Research > Studies and Education

 

A major area of deep engagement in CSD-SRC is in the field of education. We have worked closely with communities that have faced systemic and systematic exclusion, to understand the layers of barriers such communities face in the system of formal schooling and higher education.  Education as it intersects with child rights and the rights of women to non-discrimination and equality is one of the long-standing engagements in CSD at the institutional level.  Our founder Dr. Durgabai Deshmukh was a pioneer in institution building in the area of education for women and girls setting up an entire network of robust institutions of learning and residence that promote full participation of women and girls in education at all levels.  Her interest and commitment to the constitutional goal of aspirational citizenship, which she realized through the medium of universal education is one that guides us in our work to this day.  The President of CSD, former diplomat Professor Muchkund Dubey, known for his commitment to the field of education, is the architect of the blueprint for the Common School System submitted to the government of Bihar.  Chairperson of the Southern centre, Magsaysay award recipient, Professor Shantha Sinha  is a pioneer in designing specific interventions to enhance schooling outcomes across the country but especially in Telangana.

Taking inspiration from these endeavours, CSD-SRC has worked specifically in the area of education for students with disabilities, documenting practices of able-normativity in classrooms, curricular content and built environments.  In the course of engaging with Adivasi communities on forest rights and questions of livelihood, we have made several forays in working with school teachers and students, documenting barriers, evaluating public schooling facilities and seeking feedback in a dialogic manner of a robust way forward.  To this end CSD-SRC produced a short documentary film in partnership with the Chenchus of Nallamalla, and has engaged in qualitative participatory research in six schools in the Nallamalla forest.  Our work with Muslim communities in Hyderabad, involved importantly, an assessment of the relationship between education and socio-economic status.  In each of these cases, CSD-SRC has attempted to examine cultural barriers in the public sphere that inhibit participation in education on an equal basis by marginalized communities.  The promotion and enhancement of social inclusion has guided our work in education.

Taking inspiration from these endeavours, CSD-SRC has worked specifically in the area of education for students with disabilities, documenting practices of able-normativity in classrooms, curricular content and built environments.  In the course of engaging with Adivasi communities on forest rights and questions of livelihood, we have made several forays in working with school teachers and students, documenting barriers, evaluating public schooling facilities and seeking feedback in a dialogic manner of a robust way forward.  To this end CSD-SRC produced a short documentary film in partnership with the Chenchus of Nallamalla, and has engaged in qualitative participatory research in six schools in the Nallamalla forest.  Our work with Muslim communities in Hyderabad, involved importantly, an assessment of the relationship between education and socio-economic status.  In each of these cases, CSD-SRC has attempted to examine cultural barriers in the public sphere that inhibit participation in education on an equal basis by marginalized communities.  The promotion and enhancement of social inclusion has guided our work in education.

By far the most significant research initiative we undertook in the area of education is the study on educational attainment among denotified, nomadic and semi nomadic communities between 2012 and 2015 and covered 13,000 households in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Of the 306 communities listed by the Renke Commission, this study covered 76 (66% Other Backward Class, 16% Scheduled Caste and 18% Scheduled Tribe) and included communities that were victims of labelling as well as those that did not face criminal targeting. Overall, the study reiterated the close relationship bet ween poor socio-economic conditions, stigmatisation and low educational attainment of the “denotified” and nomadic tribes.  The communities surveyed were predominantly rural. A majority of the students across the nine states that participated in this study attended government schools—between 88% and 90% in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and 75% in Telangana and Goa. Although there is a proliferation of private schools across the country, this study has shown yet again that children from the most marginalised communities continue to attend government schools. Strengthening the government schooling system is an immediate need—in terms of infrastructure, teacher capabilities, and curricular reform. More generally, the study points to the inadequacy of existing institutional arrangements which are minimal and poor in quality, and ridden with in-built forms of exclusion that obstruct schooling. The findings also highlight how specific local factors influence the access communities have to these arrangements. Evidence suggests that many existing measures do not recognise the specificities of aspirations and needs of these vulnerable communities.

We have more recently explored educational attainment and barriers therein across 31 districts in Telangana state, following up macro-data trends with empirical research, a process underway.

EPW ed - Vulnerable Communities article