marginalised Hindus, and schools became an institutional means to reinforce under privilege and unequal status of Dalits. Both Nambissan (1996) and Yagati (2002) observe that until the frst generation of educated Dalits became ideologues and activists for their own cause, Dalit education received very little policy attention. But no systematic collective social or policy efforts for educating Dalits were undertaken in India. Historical studies of modern education reveal the drastic consequences of the colonial policy on education as well as the national movements for social reform and independence on Dalit education. While the colonial rulers resorted, politically and administratively, to ‘divide and rule’, the Indian nationalists then were obsessed with national unity for equality and social
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justice. While the social reform movements aimed at enlarging the scope of education and social emancipation of weaker sections including women (Naik, 1979), it remained a half-hearted attempt at emancipation – both in theory as well as in execution.
Policy, programmes and schemes Research studies that reviewed education policy, programmes and schemes for SCs can be traced back to the early 1970s covering various themes and focus (Sharma, 1974; Premi, 1974). Chanana, in her study (1993), highlighted how affrmative-action policies interacting with social structures create inter- and intra-group inequalities. She has shown how despite the assurance of equality and special provisions by the Constitution, the education policy did not comprehensively or cumulatively capture the same. She further observed that the policy remained fragmented insofar as it did not acknowledge the dynamic interrelation of education with the social structure and reality. Sharma (1974), in his study, also raised the larger policy questions in the context of regional variations in access to resources among SC students in Rajasthan. According to him, the higher the level of education, the lower is the enrolment of SCs. This is partly on account of their poor access to primary education coupled with a lack of support to them in schools (Jha and Jhingran, 2005). Sharma’s analysis reveals that the alarmingly backward condition of SCs is connected to the deprivation they suffer in relation to the higher-status groups and to the differential treatment they receive from power elites. Both Sharma, and Chanana as well as Jha and Jhingran argued that poor economic background coupled with the rigid and discriminatory socio-cultural rules and behaviour in society towards Dalits impede their education signifcantly. The impact of reservation in admission at different levels of education and in employment were studied by scholars such as Sharma (1974), Premi (1974), Shah (1985), Velaskar (1986), Chalam (1990), Weisskopf (2004), Brennan and Shlomowitz (2006), Sundaram (2006) and Chalam (2007). Sharma, in his study, found that though the proportion of enrolment for SCs in schools has slowly increased in absolute numbers, the size remains very small compared to the enrolment numbers for other groups. Moreover, SCs lag behind in their participation in higher levels of education despite provisions of quota therein (Ghosh, 2006; Reddy and Reddy, 2009). A few studies in the 1980s and 1990s examined the use of reservation in admission to professional courses by SC students, particularly medicine. Velaskar’s study (1986) of medical colleges in Mumbai and fndings of Chalam (1990) and Weisskopf (2004) further corroborated some of the earlier fndings. For instance, Velaskar observed that SC students flled up much less than half of the 11% of seats reserved for them in medical colleges of Mumbai. Further, she found that though a third of the seats reserved for
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SC/ST students were flled by the year 1980–81, some colleges in Mumbai did not have a single SC student. Much on the same lines, Weisskopf’s work on the impact of reservation in admission to higher education found that only thanks to reservation in admission in the late 1990s, only a small segment of the SC students could get enrolled in the professional programmes such as in agriculture, medicine, engineering and science and architecture. He further highlighted that at least half the seats meant for SCs in these courses remained vacant, even in 2004, nearly seven decades after Independence. He also noted the signifcant rise in cutoff marks in admission, which, according to him, could be partly due to a second-generation effect – children of parents who have been able to improve their educational and socio-economic status by virtue of their parents’ access to reserved seats in educational institutions. In a recent study, Wankhede (2016) found that SCs continue to opt for general stream which is less expensive, less competitive and easy to access. Also, government colleges or institutes funded by the government offer far more security to students from SC communities by way of flling up the reserved quota and providing facilities that are mandated for such students. Finally, the burgeoning private and self-fnanced educational institutions pose a huge problem for Dalits by way of limiting the number of seats offered by government institutions thereby leading to a declining share of seats within the reservation quota (Louis, 2004). Moreover, Dalits, due to their disadvantaged fnancial position, suffer more in opting for private and/or self-fnanced courses that require paying high capitation fees. Velaskar (1986) and Weisskopf (2004) observed that most of the SC benefciaries of India’s reservation policy in universities come from the upper strata of SCs, accelerating intra-SC inequalities. But, as Weisskopf’s study shows, the socio-economic status of SC students on average is signifcantly below that of non-SC students. Many studies have evaluated government programmes and schemes such as reservation quota/policy in education and employment for SCs, fnancial assistance, student loan and government spending, hostels for SCs, MidDay Meal, and Navodaya Vidyalaya and other special schools for rural and marginalised sections of society (Velaskar, 1986; Chalam, 1990; Nambissan, 1996; Weisskopf, 2004; Chalam, 2007; George, 2010). Besides, other studies have examined the impact of socio-economic and educational background of SC parents on their children’s education, review of larger equity policies, regional variations, as well as inter- and intra-group inequalities in access to government schemes by the SCs (Sharma, 1974; Ahmad, 1978; Pandey, 1986; Nambissan and Batra, 1989; Kaul, 2001; Chandrashekar and Akash, 2011). These studies have highlighted the normative importance of social equity and therefore the role of protective discrimination as an enabling mechanism for widening access and meaningful participation of SCs in education. Since the early 1990s, there has been a rise in the number of government schemes and facilities for weaker sections in education. Yet, research
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studies with a focus on impact assessment of government schemes during this period are very limited (Rajan and Jayakumar, 1992; Drèze and Goyal, 2003; George, 2010; Rout, 2012). For instance, there are no systematic studies that examined budgetary allocations, expenditures incurred and actual number of benefciaries that received the facilities – that is the scope and coverage of these schemes. Though several macro analyses of public expenditure on education are found in general, rarely have they done disaggregated data analyses to derive conclusions about budgetary allocations and benefciaries of different SC groups (Adhikari, 2016). We found no comparative studies on the effectiveness of government schemes and programmes for SCs across time and space. We also did not fnd studies on the relative importance of various government schemes and facilities given to marginalised students, such as fnancial assistance, remedial coaching, hostel facilities, tuition fee waiver and quota in admission designed to provide a level playing feld for Dalits. George (2010) assessed the hostel scheme for Dalit students called Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojana. He found a mismatch between the stated policy and its actual implementation. Further, it was observed that the criteria for selection of location for establishment of hostels were not followed. Moreover, though the scheme is potentially benefcial for poor SC students, it has not reached the eligible benefciaries as the location of hostels in terms of rural and urban areas has not followed. Premi (1974) and Weisskopf’s studies establish the positive impact of provision of special hostels for SCs on their enrolment and participation. However, macro data comparisons on the impact of hostel and fnancial schemes also revealed widespread regional variations. It was observed that SCs located in urban areas are more likely to avail of government benefts compared to those in rural areas (Sharma, 1974; Kamat, 1981). With the advent of globalisation and the rise in privatisation of education, there is a noticeable change in the educational landscape of Dalits (Bhoi, 2013). Philanthropic institutions aside, with shrinking publicly funded education, private educational institutions deliberately discriminate in the name of ‘high fee and merit’ (Singh and Sridhar, 2002; Deshpande, 2006). Unequal quality of education establishes an unequal path to the labour and employment market. Scant studies, mostly in the form of commentary debates, have been done to understand the relationship among globalisation, privatisation and the role of affrmative action. Not many systematic studies are found that try to understand the intragroup inequalities in access to education. Though affrmative-action programmes have a long history of implementation in India, very few of the deserving children from socially disadvantaged, regionally diffcult terrain and economically poor backgrounds (vis-à-vis their relatively rich and superior peers) can access these facilities (Rout, 2012; Basant and Sen, 2014). In other words, affrmative action tends to perpetuate intra-SC inequalities by
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appeasing the social justice needs of relatively rich and forward SC groups. Except for a few commentaries in national weeklies, no systematic attempt was found to have been made to explore the issue of creamy layer among SCs (Pandita, 2015).
Studies on student enrolment and dropout Research studies on access to and participation of Dalits in education in the early 1970s to the mid-1990s tend to focus on the structure of caste inequality. For instance, studies have brought out patterns of progress in literacy among SCs vis-à-vis others both at sub-national and all India levels. These studies have brought out relationship of caste system and its practices in the community with that of the low levels of literacy among marginalized groups including SCs (Banarjee, 1992; Deka, 2016). Subsequent studies have focused on specifc issues like enrolment comparison, dropout, performance and discrimination (Kirpal, 1978; Banerjee and Knight, 1985). With few exceptions, studies from the late 1970s to mid-2010s indicate that enrolment of SC students at various levels (particularly secondary and above) of education is below than their share in population (Rao, 2002; Weisskopf, 2004; Banerjee and Somanathan, 2007). Even in higher education, where quota in admission is mandated, enrolment of SCs has not been proportionate to their population. Chalam (1990) examined the costs and benefts of a reservation policy on the educational institutions on the target groups. The study analysed enrolment data by caste categories and compared it to the proportion of quota/seats flled by SC students. He fnds that despite some remarkable improvements in school enrolments, the enrolment of SCs in higher education does not even fll the quota of reserved seats and remains far less than that of upper caste enrolment. Moreover, at the level of access and enrolment, some studies reveal that the education institutions carefully select their students from among only those who belong to an identifably distinct socioeconomic or cultural group (Kumar, 2016; Jenkins and Barr, 2006). These studies also point to the corresponding relation between these socio-economic and cultural groups with relatively superior skills and attitudes and the ease with which they approach and survive in educational setting. Studies analysing gender disaggregated data reveal that women in general and Dalit and Adivasi women in particular do face multiple and graded problems of caste, class and gender which again multiplied for those who live in rural and geographically diffcult terrains (Borooah and Iyer, 2005; Anand and Yadav, 2006; Ajankar and Pranali, 2011; Lalitha et al., 2016). These complex and cumulative problems infuenced by the perceived gender roles in education and society create conditions of less equal opportunities and life chances for education of Dalit girls compared to Dalit boys. Maxime in her study on SCs and access to education (2008) argues that
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while many studies have focused on education of Indian children, further investigations still to be undertaken in order to understand the importance of inter-community differences with regards to school enrolment. Studies on patterns of educational access among Dalits hold that the access varies among the general population and SCs, as also with management and funding patterns of the schools (Singh and Sridhar, 2002; Wankhede, 2016). Under such circumstances, Dalits’ aspirations for education are typically catered to by government schools (Hill and Dasgupta, 2011). Often these schools serve as the last and only option for Dalit students. Despite the provision of 25% reservation of seats for economically weaker sections (EWS) students in some private schools, there are several loopholes in the implementation of this provision. The high fees of private schools with distinctively elite orientation and outlook do appeal to the educational requirements of higher socio-economic strata. Very few efforts have been made to systematically understand the differences in the participation and performance of SC students vis-à-vis others (Lohithakshan, 2007; Desai and Kulkarni, 2008). In the absence of that, arguments on the academic performance of SC students are dominated by general observations and perceptions infuenced by the ‘majoritarian view’ of calibre rather than being based on sound empirical data. During the early period of research on SCs, roughly between the 1970s and 1980s, less attention was paid in understanding the socio-economic background of SC students, school environment, evaluation of government schemes and facilities and students’ aspirations for education. However, the post-1990s studies have attempted to fll the vacuum. They have compared and correlated a large spectrum of socio-economic and familial information with educational characteristics. For instance, these studies (Velaskar, 1986; Hasanand Mehta, 2006; Roble and Krishna, 2012) took into account multiple and intersecting inequalities in education for SCs such as rural– urban divide, gender and religion. These studies invariably brought out that unequal status in education is strongly associated with the socio-economic and cultural characteristics of the students. There are several studies on extent and causes of dropout of SC students particularly at the primary and upper primary level (Pullarao, 2016). Most of the studies are based on secondary data like NSS, census and government reports. The major reasons for dropout which these studies identify are poverty, ill treatment by teachers, lack of interests, domestic work, etc. (Rajwat, 2005). The studies highlight that lower economic position coupled with lack of education environment in family discourages and de-motivates Dalit children to complete their studies (Pullarao, 2012). Some studies show that girls’ ratio in dropout is higher than boys’ because of various challenges such as lower societal expectations from girls’ education, helping in household chores, care of younger siblings and sexual taboos attached to adolescent girls (Anand and Yadav, 2006; Sedwal and Kamat, 2008; Ajankar and
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Pranali, 2011; Rout, 2015). Studies have invariably brought out that relatively higher proportion of SC students drop out from education compared to other social groups. These studies mainly focus on socio-economic and family structure of students. But school-related factors including feeling of isolation and discrimination leading to dropouts have not been adequately addressed. No systematic attempt has been made to study dropout of SC students from a longitudinal perspective taking into account a cohort of population passing/dropping different levels of education over a period of time. Similarly, the studies related to the processes of exclusion and practices of discrimination leading to SC dropout in education are absent. There is a lack of systematic methodology available to capture the subtle and dynamic nature of discrimination being practiced towards Dalits in education settings.
Studies on quality and performance of students It is generally believed that children from high- and middle-class families are better exposed to a learning environment at home because of provision and availability of extra learning facilities (Becker and Tomes, 1979; Scaria, 2014). It means parents from sound socio-economic backgrounds ensure their children’s future earning power by providing them with a favourable learning environment, better-quality education (Jeffrey and Jeffery, 2008) and, thus, better job prospects. Conversely, parents from a low socio-economic class cannot ensure the same, and hence scaling the education ladder may not be as easy for their children (Fan, 2012). The infuence of parents’ education, occupation and family structure on their children’s educational performance and aspirations is documented by various studies (Sutradhar, 2015; Gorettilourdes, 2002; Pinto, 2002; Acharya and Behera, 2005). Chitnis (1972) in her research on the status of SC students in higher education summed up the backwardness of SCs in terms of four features: poor enrolment, poor retention, enrolment in inferior institutions and poor performance. Some scholars focused on SC/ST students of professional courses in elite institutions such as IITs/AIIMS/IIMs etc. (Khora, 2015; Kirpal et al., 1985). They found that these students face academic as well as social problems, the most acute being the feeling of intense academic competition in these institutions. Over and above that, the SC/ST students face diffculties in comprehending subjects (because of the wide differences between school and college subjects) and lack of English language competence. Other studies also reveal that SC/ST students experience more stress, depression, loneliness, or discrimination in professional courses compared to non-SC/ST students (Coate and Loury, 1993; Robles and Krishna, 2012). A number of studies on performance and achievement of SC students have highlighted factors such as socio-economic and familial conditions infuencing educational performance. It is only lately that studies (Gouda
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and Sekhar, 2014; Chough, 2011; Kumar and Pillai, 2013) have begun to examine school-/institution-related factors affecting performance of the SC students. Besides, various studies have considered marks/grades secured in fnal examination as sacrosanct and a proxy for students’ performance (Kirpal, 1978; Wankhede, 2001). There is a need to develop an objective method (if any) by which both procedural and outcome-based performance of students can be measured (Singh and Sridhar, 2005). Moreover, very few studies on students’ performance and achievements have looked at whether the differential attitude of teachers and peers towards the academic calibre of SC students affect their performance and, if so, in what way.
Studies on curriculum and pedagogy Research studies in the context of curriculum and pedagogy for SCs typically look at the nature and scope of the representation of Dalit students’ socio-economic experiences in the curriculum and pedagogic support. These studies explore the context, content and relevance of the ‘chosen’ curriculum knowledge for depressed social groups and the way they are transmitted (the process of subtle upper caste/class value acculturation in selected knowledge transmitted through teaching and learning). Life experiences and local knowledge of the deprived communities are not as valued as the culture, knowledge, values and life experiences of the upper castes and classes (Kumar, 1983; Nambissan, 1996). Besides a vaguely sentimental discussion of larger social inequalities and the resulting oppression and discrimination faced by SCs (Senthil, 2008; Nagaraju, 2014), limited studies have explored the historical processes of whose knowledge, values and cultures are selected and why and how they are being transacted in formal education system (Naorem and Ramachandran, 2013). Social awareness and emancipation movements led by Dalits, mostly in Central and Southern India, the role of eminent Dalit social reformers and Dalit knowledge and literature hardly occupy a place in mainstream curriculum. It is only recently the role of Dr. Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule in social awakening among the oppressed fnd place in the school textbooks (AL Committee, 2002; Bhoi, 2013). A few studies point out that besides poor infrastructure facilities, lack of effective pedagogic supports to acquire linguistic and cognitive competencies adversely affects schooling of Dalit children in India (Nambissan, 1996; Khora, 2015). The design and composition of curriculum and choice of content are far removed from the socio-economic and cultural experiences of SC students, which partly explains the lower academic achievements and higher dropout rates among SC students. This trend also contributes to the general perception that SC students are academically inferior to other students.
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Studies on inequality, exclusion and discrimination Research studies on broad questions of inequalities, exclusion and discrimination in education among SCs can be grouped into three broad categories. First, studies focus on practices of discrimination and negative treatments toward SCs in education setting: these studies observed that Dalit representation in higher education and workforce remains low. Difference in the enrolment fgures of Dalits and non-Dalits indicate the presence of discrimination (Saberwal, 1972; Yagati 2002; AL Committee, 2002; Senthil, 2008; Santhosh and Abraham, 2010; Venkatanarayanan, 2014). Shah (2012) in his essay on democracy, equality and education observes that “. . . after sixty years of independence, the State has granted education as the fundamental right to every child . . . but the possibility of its realisation is remote under neo-liberal political economy”(p. 531). He further laments of the fact that the policy makers by design or default have evolved the hierarchical and discriminatory institutional system that provides ‘good quality’ education to a selected few. Some of these studies also reviewed the pedagogy, curriculum and institutional environment of discrimination for Dalit students. Their fndings indicate that Dalit students are discriminated against and excluded by the university system (AL Committee, 2002). Maxime (2008) observed that caste membership is still an important discriminatory factor with regards to Dalit children’s access to education. Suma Scaria in her study fnds that ‘the old forms of inequalities in education are being replaced by new forms of inequalities’. She argues that the wide disparity inbuilt in Kerala is refected in the educational achievements of the social groups. The key determining factors are caste, religion, class and gender. The study shows that the SCs still stand at the bottom of the rankings in educational attainments. Studies on discrimination in universities found that indirect discrimination operates by acting on discourses like merit, rights, academic freedom/ autonomy, academic excellence and accountability in the university system. Some of the new forms of discrimination being faced by SCs in higher education are upper-caste hostel mates not allowing Dalit students to put up posters of their icons in hostel rooms, discrepancies in grades of Dalit students when graded by upper-caste teachers, professors and university employees not signing scholarship forms of Dalit students, and Dalit students’ names being displayed with their categories (Khora, 2016; Kumar, 2016). The second group of studies explores practices of discrimination in school education. The practices of discrimination in school are qualitatively different from those in higher education. Given the dominant and disciplinary role of the teacher and the lack of agency and autonomy of the student, it is likely that the school sets ambivalent circumstances for practices of discrimination (Jenkins and Barr, 2006). In other words, marginalised students are more vulnerable to discrimination and illtreatment by their teachers and
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sometimes by their upper-caste peers in the absence of agency and freedom for Dalit students coupled with non-implementation of disciplinary action against discrimination. The government and private-aided school teachers, mostly from upper-caste backgrounds exhibit blatant caste-based discrimination towards children (Jenkins and Barr, 2006; Venkataraman, 2014). Besides the already existing poor schooling infrastructure, these teachers bring along their own understandings and legitimacy of caste relations into the classroom. As a result of this challenge, the quality and performance of students are hampered. On the other hand, the unequal access to subsidised and state-sponsored education, mostly in the self-fnancing system, hamper educational participation of SCs (Kumar and George, 2009). Finally, some studies address issues of inequality and practices of discrimination in relation to gender and region and the effectiveness of legislation in addressing discrimination. Various scholars have studied how location such as rural gender inequalities (Paranjape, 2007), access to public resources like public distribution systems (Thorat and Lee, 2005) and larger unequal structure and processes of education mutually reinforce discrimination against SCs. For example, studies of unequal distribution of education in relation to regions/states, caste, gender and rural/urban areas brought out that education among SCs and others are more skewed, with signifcant gender inequalities played out within and outside the caste clusters (Bandyopadhyay, 2006; Paranjape, 2007; Harinath, 2013).
Studies on socio-economic and institutional environment SC advancement in the feld of education has been very minimal and their location in urban areas very sparse compared to other social groups, mostly migrant and construction workers in the informal sector. Their exposure to the forces of modernity – realisation of rights and entitlements, responsibilities, a sense of citizenship, which comes with exposure to modern education, occupation and lifestyle – is therefore extremely limited. Yet, a majority of the SCs cluster mainly around the agricultural sector in the countryside and represent a great proportion of landless labourers. Their share in the benefts of new occupational opportunities in the secondary and tertiary sectors is comparatively low (Chandidas, 1969; Pandey, 1986; Kumar, 1999). The free food distributed at schools did not do much to attract children to schools or studies. Another problem associated with poor performance of SC children is their inability to pay for special coaching (Saradamoni, 1981), and low career aspirations of SCs are related to their backward economic conditions (Chandrashekar and Akash, 2011). Sreekala and Santhiya (2015) in their study of educational and occupational mobility of SCs in Union Territory of Pondicherry observed that these people don’t mingle with other people, do manual work and are not aware of the facilities available under government
Bharat Chandra Rout
assistance. Further, caste and gender structures as well as economic and power relations in society block the process of empowerment of weaker sections of students in education (Kaul, 2001). However, some of the earlier studies have grappled with many issues of a political and structural nature and situated the question of education for marginalised communities in the larger backdrop of caste, poverty and political apathy.
Studies on outcome of education Research studies on the outcome of education reveal who gets what as far as labour market employment is concerned. The SCs were debarred from undertaking any business activity on account of the notions of purity and pollution; proscriptions and caste sanctions on ownership of agriculture land kept them relegated to agriculture labour (Thorat, Attewell and Rizvi, 2009). Jeffery and Jeffery observed that though all Dalit parents and students accept education as one of the means of social empowerment, the meaning and values of education are conditioned by their employment prospects and opportunities. Those few Dalits who achieve high educational credentials and successfully gain employment become positive role models for the rest of the Dalit youths. The second category is those who are educated but failed to enter the job market. They became negative reference points for the other Dalit youths. The third category is those who failed in schools and colleges. They tend to be stigmatised by the Dalit society. Thus, young Dalit men’s response to education is heterogeneous in nature. Those who fail in education tend to explore other channels for social mobility. It is necessary to recognise the exclusionary and discriminatory character of our society and economy, a creation largely of differences arising from caste, ethnicity, religion and other ascriptive identities. The interrelated and interactive forces of the caste system treat education mainly as an important factor for economy mobility and changing the landscape of hereditary affliations mandated mostly by ascriptive identities (Venkataraman, 2014). Moreover, there is a strong connection between low participation of SCs in education with that of their overwhelming majority in less-skilled and lower-paying jobs (Thorat, Attewell and Rizvi, 2009; Darity, 2012; Papola, 2012; Patel, 2016) with even lower participation of SC women in education and employment compared to their male counterparts (Sutradhar, 2015).
Conclusion The review of research studies on the educational participation of SCs from the early 1970s to this date indicate the gradual educational progresses made and the underlying challenges that remain to be addressed. There has been noticeable progress in education participation among SCs from the last two decades, but with unequal progress made in higher education compared to primary
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education. The performance and graduation rate of SC students remain a signifcant challenge with variations in regions, gender and public/private institutions. There is a need to study the processes of multiple and intersecting inequalities like rural vs. urban and gender disparities in education for SCs. Very few studies have so far looked at whether teachers’ and peer groups’ differential attitude or perception towards the academic calibre of SC students affect their performance. If yes, in what ways? There is also a need to conduct systematic studies on governance of various education-related welfare programmes by the government for SCs to gauge their signifcance and areas of improvement. Education remains to this date a potential site for social reproduction of inequalities and discriminations particularly for SCs and also for other marginalised social and gender groups. Though access to education as institutions of enlightenment and equality gives formal freedom to education, the larger inequalities in the society inhibit challenges to realise such freedoms (Rout and Watts, 2015).
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Bhoi, D. (2013) ‘Educational Privatisation and Access to Higher Education: Experiences of Scheduled Caste Students in Odisha’, Social Change, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 341–363. Borooah, V.K. and Iyer, S. (2005) ‘Vidya, Veda, and Varna: The Infuence of Religion and Caste on Education in Rural India’, The Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 41, No. 8, Nov., pp. 1369–1404. Brennan, L. and Shlomowitz, J.M. (2006) ‘Caste, Inequality and the Nation-State: The Impact of Reservation Policies in India, C. 1950–2000’, South Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies, Vol. 29, No. 1, Apr., pp. 117–162. Chalam, K.S. (1990) ‘Caste Reservations and Equality of Opportunity in Education’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 25, No. 41, Oct. 13, pp. 2333–2339. Chalam, K.S. (2007) Caste-Based Reservations and Human Development in India, New Delhi, Sage Publications. Chanana, K. (1993) ‘Accessing Higher Education: The Dilemma of Schooling Women, Minorities, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Contemporary, Higher Education’, Perspectives on Higher Education in India, Vol. 26, No. 1, Jul., pp. 69–92. Chandidas, R. (1969) ‘How Close to Equality Are Scheduled Castes?’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 4, No. 24, June 14, pp. 975–979. Chandrashekar and Akash, S.B. (2011) ‘Educational and Occupational Aspirations of Scheduled Caste College Students: An Empirical Study’, Southern Economist, Vol. 49. No. 17, Jan. 1, pp. 49–52. Chitnis, S. (1972) ‘Education for Equality: Case of Scheduled Castes in Higher Education’, Economic and Political Weekly, Special Number, Vol. 7, No. 31/33, Aug., pp. 1675–1681. Chough, S. (2011) ‘Dropout in Secondary Education: A Study of Children Living in Slums of Delhi’, NUEPA Occasional Paper, 37, New Delhi. Coate, S. and Loury, G. (1993) ‘Will Affrmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?’, The American Economic Review, Vol. 83, No. 5, pp. 1220–1240. Darity, W.A., Jr. (2012) ‘The Economics of the Dispossessed’, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Movement Lecture, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, New Delhi, Jan. 2011, Printed in 2012. Deka, P. (2016) ‘A Study on Literacy Pattern among the Scheduled Caste Population in Goalpara District, Assam’, International Journal of Scientifc and Research Publications, Vol. 6, No. 1, Jan., pp. 19–21. Desai, S. and Kulkarni, V. (2008) ‘Changing Educational Inequalities in India in the Context of Affrmative Action’, Demography, Vol. 45, No. 2, Jan 5, pp. 245–270. Deshpande, S. (2006) ‘Exclusive Inequalities: Merit, Caste and Discrimination in Indian Higher Education Today’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 41, No. 24, Jun. 17–23, pp. 2438–2444. Drèze, J. and Goyal, A. (2003) ‘Future of Mid-Day Meals’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 38, No. 44, Nov. 1–7, pp. 4673–4683. Fan, X. (2001) ‘Parental Involvement and Students Academic Achievement: A Growth Modeling Analysis’, Journal of Experimental Education, Vol. 70, No. 1, pp. 27–60. George, S. (2010) ‘Hostel Schemes for Dalit Students: Continuing Exclusion’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 45, No. 25, June 19–25, pp. 29–32. Ghosh, J. (2006) ‘Case for Caste-Based Quotas in Higher Education’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 41, No. 24, Jun. 17–23, pp. 2428–2432.
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Gorettilourdes, G. (2002) ‘Academic Achievement of the Scheduled Caste College Students in Manomaniam Sundaranar University’, Indian Journal of Social Work, Vol. 63, No. 4, Oct., pp. 540–551. Gouda, S. and Sekhar, T.V. (2014) ‘Factors Leading to School Dropout in India: An Analysis of National Family Health Survey-3, India’, IOSR Journal of Research and Methods in Education, Vol. 4, No. 6, pp. 75–83. Harinath, S. (2013) Dalit Women and Dropout Rates in Collegiate Education: A Study Of the Warangal District of Andhra Pradesh, Newcastle, UK, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Hasan, R. and Mehta, A. (2006) ‘Under-Representation of Disadvantaged Classes in Colleges: What Do the Data Tell Us?’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 41, No. 35, Feb. 9, pp. 3791–3796. Hill, E., Samson, M. and Dasgupta, S. (2011) ‘Expanding the School Market in India: Parental Choice and the Reproduction of Social Inequality’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 46, No. 35, Aug. 27, pp. 98–105. Jeffrey, C. and Jeffery, P. (2008) ‘When Schooling Fails: Young Men, Education and Low-Caste Politics in Rural North India’, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Vol. 39, No. 1, Feb., pp. 1–38. Jenkins, R. and Barr, E. (2006) Social Exclusion of Scheduled Caste Children from Primary Education in India, Draft October 5, 2006, UNICEF India. Jha, J. and Jhingran, D. (2005) Elementary Education for the Poorest and Other Deprived Groups, New Delhi, Manohar. Kamat, R. (1981) ‘Education and Social Change Amongst the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 16, No. 31, Aug. 1, pp. 1279–1284. Kaul, R. (2001) ‘Accessing Primary Education: Going beyond the Classroom’, Economic and Political Weekly, Jan. 13, pp. 155–162. Khora, S. (2015) ‘Questioning Excellence: Expelling 73 Students in IIT Roorkee’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 50, No. 33, 15 Aug. Khora, S. (2016) ‘Removing Discrimination in Universities’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 51, No. 6, 6 Feb. Kirpal, V. (1978) ‘Higher Education for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 13, No. 4/5, Jan. 28–Feb. 4, pp. 165+167–169. Kirpal, V., Swamidasan, N., Gupta, A. and Gupta, R.K. (1985) ‘Scheduled Caste and Tribe Students in Higher Education: A Study of an IIT’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 20, No. 29, Jul. 20, pp. 1238–1248. Kumar, K. (1983) ‘Educational Experience of Scheduled Castes and Tribes’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 18, No. 36/37, Sep. 3–10, pp. 1566–1572. Kumar, N. (1999) ‘Scheduled Castes in Transition’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 34, No. 36, Sep. 4–10, pp. 2548–2549. Kumar, V. (2016) ‘Discrimination on Campuses of Higher Learning’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 51, No. 6, Feb. 6, pp. 12–15. Kumar, A.N. and George, K. (2009) ‘Kerala’s Education System: From Inclusion to Exclusion?’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 44, No. 41/42, Oct. 10–23, pp. 55–61. Kumar, A.N. and Pillai, M.B. (2013) ‘A Study of Academic and Infrastructural Input and Achievement of Scheduled Caste Students of Residential Schools of Madhya Pradesh’, Indian Educational Review, Vol. 51, No. 1, Jan., pp. 74–92.
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Lalitha, B., et al. (2016) ‘The Barriers and Enablers to Education among Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Adolescent Girls in Northern Karnataka, South India: A Qualitative Study’, International Journal of Educational Development, Vol. 49, Apr. 23, pp. 262–270. Lohithakshan, P.M. (2007) Dictionary of Education: A Practical Approach, New Delhi, Kaniska Publishers and Distributors. Louis, P. (2004) ‘Affrmative Action in Private Sector’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 39, No. 33, Aug. 14–20, pp. 3691–3692. Maxime, D. (2008) Scheduled Castes and The Access to Education: How Fair is India? Munich, GRIN Verlag. www.grin.com/document/145293 Nagaraju, G. (2014) ‘Vulnerability and Education: A Study of the Patterns of Discrimination in Government Schools in Andhra Pradesh’, Social Action, Vol. 64, Mar., pp. 48–62. Naik, J.P. (1979) ‘Equality, Quality and Quantity: The Elusive Triangle in Indian Education’, International Review ofEducation/InternationaleZeitschriftFüRerziehungswissenschaft/Revue Internationale De l’Education, Vol. 25, No. 2/3, Jubilee number, pp. 167–185. Nambissan, G. (1996) ‘Equity in Education? Schooling of Dalit Children in India’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 31, No. 16/17, Apr. 20–27, pp. 1011–1024. Nambissan, G. and Batra, P. (1989) ‘Equity and Excellence: Issues in Indian Education’, Social Scientist, Vol. 17, No. 9/10, Sep.-Oct., pp. 56–73. Nancharaiah, G. (2002) ‘Dalit Education and Economic Inequality’, in S. Bhattacharya (ed.), Education and the Disprivileged: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century India, New Delhi, Orient Longman. Naorem, T. and Ramachandran, V.A. (2013) ‘Synthesis of a Six-State Qualitative Study of What It Means to Be a Dalit or Tribal Child in Our Schools’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 48, No. 44, Nov. 2, pp. 43–52. Pandey, B. (1986) ‘Educational Development among Scheduled Castes’, Social Scientist, Vol. 14, No. 2/3, Feb.–Mar., pp. 59–68. Pandita, R. (2015) ‘Dropout Percentage of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Children in India: A Decadal Analysis up to Secondary Level’, Journal of Indian Education, Vol. 41, No. 2, Aug., pp. 97–117. Papola, T.S. (2012) ‘Social Exclusion and Discrimination in the Labour Market’, Working paper No. 2012/04, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development, Sept. Paranjape, M.S. (2007) ‘Uneven Distribution of Education in Maharashtra: RuralUrban, Gender and Caste Inequalities’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 42, No. 3, Jan. 20–26, pp. 213–216. Patel, D. (2016) ‘Education and Its Political Context for the Marginalised: A Study Based on Ambedkar Nagar District’, Journal of Indian Education, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 132–143. Pinto, A. (2002) ‘Culture, Values and Dalit in Higher Education’, in S. Bhattacharya (ed.), Education and the Disprivileged: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century India, New Delhi, Orient Longman. Premi, K. (1974) ‘Educational Opportunities for the Scheduled Castes: Role of Protective Discrimination in Equalisation’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 9, No. 45/46, Nov. 9, pp. 1902–1905.
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Aspirations and achievements of Scheduled Caste students in Kerala S. Irudaya Rajan and S. Sunitha
Introduction Kerala has witnessed several social reform movements and has beneftted from a strong and successful education system. In the pre-colonial period, being educated was the monopoly of higher castes. Scheduled Castes (SCs), lowest among the low in the caste hierarchy, were prohibited to take education. Additionally, their occupational mobility was severely circumscribed by the existing caste norms. This resulted in economic disparities among these social groups of a very high magnitude and strict adherence to untouchability norms which kept the SCs physically circumscribed as well. Thus, the higher castes accumulated wealth and were landlords and lower castes ended up with lower economic status. The latter become untouchables to keep away from the higher castes and the areas near temples. The Temple Entry proclamation1 of the Maharajah of Travancore issued in 1936 was a pioneering effort towards the eradication of untouchability. Under social reformers like Sree Narayana Guru and Ayyankali, Kerala has done away with many caste-based practices to progress towards greater equality in the spheres of education, social and political rights. Ayyankali started Sadhu Paripalana Sangham in 1907, an organisation for the upliftment of SCs. The national reconstruction movements too fuelled social movements in Kerala. In the 1980s, SC movements in Kerala began to be reinforced by the Harijan Federation led by Kallara Sukumaran and later the Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha. In other words, after Independence, thanks to socio-political movements, Kerala has achieved equity in education among sexes, religions and castes. The education system has changed from mere reproduction of facts to fostering discernment and criticality. Free and universal primary education is an elementary feature of the state’s educational system. The promotion policy2 of the state government has reduced dropout rates from schools in Kerala. However, this policy was criticised in that it has led to a worsening of the quality of education. A study conducted by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) ranked Kerala below 17 other states in level of learning achieved by school students (Nair,
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1999). Other research carried out by the Kerala Shasthra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) revealed that in Thiruvananthapuram district more than one-third (35.27%) of the total students from class III to VII in 529 schools scored fewer than 12 out of 100 in a simple test of language and arithmetic. In order to reduce repetition and dropout, a system of ‘automatic promotion’ is followed in Kerala with rather drastic consequences, it would seem (Government of Kerala, 2005). The changed notion of education from ‘social good’ to proft seems to dominate the present educational system. According to the latest Economic Review 2015, during 2014–15, out of the 12,615 schools in Kerala, 36% were government schools, 57% were aided schools and 7% were unaided schools. Aided schools managed by private organisations or individuals outnumbered government schools, indicating the domination of the proft motive in education (Government of Kerala, 2015).
Objective In the current educational context of Kerala, a study on the educational attainment and challenges facing the SCs is necessary to understand whether there is any educational backwardness among the SC students compared to the non-SC students. The study seeks to respond to questions such as: what problems do SC students face in their quest for education? How do they perform in different institutions? What barriers stand in the way of their improved performance? What are their aspirations in life? What are the aspirations of their parents? What are implications of their aspirations? The main objectives of this chapter are as follows: (a) to examine the disparity between the SCs and non-SCs in terms of educational attainment in different educational institutions; (b) to identify the major obstacles that stand in the way of improving their performance; and (c) to assess the performance of students and educational and occupational aspirations on the basis of their standard of living.
Profile of SCs in Kerala In 1961, the SC population of Kerala constituted 7.5% of its total population, which increased to 10% in 1981, probably due to castes added to the list, but fell to 9.8% in 2001 and further declined to 9.1% in 2011. Similarly, the decadal growth rate increased to 3.6% in 1981 from 3.4% in 1971 but declined drastically to 1.2% in 1991 and further to 0.8% in 2001. But in 2011, data has shown a negative growth rate of the SC population. Census 2011 mentioned that the list of SC castes in Kerala had undergone changes during the decade 2001 to 2011, resulting in change in proportion of SCs. According to Census 2011, the SC population in Kerala declined in absolute numbers by 84,368 persons –3,039,573 in 2011 from
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3,123,941 in 2001. As per the 2011 Census of India and the information available on the offcial website of the Government of Kerala, there are 53 SCs in the state and they constitute 9.1% of the population. Out of the 53 SC groups in Kerala, the Pulaya is the largest, with a population of 1,041,540, accounting for 33.3% of the total SC population of the state (Census of India, 2001). Cheruman is the second largest sub-caste, with a numerical strength of 316,518 (10.4%). These 2, along with 5 other SC castes – Kuravan, Paraiyan, Kannakan, Thandan and Vettuvan – account for 77.7% of the total SC population in Kerala. As per Census 2011, in Kerala, about 4.4% of SC children in the age group of 6 to 15 years have never attended school. Facilities in schools, health and transportation in Kerala The state is endowed with a good education system led and initiated by the government, private aided and private unaided institutions. Today, most of the people enrol in private institutions even though they are highly expensive. A total of 5,525 (37%) schools (including vocational higher secondary) are government-run, 8,092 (54.2%) are under private aided management (including vocational higher secondary) and 1,324(8.9%) schools are under private unaided management. This adds up to a total of 14,941 schools in the state. The development initiatives are access to electricity, access to public transport system and access to health facilities. Out of the 14 districts, 9 have above 80% penetration of road network. The average distance, in the state, from the nearest railway station is 18.6 KM, while it is 6.6 KM from the nearest town. Kerala has entered the third or fnal phase of the demographic transition characterised by low death rates and low birth rates, leading to a slowdown in the growth rate of the population. As a result, fertility has fallen below replacement level in most of the districts (Guilmoto and Irudaya Rajan, 2013), and mortality is regulated. This success is related to the high-performing health care infrastructure in Kerala. As life expectancy has gone up, mortality is substituted by morbidity. People are more aware of the preventive and curative measures available. Around 92% of the state is serviced by general/district or Taluk hospitals, which provide secondary healthcare. Kerala has achieved considerable social transformation and is now known for its high Human Development Index (HDI), universal literacy, and demographic advancements (Government of Kerala, 2005). It holds the top position among all the Indian states in terms of school education at all levels. The general as well as the SC populations of the state have shown an ever-increasing trend in literacy (Figure 3.1). The near-universal enrolment in schools is refective of a generally inclusive education system.
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120.0 100.0 80.0
Female -SC Male -GP
Female - GP
Figure 3.1 Literacy Level of SCs and General Population by Sex, Kerala Source: Compiled from various censuses, Registrar General of India
The evidence of the fact that the state had achieved most of the targets in school education is indicated by the percentage allocation for school education in the annual plan 2012–13 (48.65%) and 2013–14 (47.66%). This is a considerable reduction from the average outlay of 53.7% in the XIth plan (Government of Kerala, 2013). Thematic outline The students’ performance can be assessed through performance in examinations and their reading and writing skills. The current educational practice of promoting all the students to next class is the major reason for the poor performance of the students. The Economic Survey 2015–16 noted that the proportion of children in class 3 who could solve simple 2-digit subtraction problems fell from 26% in 2013 to 25% in 2014. Similarly, the percentage of children in class 2 who could not recognise numbers up to 9 increased from 11.3% in 2009 to 19.5% in 2014 (Government of Kerala, 2016). Even though the students have diffculty in reading and writing or have not managed to score well in the examinations, they are promoted to the next class. This potentially creates a problem as they go higher up in their education levels, as they may not be able to cope with the demands of the syllabus. Their aspirations may not be achieved, making it even more diffcult to fulfl their ambitions. Previous studies pointed out that there is a disparity between SC and non-SC students with regard to their educational performance and aspiration levels. The disparity in performance can be attributed to several factors
Aspirations and achievements of SC Students
such as socio-economic differences in their living conditions, cost of schooling, school environment and learning experiences in classrooms, study environment at home, lack of exposure to any education, poverty and parents’ indifferent attitude towards education (Roshini, 2006; Siju, 2003). Another study, by George (1979), pointed out that the main sources of fnance for education for the SC students are scholarships and free-ships and that the amount of the scholarship is not suffcient to cover their study requirements. Nearly two-thirds of the dropouts happen mainly due to economic reasons and inadequate facilities. The study suggested that adequate facilities should be given to the SC students and that they should receive more fnancial assistance. Kerala has a larger number of SC students in schools and colleges than in other states. Many do not prefer private colleges because of the lack of facilities for them. In some government colleges, their scholarship amount is not properly utilised. The study stressed the need for maintaining student–parent, student– teacher and parent–teacher relationships in the school environment to make a positive change in the socio-economic hierarchy. Diffculty in understanding the subject, ineffective teaching methods, use of unfamiliar language as the medium of instruction and so on are the major diffculties that the students face when it comes to understanding what is being taught. The SCs have traditionally been pushed out of the mainstream of development initiatives due to the prevalence of socio-cultural barriers and the inadequacy of appropriate government programmes to address their specifc requirements (George, 2011). Their inability to afford the high and increasing cost of private education adversely affects their educational progress. Data and methodology The present study on the attainment of education and the challenges faced by the SCs in Kerala, funded by ICSSR, covered various socio-economic and demographic components. The survey includes details of students from upper primary, high school and college levels and a household assessment. The selection of the sample is based on Census 2001. The study covers fve districts in Kerala based on the proportion of SC population and literacy achievements as per the direction of ICSSR (Appendix I). Later, Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Thiruvananthapuram, decided to extend the study to all 14 districts of Kerala using the same sampling formula (Rajan, Gasper and Sunitha, 2020). Thus, total sample size of the village household survey was 2,940 households in 14 districts of Kerala (Table 3.1). The students’ survey covered 3,216 students in 14 districts of Kerala (1,056 from Upper primary section, and 1080 students each from the Higher Secondary and College).
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Table 3.1 Samples Taken for the SC Educational Survey, 2013
Upper Primary Students High School Students College Students Households
792 810 810 2,100
264 270 270 840
1,056 1,080 1,080 2,940
Source: ICSSR: ESCAC 2012–14 (Kerala)
Univariate and bivariate analysis with the variables related to educational performance of the students, theirs and their parents’ aspirations were done. An index was constructed to assess the performance of students on the basis of their living standard. The variables selected for constructing the standard of living index are land ownership, house ownership, type of house, household amenities, availability of electricity, toilet facilities and ration card type. For calculating the indices, the score for the given factors were added to form the total score for each student. With the help of mean and standard deviation, the score was then divided into low, medium and high. Pearson’s correlation is measured to fnd the relation between each variable to be analysed in this paper. There are three types of correlation: positive, negative and no correlation. In positive correlation, the variable has a tendency to increase vis-à-vis other variables and negative correlation has a tendency to decrease. The variable is unchanged when there is no correlation. The existence of a strong correlation does not imply a strong relation between the variables. To resolve this problem, a statistical tool called multinomial logistic regression is used to analyse the relationship between the performance of students and selected variables, and then Pearson’s correlation test is used to prove the relationship. This is a linear regression model used when the dependent variable is nominal with more than two values, namely trichotomous. The dependent variable is trichotomous and the independent variable is dichotomous or continuous. It is used to estimate the degree of effect of each independent variable on the dependent variable. It compares multiple groups through a combination of binary logistic regression. The comparison of the dummy coded dependent variable done with the highest numeric score is used as the reference group. It does not make any assumptions of normality, linearity and homogeneity of variance for the independent variables (Garson, 2008).
Aspirations and achievements of SC Students
The model The multinomial logit model is based on the assumption that the log odds of each responds follow a linear model ˜ ˜ j ˝ˆ log ˛˛˛ ˆˆ = °j + ˛j X ˛°˛˜ j ˆ˙ˆ where αj is a constant and βj is a vector of regression coeffcients, for j = 1, 2, . . ., j − 1. This model is analogous to a logistic regression model, except that the probability distribution of the responses is multinomial instead of binomial and j − 1 equations instead of one. The j−1 multinomial logit equations contrast each of categories 1, 2, . . ., j − 1 with category j, whereas the single logistic regression equation is a contrast between success and failures. If j = 2 the multinomial logit model reduces to the usual logistic regression model (Hosmer and Lemeshow, 1998). Significance test of the model log likelihood Likelihood is a probability which varies from 0 to 1. The log likelihood (LL) is its log and varies from 0 to minus infnity (it is negative because the log of any number less than one is negative). Log likelihood is the basis for tests of a logistic model (Garson, 2008). The initial log likelihood function, (−2 Log Likelihood or −2 LL) is a statistical measure like total sums of squares in regression. If the independent variables have a relationship with the dependent variables, it will improve the ability to predict the dependent variable accurately and the log likelihood measure will decrease. The initial log likelihood value is a measure of a model with no independent variables, that is, only a constant or intercept. The fnal log likelihood value is the measure computed after all of the independent variables have been entered in the logistic regression. The difference between these two measures is the model chi-square value that is tested for statistical signifcance (Kleinbaum, 1994). Identifying the statistically significant predictor variables There are two outputs related to the statistical signifcance of individual predictor variables: the likelihood ratio tests and parameter estimates. The likelihood ratio tests indicate the contribution of the variable to the overall relationship between the dependent variable and the individual independent variables. The parameter estimates focus on the role of each independent variable in differentiating between the groups specifed by the dependent variable (Kleinbaum, 1994).
S. Irudaya Rajan and S. Sunitha
Odds ratios with 95% confidence interval The log odds ratio is the ratio of two odds, and it is a summary measure of the relationship between variables. It gives the relative amount by which the odds of the outcome increase (odds ratio greater than 1) or decrease (odds ratio less than 1), when the value of the independent variable is increased by 1 unit (Kleinbaum, 1994). This chapter explains the relationship between three dependent variables viz. performance of the students, educational and occupational aspirations of students and independent variables such as standard of living, caste and type of institution. The dependent variables such as ‘performance of the students’ and ‘educational aspiration’ are trichotomous dummy variables in which good performance is considered as the reference category for the former and above graduation as reference category for the latter. The dependent variable ‘occupational aspiration’ has 4 values, in which engineer is considered as reference category.
Disparity in educational attainment between SC and non-SC students There is a clear difference in the performance of SC students compared to their non-SC counterparts. The high school SC students who failed in their annual examination in 2013 was about 6% compared to just 1% among the non-SC students. Besides, the percentage of SC students in HS who secured frst and second division is lower than non-SC students. In short, the performance of the SC students is poorer than that of the nonSC students. Among college students, instance of failure is almost the same as in high schools. Good performance, such as frst division, in the examination is skewed in favour of non-SC students. SC students usually secure borderline grades at all levels of education. One-fourth of SC and one-third of non-SC students are confdent about their performance in the examinations. About 57% of SC students and 50% of non-SC students in these colleges feel that they could have performed better in the examination. Overall, it would appear that the performance of SC students lags behind their non-SC counterparts. The achievements of the SC and the non-SC students vary according to type of college. SC students perform poorly in private unaided colleges where their failure percentage is high. The failure rate for SC students is second highest in government colleges. But surprisingly the percentage of frst division holders is also highest in those colleges. In all, 29% of SC and 35% of non-SC students in these colleges feel that they have done well in the examination. About 47% each of SC and non-SC students feel that they ought to have done better in the examination.
Aspirations and achievements of SC Students
Obstacles that stood in the way Classroom comprehension is an obstacle that many students, both SC and non-SC, have reported. For instance, 78% of SC students have diffculty in understanding classroom teachings. SC students in government schools (80.3%) and private aided Upper Primary schools (76.4%) had diffculty in understanding classroom teaching. A relatively lower number of SC students in private unaided high schools (22.4%) had diffculty in following classroom teaching. In general, a comparatively lower share of non-SC students (23.3%) than SC students (77%) in government institutions had diffculty in comprehending classroom teaching. The students are aware of the major reasons that are responsible for their poor performance in the examinations. According to the SC students, a major reason for their poor performance in studies is that they do not spend enough time studying. This may be due to less interest in some subjects, which does not let them follow up in studies. The other reasons are that they ‘do not have a good memory and they fnd it diffcult to answer questions in the examination’. The non-SC students also mentioned insuffcient time spent on studies as the major reason for their poor performance in the examination. Inability to attend classes regularly ultimately leading to a poor knowledge in the subjects is another problem. The SC and non-SC students face no other specifc problems. Students studying in different categories of schools agree that the teachers are usually helpful and make an effort to explain the subject to them. However, 59% of SC and 37% of non-SC students still fear to converse with their teachers, a matter which needs to be addressed with great caution. Before analysing the educational background of the SCs, it is important to know their living standards on the basis of an analysis of their basic household characteristics such as land ownership, house ownership, type of house, household amenities, availability of electricity, toilet facilities and ration card type. There are many factors affecting the personal development of an individual. One of them is the standard of living of the family, which is the main factor that helps every person achieve his or her dreams. The standard of living index was constructed based on the method used in the National Family Health Surveys (NFHS). The weights to the selected variables are given according to economic class. All these variables were added by giving a standard weight for each variable. Based on the mean and standard deviation (SD), it is recorded as low (below mean), medium (mean+ SD) and high (above mean + SD). Compared to non-SC households, there are more SC households with a low standard of living. About 61% of the primary school and college students from SC households fall in the category of ‘low standard of living’ (Table 3.2). Most of the non-SC students in the same categories, that is primary and college, fall under the ‘medium standard of living’ category. The highest standard of living can be seen among college going students, both SC and non-SC.
S. Irudaya Rajan and S. Sunitha
Table 3.2 Standard of Living of the Students According to Social Strata and Level of Education in Kerala, 2013 (%) Schools/College
SC Non-SC Total SC Non-SC Total SC Non-SC Total
61.1 34.8 54.5 58.5 41.1 54.2 61.4 31.1 53.8
25.8 36.0 28.3 28.4 31.9 29.3 25.2 36.7 28.1
13.1 29.2 17.1 13.1 27.0 16.6 13.5 32.2 18.1
Source: ICSSR: ESCAC 2012–14 (Kerala)
Educational aspiration Students with a high standard of living have educational aspirations of a professional nature, while students with a low standard of living aspire to attain a graduate degree and employment corresponding to this qualifcation (Table 3.3). Some students with low standards of living are undecided about how far they can go in their educational pursuits. It indicates that the standard of living of the students seems to infuence their educational aspirations; higher the living standard the higher is their educational aspiration and vice versa. Occupational aspiration About 25% of SC students aspire to become engineers. Students with a higher standard of living dream of jobs in the better-paying professions while students with a low or medium standard of living desire to become teachers or police offcers or acquire a government job. This is true for both social categories (Table 3.4). Their performance in the last examination (2012, year before the survey) revealed that about 11% failed and 27% passed in the third division. Only 23.5% got frst division in the last examination. It is interesting that among the failed students, most of them aspired to become an engineer or a teacher. Most of them had wished for a job that would improve their living standards. We cannot predict the future of these students based on their current performance level, but we can conclude that most of them have dreams of fulflling their educational aspirations.
Aspirations and achievements of SC Students
Table 3.3 Educational Aspirations of Students According to Their Standard of Living (%) Education Aspiration
Non-SC Medium High
Graduate Professional 18.7 30.3 Graduates 27.2 23.5 Postgraduates 20.3 18 MPhil/PhD 2.9 2.4 PG Professional 11.3 12.5 Bed 3.6 1.6 SSLC/ITI 2.1 1.1 Plus Two 2.6 1.3 Depend upon the Family 1 0.9 As Much As I Can 3.2 2.7 GET A JOB 1.6 1.6 No Idea/Do Not 5.6 4.2 Know/NA Total % 100 100 Total N 1455 638
35.7 13.2 17.6 4.1 18.2 1.3 0.3 0.3 0.6 2.2 1.3 5.3 100 319
24 24.4 19.4 2.9 12.5 2.7 1.6 1.9 1 2.9 1.5 5.2 100 2412
20.6 25.8 18.8 3.8 7 3.5 4.2 3.1 3.1 4.2 2.1 3.8 100 287
20 28.6 23.2 2.9 10.7 2.5 1.8 0.4 1.4 2.1 1.1 5.4 100 280
30.8 16.5 22.8 5.9 13.1 0.8 0 1.3 1.3 2.5 1.7 3.4 100 237
Total 23.4 24 21.5 4.1 10.1 2.4 2.1 1.6 2 3 1.6 4.2 100 804
Source: ICSSR: ESCAC 2012–14 (Kerala)
Table 3.4 Occupational Aspiration of Students According to Their Standard of Living (%) Aspiration
Engineer Teacher Doctor Police Govt. Servant Accountant No Opinion Army Civil Servant Other Jobs Total % Total N
21.3 23.4 10.2 8.7 6.5 3.9 3.1 2.9 2.2 17.9 100 1,455
30.1 16.3 15.7 5.6 3.4 5 2.7 3 2.2 16 100 638
34.8 10 18.5 3.1 6.3 2.8 2.2 1.6 4.4 16.3 100 319
25.4 19.7 12.7 7.2 5.6 4.1 2.9 2.7 2.5 17.2 100 2412
20.2 25.4 11.8 8.4 3.1 2.4 4.2 2.1 2.4 21.6 100 287
26.8 15.4 12.9 6.8 5 3.9 1.8 5.4 3.2 17.9 100 280
30.8 13.1 15.2 2.1 3 5.1 1.3 2.5 5.1 21.5 100 237
25.6 18.3 13.2 6 3.7 3.7 2.5 3.4 3.5 20.3 100 804
Source: ICSSR: ESCAC 2012–14 (Kerala)
S. Irudaya Rajan and S. Sunitha
The ambition of SC students is seen to vary according to the type of institution they attend. Compared to SC students studying in government institutions who aspire to become a teacher, SC students of private unaided institutions have loftier dreams of becoming engineers. Also, a higher percentage of students in unaided institutions dream of becoming doctors. Non-SC students also have similar desires, but the ambition to become a doctor is equally dispersed among the students of government and private institutions. Living in hostels as compared to living with parents may infuence students’ aspirations differently. Social interactions among students in hostels may improve their aspiration level. Educated parents may also infuence their children’s aspiration level. About 43% of the SC students staying in a hostel wished to be engineers. Most of the students staying with their parents wished to become a teacher or doctor or enrol in the police force. It is interesting to note that male students keenly desired to become engineers or police offcers, while female students wanted to become teachers or doctors; however, there is no caste-based difference with regard to this dream. Most SC students studying at the primary level wished to become doctors, while most of the high school students wished to be police offcers. At the college level, most of the students wanted to be engineers or teachers. The aspirations of the non-SC students were similar to that of the SC students at each level of education. Parents’ ambition Parents’ attitudes towards their children’s future are not different from the attitudes of the children themselves. Most parents wished their children to become engineers or doctors. A similar proportion of parents left their dreams to their children’s wishes or luck. Many parents wished their children to become government servants or teachers. The parents opined that it is important to educate their children irrespective of their gender and that their children could lead a happy, comfortable life if they were better educated. Thus the infuence of parents is refected to a very great extent in the ambitions of the students. They desired to fulfl their parents’ wishes. Pearson’s correlation To measure the strength of a linear relationship between paired data, Pearson’s correlation coeffcient is calculated. The stronger linear relationship is closed to the value +1 and −1. We can see the negative and positive correlations in Table 3.5. There is a positive correlation of the variable ‘standard of living’ with ‘caste’, ‘performance of the student’ (result) and ‘ambition of the student’ and a negative relation with ‘type of institution’. This correlation is highly signifcant at the 0.01 level.
PC. Sig. PC. Sig. PC Sig. PC Sig. PC Sig. PC Sig. PC Sig. PC Sig. PC Sig. PC Sig. PC Sig.
.151** .000 −.351** .000 .060** .001 −.028 .117 .009 .617 −.030 .085 .233** .000 .058** .001 .116** .000 −.076** .000
−.040* .024 .019 .274 .053** .002 −.152** .000 .051** .004 .095** .000 .032 .066 .108** .000 −.100** .000
−.031 .082 .092** .000 .015 .410 −.024 .165 −.005 .762 −.064** .000 −.137** .000 .069** .000
−.351** .000 −.040* .024 1
Type of Institution
−.077** .000 .094** .000 .041* .021 −.005 .772 .089** .000 .075** .000 .027 .122
.060** .001 .019 .274 −.031 .082 1
** Correlation is signifcant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). * Correlation is signifcant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). c. List-wise N=3216
Source: Compiled by the authors; PC – Pearson correlation
Time Spent for Studies Private Tuition
Living Arrang. Grade
Type of Inst.
Table 3.5 Bivariate Correlations
−.160** .000 −.027 .130 .013 .464 −.072** .000 −.017 .336 −.091** .000
−.028 .117 .053** .002 .092** .000 −.077** .000 1
.068** .000 .000 .980 .286** .000 .071** .000 .346** .000
.009 .617 −.152** .000 .015 .410 .094** .000 −.160** .000 1
−.054** .002 .053** .003 .116** .000 .044* .012
−.030 .085 .051** .004 −.024 .165 .041* .021 −.027 .130 .068** .000 1
.005 .789 .011 .528 −.036* .039
.233** .000 .095** .000 −.005 .762 −.005 .772 .013 .464 .000 .980 −.054** .002 1
.065** .000 .074** .000
.058** .001 .032 .066 −.064** .000 .089** .000 −.072** .000 .286** .000 .053** .003 .005 .789 1
.116** .000 .108** .000 −.137** .000 .075** .000 −.017 .336 .071** .000 .116** .000 .011 .528 .065** .000 1
Time Spent forStudies −.076** .000 −.100** .000 .069** .000 .027 .122 −.091** .000 .346** .000 .044* .012 −.036* .039 .074** .000 −.068** .000 1
Aspirations and achievements of SC Students 53
S. Irudaya Rajan and S. Sunitha
The positive correlation of ‘performance of students’ with ‘standard of living’, ‘living arrangement’, ‘grade’, ‘gender’, ‘caste’ and ‘time spent for studies’ is very signifcant. There is a strong negative relation between ‘performance’ and ‘level of education’ (grade) and ‘private tuition’. Also, there is a moderate negative relation between ‘performance’ and ‘type of institution’. Thus, the dependent variables chosen for the analysis have a strong relationship with the selected independent variables. Multinomial logistic regression Three models were constructed to fnd the relationship between the dependent and independent variables selected. The dependent variables are ‘performance of students in previous examination’, ‘educational aspiration’ and ‘occupational aspiration of the students’. The dependent variable selected for the analysis is ‘performance of the students in the previous examination’. To fnd the factors affecting the level of performance, the multinomial logistic regression is applied by taking good performance as the reference category. The coeffcient under log (P1/ P3) represents the effect of predictor variables on poor performance (P1) over good performance (P3), and log (P2/P3) represents the effect of predictor variables on moderate level of performance (P2) over good performance (P3). Similarly for the educational aspiration of the students, P1 is below graduation, P2 is graduation and P3 is above graduation (Table 3.3). Finally for ‘occupational aspiration’, P1 is ‘other ambitions’, P2 is ‘doctor’ and P3 is ‘teacher’ over P4 ‘engineer’ (Table 3.4). Multinomial logistic regression coefficient for performance of students Here we can observe two outputs related to the statistical signifcance of the independent variables: the likelihood ratio tests and parameter estimates. The former indicates the overall relationship between the dependent and independent variables, whereas the latter focuses on the effect of each of the independent variables on the dependent variable. The initial log likelihood (LL) value (3799.383) is a measure of a model with no independent variables, and the fnal LL value (3382.161) is a measure computed after all of the independent variables became active (Table 3.6). The difference between these two values is the model chisquare value (417.222). The model ftting information gives the relationship between the dependent variable and combination of independent variables based on the statistical signifcance. The probability model chisquare was .000, less than or equal to the level of signifcance of 0.01. This indicates the existence of a relationship between the predictor and dependent variables.
Aspirations and achievements of SC Students
Table 3.6 Model Fitting Information for Performance of Students Model
Model Fitting Criteria
Likelihood Ratio Tests
−2 Log Likelihood
Source: Compiled by the authors
Table 3.7 Likelihood Ratio Tests for Performance of Students Effect
Model Fitting Criteria
Likelihood Ratio Tests
−2 Log Likelihood of Reduced Model
Standard of Living (SLI) Type of Institution Occupational Ambition Living Arrangements Grade Gender Time Spent for Studies Private Tuition Caste
3420.921 3409.287 3410.791 3390.291 3511.901 3388.977 3419.145 3389.088 3401.156
38.760 27.126 28.630 8.130 129.740 6.816 36.984 6.927 18.995
4 4 8 4 4 2 4 2 2
.000 .000 .000 .087 .000 .033 .000 .031 .000
Source: Compiled by the authors
The likelihood ratio test (Table 3.7) explains that there is a statistically signifcant relationship between ‘type of institution’, ‘ambition’, ‘result’ and ‘caste’ and the dependent variable ‘standard of living’ (.000 < 0.01). It is observed that all the variables –type of institution, occupational ambition, educational ambition, caste, standard of living, gender and grade – are signifcant contributors to explaining the performance level of the students. ‘Standard of living’, ‘caste’ and ‘gender’ are statistically signifcant in both the poor and moderate performance of students in their examination (Table 3.8). With regard to ‘type of institution’, private aided institutions are seen to have a signifcant relationship with performance levels. In the poor performance level, occupational ambition like ‘doctor’, ‘living arrangements’, ‘educational level’ (grade), ‘time spent for studies’ and ‘private tuition’ are statistically signifcant.
S. Irudaya Rajan and S. Sunitha
Table 3.8 Parameter Estimates for Performance of Students Reference Category
Intercept SLI Low Medium Type of Private Unaided Institution Private Aided Occupational No Opinion Ambition Other Ambitions Doctor Teacher Living With Others arrangement In Hostel Grade Primary High School Gender Male Time Spent Not Spent for Studies Less than 2 Hours Private Yes Tuition Caste SC
Performance (Base = Good) Poor
Log (P1/P3) Exp(B)
Log (P2/P3) Exp(B)
−2.147 High 0.872 0.435 Govt. 0.131 0.489 Engineer 0.700 −0.147 −0.674 −0.194 With 0.628 Parents 0.363 College −0.935 −0.268 Female 0.234 More than 0.979 2 Hours 0.367 No −0.343 Non-SC
2.393 1.545* 1.140 1.630** 2.014* 0.863 0.510** 0.823 1.875* 1.437* 0.392** 0.765* 1.264* 2.661** 1.443** 0.710*
−1.920 0.535 0.455 −0.089 0.351 0.619 0.227 −0.029 −0.075 0.252 −0.005 −0.177 0.718 0.202 −0.123 0.298 −0.156
1.707** 1.576** 0.915 1.421** 1.857* 1.255* 0.971 0.928 1.287 0.995 0.838 2.051** 1.224* 0.884 1.347** 0.856
Source: Compiled by the authors *