Educational Disparity in India
Educational Disparity in India

Educational Disparity in India

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  • Pages: 19 (9584 words)
  • Published: June 28, 2018
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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION “I have a heart full of dreams To emulate Lakshmi, my neighbour, Who merrily goes to school; To wear skirts in gorgeous colours; To become a Collector and travel in a car; But, alas, trapped in a heap of matchsticks I am still far from free! ” Etymologically, the word education is derived from the Latin term educatio (“a breeding, a bringing up, a rearing), from educo (“I educate, I train”) which is related to the homonym educo (“I lead forth, I take out; I raise up, I erect”), from e- (“from, out of”) and duco (“I lead, I conduct”).

Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts. In its narrow, technical sense, education is the formal process by which society deliberately transmits accumulated knowledge, skills, customs and values from one generation to another, e. g. , instruction in schools. It means the development of character or mental powers by means of giving intellectual, moral and social instruction especially as a prolonged process.

Indian society is characterized by its diversity be it in terms of religion, caste, region or language. This kind of diversity gives rise to people with very different kind of family backgrounds and demographic characteristics. Though diversity in any state is considered a healthy phenomenon but only when people of different caste, religion or region are provided with same kind of opportunities and

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growth prospects in terms of access to education, employment and other fundamental services. There should not be any kind of discrimination between individuals based on their caste, religion, region or sex.

In this light, if we observe Indian society we find that, based on caste and ethnicity, it suffers from substantial inequalities in education, employment and income. If the inequalities are arising due to differences in level of efforts made by individuals of different backgrounds then it is morally acceptable but if inequalities are due to circumstances beyond the control of an individual such as caste, religion, region of birth, sex, ethnicity and so on, then it is deemed unethical and unacceptable and also calls for compensation in some form or other, from the society, to those who have suffered due to inferior circumstances.

In the case of India this problem becomes much more relevant since historically the Indian society is severely divided into different caste, religion and other social group structures with several groups enjoying privileges more than other groups just because of their superior social status.

So, as far as India is concerned, it is very important from the point of view of both academic interest as well as policy implication, to estimate the extent of inequality due to different circumstances of people as it will help in going to the root cause of prevailing income or wealth inequality, evaluating the age old government programs aimed at bringing equality in society, developing policies for bridging gaps between different sections of society

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and thus leading towards a state which is more just and equal. 1. 1 A BRIEF HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN INDIA

Monastic orders of education under the supervision of a guru were a favoured form of education for the nobility in ancient India. The knowledge in these orders was often related to the tasks a section of the society had to perform. The priest class, the Brahmins, was imparted knowledge of religion, philosophy, and other ancillary branches while the warrior class, the Kshatriya, was trained in the various aspects of warfare. The business class, the Vaishya, was taught their trade and the working class of the Shudras was generally deprived of educational advantages.

Secular Buddhist institutions cropped up along with monasteries. These institutions imparted practical education, e. g. , medicine. A number of urban learning centers became increasingly visible from the period between 200 BCE to 400 CE. The important urban centers of learning were Taxila (in modern day Pakistan) and Nalanda, among others. These institutions systematically imparted knowledge and attracted a number of foreign students to study topics such as Buddhist literature, logic, grammar, etc.

By the time of the visit of the Islamic scholar Alberuni (973–1048 CE), India already had a sophisticated system of mathematics. With the arrival of the British Raj in India the modern European education came to India. British Raj was reluctant to introduce mass education system as it was not their interest. The colonial educational policy was deliberately one of reducing indigenous culture and religion, an approach which became known as Macaulayism.

With this, the whole education as well as government system went through changes. Educated people failed to get job because the language in which they got education had become redundant. The system soon became solidified in India as a number of primary, secondary, and tertiary centres for education cropped up during the colonial era. Between 1867 and 1941 the British increased the percentage of the population in Primary and Secondary Education from around 0. 6% of the population in 1867 to over 3. % of the population in 1941. However this was much lower than the equivalent figures for Europe where in 1911 between 8 and 18% of the population were in Primary and Secondary education. Additionally literacy was also improved. In 1901 the literacy rate in India was only about 5% though by Independence it was nearly 20%. Following independence in 1947, Maulana Azad, India’s first education minister envisaged strong central government control over education throughout the country, with a uniform educational system.

However, given the cultural and linguistic diversity of India, it was only the higher education dealing with science and technology that came under the jurisdiction of the central government. Hence the disparity existed and deepened. The government also held powers to make national policies for educational development and could regulate selected aspects of education throughout India. The central government of India formulated the National Policy on Education (NPE) in 1986 and also reinforced the Programme of Action (POA) in 1986.

The government initiated several measures like the launching of DPEP (District Primary

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