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NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

 

Department of Dalit Studies

The Department of Dalit Studies (DDS) is an important and integral part of ISI research department. Over the years, the Department has been fulfilling its mission to be at the forefront of the struggle for the rights of the marginalized groups in India by engaging in research on issues related to Scheduled Caste communities, conducting training programmes for social organizations as well as grassroot social activists and publishing the monthly Hindi magazine Hashiye Ki Awaz, of the people relegated to the margins of society in India. It has dealt with the issue of the implementation of Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP),networking for the cause of Dalit Christians, labour rights of most vulnerable workers of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), etc. The department has launched a mega project on Discrimination and Exclusion in Education: A Study of the Children of Communities engaged in “unclean” occupations. It is a dream that the institute could make substantial contribution to this most vulnerable communities leading to policy changes by covering all states in India progressively.

 

Research Project Completed

Discrimination and Exclusion in Education: A Study of the Children of Communities Engaged in ‘Unclean’ Occupations of UP, Rajasthan, HP and Haryana

Caste-based discrimination and exclusion continues to be an influential factor in the low educational mobility of Scheduled Caste. This is despite various government programs aimed at the development of the community. Taking this into consideration, it was proposed that education could be one of the primary means to overcome caste oppression, exclusion and a means for upward mobility of historically suppressed groups. A constitutional amendment was passed in 2002 which made free and compulsory education a fundamental right for children aged 6-14 years. The national and state governments continue to deliver the programme Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). The Evaluation Report of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, Planning Commission (2010) states that the country is approaching near universalization of enrolment at the primary stage.

With this background this research sponsored by Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) was undertaken to gather empirical evidence of discrimination in education and their causes and consequences on the attainment of education of the children, especially of those belonging to the households associated with “Unclean” occupations in urban India. The study was undertaken in four States of India, namely, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. In the four States, eight cities were selected to identify households associated with unclean occupations in order to examine the educational status of their children. The cities included Faridabad and Panipat in Haryana, Jaipur and Alwar in Rajasthan, Ghaziabad and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh and Shimla and Solan in Himachal Pradesh. The survey covered total 5665 households and as many as 12348 children.

The general framework and same research design was implemented in all four states. This included the overall methodology and research tools used in investigation as well as in the analysis of the data. There was also general agreement on the main theme and outline of each state chapter that included an overview of the state context and issues: education, exclusion and “Unclean” occupation review, the profile of the selected cities and settlements, the socio-economic status of households, the educational status of children, the social, economic and cultural causes that promote/hinder education of the children including the policies and programmes aimed at promoting education of the children and their implementation. Finally each chapter describes the empirical realities and the impact of discrimination and exclusion on children in the selected state. For a more comprehensive view the final chapter of the report presents the major findings of the study with a comparative analysis of all four states based on which major recommendations are made to the state and central governments to evolve a comprehensive educational policy.

 

Ongoing Projects

Discrimination and Exclusion in Education: A Study of the Children of Communities Engaged in ‘Unclean Occupations’ of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand

The overall thrust of the project is to understand the status, attainments and challenges of education of the children of households associated with “unclean occupations”. The study is aimed at identifying patterns and various forms of discrimination and exclusion - economic, social and cultural - in education, and at examining and measuring the major causes and consequences. Caste-based ideology of hereditary occupations has far reaching impact in the life of such communities engaged in “unclean occupations” which are closely associated with untouchability.  As Desai puts it there is untouchability among the untouchables (Desai 1976; Shah & Desai 1988). This research aims at evidence based understanding of the status and challenges of education of the children of households associated with “unclean occupations”. It will also study the consequences, especially the psychological impact on the children of the scavenger communities.

The following are the specific objectives of the study:

  1. To survey the educational status of children of Households associated with “unclean occupations” from upper primary to college education levels;

  2. To study the social, economic and cultural causes that promote/hinder education of the children of Households associated with “unclean occupations”, especially the girl children

  3. To study the inclusive and discriminatory practices experienced by the children of Households associated with “unclean occupations” within the educational institutions

  4. To examine the policies and  programs aimed at promoting education of the children of Households associated with “unclean occupations” and  their implementation

  5. To study the impact of discrimination and exclusion of children of Households associated with “unclean occupations”.

  6. To make recommendations to the state and central governments to evolve a comprehensive Households associated with “unclean occupations” -specific educational policy.

In this context, this research study is undertaken in four eastern and central states of India, namely, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand with the support of Safai Karamchari Andolan and other NGOs that are involved with the marginalized groups. In the four States, eight cities are selected to identify households associated or engaged in unclean occupations in order to examine the educational status of their children. The cities included Patna and Gaya in Bihar, Ranchi and Dhanbad in Jharkhand, Korba and Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh and Jabalpur and Sagar in Madhya Pradesh. The project has completed the initial review of literature related to the respective states, the pilot study in the selected cities and the preparation and testing of the tools for data collection. Presently, the quantitative and qualitative data collection process is in the progress. However, the political factors such as government’s decision of demonetization have affected the data collection process in the field.

 

Discrimination and Exclusion in Education: A Study of the children of the households associated with “Unclean” Occupations of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telengana.

We continue to create a benchmark engagement with the marginalized communities by initiating third phase of the research in another set of four states in southern part of India. The major objective of the study is to understand the status, attainments and challenges of education of the children of households associated with “Unclean” occupations. Along with a scientific understanding of status of education of children and critique of existing schemes of the state, the study proposes to come up with a compendium of recommendations which can be used by the state to promote specific policy in education for the children of the households associated with the “Unclean” occupations. It intends to share its findings and enhance awareness among the unclean occupation community about the various schemes and their right to free and compulsory education. It further desires to instil the importance of education that can improve the community’s social standing in the society.

 

 

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