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CHALLENGES IN EDUCATION: A Dalit PERSPECTIVE. Regional Consultation on Right to Education Act & the New Mission Imperatives for Churches & Christian Education Institutions Organised by RCDRC, Raipur Chhattisgarh 10-11 September 2010 Presented by Goldy M. George

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Challenges in education a dalit perspective


Regional Consultation on

Right to Education Act & the New Mission Imperatives for Churches & Christian Education Institutions

Organised by

RCDRC, Raipur Chhattisgarh

10-11 September 2010

Presented by

Goldy M. George

(DalitMuktiMorcha & PhD Scholar TISS)

Who are dalits
Who are Dalits?

The Outcaste (Avarnas) within the varnashram

3000 years social oppression, political exploitation, economically deprived & culturally dominated.

Menial job , service provider, facilitator, etc.

Untouchables, asparshiya, depressed classes, harijans, etc.

Officially known as Scheduled Castes (GoI Act, 1935)

Another understanding on Dalits brings all the deprived groups SC, ST, OBC and minorities

Meaning of dalit
Meaning of Dalit

Dalit means broken people (Sanskrit, Hebrew, Latin)

A history, a people, a culture

Accommodative history

Resistance for justice, equality and peace

Strongly believes in equality, liberty and fraternity

A sense of culture with a balance between nature and human

Democratic principles based on consensus

Respect for women

Recognition and adoration of ancestors

First used in modern Indian literature by Phule

Dalit Panthers popularised in 1970s with it anti-caste, anti-class movement.

Dalits a factsheet
Dalits – A Factsheet

Total Population – 166 million

Percentage – 16.6% of total population of the country

No. of castes notified as SC – 1231

Literacy rate – 54.69% (census 2001); 57% (Thorat)

12% in the rural areas and 28% in the urban areas are in small business

In 2000, about two-thirds of SC rural households were landless or near-landless, compared with one-third amongst the non-SCs

Fewer than one-third of S.C. households had acquired access to capital assets compared with 60 per cent among non-SCs

Dalits a factsheet1
Dalits – A Factsheet

60% of SC households depend on wage labour compared with 25% among non-SC

In 1999-2000, about 36% of SCs were poor as compared with 21 per cent among non-SCs

Prevalence of poverty is particularly high among SC households that were engaged in wage labour in rural areas (50%) and urban areas (60%).

On an average about 23,000 cases of human rights violations and atrocities are registered with the police annually.

Rate of conviction – less than 1%

Out of about 800 accredited journalists in India, there is none from Dalits

As per CSDS Survey, not even one Dalit is present out of 315 key decision makers in media.

In top 100 industrialists and rich people no single Dalit remains

Dalits a factsheet2
Dalits – A Factsheet

So far only two Dalit Judges have found place in Supreme Court

There is no actor and actress in Bollywood (Film Industry).

No Dalit has been elevated to become the Cabinet Secretary 

As per SCP, the amount of expenditure of budget should be according to the population but this rule has been violated (e.g., in 2007-2008 the total plan budget was 205100 crores and distribution to Dalits was only 12535.75 crores, it should have been 32816 crores; short fall of 20280 crores.

Out of 163 Missions of government of India abroad, about half a dozen SC/ST IFS Officers have been posted as heads of mission but none of them have been posted as heads of the missions / embassies in A and B category countries.

Dalit enrollment in graduate education is 8.37% as against 91.63% for others.

A snapshot on dalit education
A snapshot on Dalit Education

15% reservation in KendriyaVidyalaya

Also reservation based on the population ration is allotted by State Government run schools

GoI also reservesed 27% in Higher Education

Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in primary classes (I-V) is 88.30 %, for middle classes (VI-VIII) is 71.86%

38% Government schools, Dalits children have separate sitting arrangements.

20% Dalit children are not permitted to access drinking water from the same source.

Dropout at primary stage (I-V) – 36.56%

Dropout at middle stage (VI-VIII) – 59.42%

Dropout at secondary stage (IX-XII) – 73.13% (MoHR)

Problems issues from dalit experience
Problems & Issues from Dalit experience

Access to Education (The Enrolment) 

Retention in School (Problem of drop out) 

Educational Provisions (environment with school and outside)

Policy problems 

Analysis of issues
Analysis of Issues

High level of enrollment as per government data

But the data suggests that the higher the class the lesser the level of drop outs

Quality of education

Problems compelling children to drop out (within or outside).

 Social exclusion in education exists

Access to education
Access to Education

Dalit parents are not welcomed to the schools

Several prejudices and biases against Dalit community continue to be practiced

Discriminatory attitudes, body languages, approaches of teachers

Mid-day meal and untouchability practices

Economic issues and efforts to resolve it.

Denial of admission on various gr0unds

Retention in school
Retention in School

Segregation in sitting arrangements

Children being asked to perform tasks traditionally done by Dalits (eg: sweeping the school grounds, classrooms, bringing water for teachers etc.)

In most of the classroom situations, Dalit children sit on the back seats

In many states the reports of untouchability in drinking water and mid day meal scheme have been documented

Educational support
Educational Support

There are many provisions for encouraging Dalit children to study like scholarships, uniforms, books, mid day meal (for all) etc. these are not in proportion to the population of dalit children’s.

The access to these resources takes lot of pain and majority do not get and therefore give up midway.

Even if it reaches to them, an insufficiency prevails.

Dalit parents are treated inhumanly by administration.

Many a times these resources are not provided to Dalit children. There is either delay or nothing is provided.  

Policy issues
Policy Issues

Trends and tendencies of universalisation

Schools situated in non-Dalit locality.

Non-Dalits owe those schools not Dalits

SarvaShikshaAbhiyan (SSA) does not have any specific program for Dalit children.

Ignoring the issues of untouchability and discrimination in education have been ignored

The underlying principles
The Underlying Principles

A culture of non-implementation.

A culture of dominance and violence

A culture of rule of the society

The challenges before us
The Challenges Before Us

  • How do we look understand and address the question of Dalit Rights to Education

    • in the wake of globalisation? (week state, corporates, market, commodity, consumption, surplus, etc.)

    • when the state itself has acquired a communal character? (Saffronisation, new syllabus, spreading hatred against indigenous and minorities, gender-biased, etc.)

    • when the state itself is casteist in nature? (non-preparedness to address the core issue of caste, freedom, wisdom, attitude towards similar groups)

    • when the entire phase of planned development in the post-independence era has failed to address the questions of marginalised? (development, upward mobility, subsistent economy, etc.)

Possible way outs
Possible way outs

From co-option to co-operation; (from discriminatory educational patterns to inclusive one)

From tokenism to Dalit agenda (shift in educational politics with special focus on Dalit girl education)

Affirmation of identity (pro-human learning needs to be promoted)

Towards a larger common agenda (Universalisation of Education with specific focus on Dalits)

Rebuilding the culture of résistance (include history of Dalit leaders and stalwarts as part of educational curriculum)

Alliance building with other marginalised and oppressed groups (history of oppression based on caste, tribe, gender, occupation should be exposed)

Thank You