Exclusion of under Priviledged Children in school Education: A Study in a bordering town in Assam


Dr. Jayeeta Sen

Assistant Professor, Department Sociology, Ramkrishna Nagar College, Ramkrishna Nagar, Dt. Karimganj. Assam. 7881666

*Corresponding Author Email: Jayeeta_rknc @ yahoo.co.in



Educational exclusion functions in inclusion in the society of which it is a part. Hierarchy based on castes, economic status, gender relations and cultural diversities as well as uneven economic development also deeply influence issues relating to educational exclusion. Although India was widely acclaimed to be a fertile soil of knowledge and wisdom since prehistoric times yet right to entry in education was limited to privileged strata of society.  The structure of caste based social stratification in India presents a systematic deprivation of a large section hereditary based low caste. Despite relentless effort to push off, structurally set discrimination stands on the way of educational equity. Drop out is a major problem of underprivileged people. in this background case of Karimganj district is examined.  those who are drops out 59 percent of them are schedule caste (SC).


KEYWORDS: Inclusion, Inequality, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Right to Education, Scheduled Castes (SC).




Issues of inequality and exclusion persist universally. In India problem of inequality and exclusion is more pronounced as it centre on institution of caste system. Religiously sanctioned and socially approved caste base social inequality, ascertains uneven distribution of rights and privileges among different stratas of population. In the name of pollution and purity it restricts occupational rights and liberties. Certain occupations are defiled and taken for granted as polluted and impure. Performance of such occupations places an individual in the lower rung of social strata stamped as untouchable or exterior. Occupational untouchability grapples with vicious circle of disability and restricts scope to enjoy all rights of life chances.



Amartya Sen’s conceptualisation of social exclusion refers to failure of capability deprivation. An individual or group loses social relational connection and the sources of such situation could be poverty, ill health, addiction to drugs or natural calamity.


The capability deprivation leads to social exclusion and inclusion reverses the process. In the exclusion one get disconnected from social relations. Sen suggests distinction between active and passive exclusion. There can be direct exclusion which is an active exclusion as in case of refugees deprived of the facilities of the native. In some other cases, the exclusion comes through not deliberate attempts but through a process as in case of increased poverty due to sluggish economy that is passive exclusion (Sen, 1988).


From the above perspective education can be examined. Education is the means through which capabilities of earning, health, leadership and other development indicators can be improved or education makes one self reliant. An illiterate person depends on others and educated person relate with others. Level of education has strong correlation with other aspects of life. It is axiomatic fact that social-economic development of a country depends on the number of skilled workers available. Imparting skills require at least basic literacy. It is in this context the Government in India have been striving hard to achieve one hundred percent literacy Emile Durkheim one of the founding father of Sociology viewed education as an agent to transform the norms and values of society. In regarding education Durkheim maintained “Society can survive only if there exists among members a sufficient degree of homogeneity, education perpetuates and reinforces this homogeneity by fixing in the child from the beginning of the essential similarities which collective life demand.” (Durkheim1861) Laster Frank Ward, the first president of the American Sociological Society, thought of education as great equalizer. He believed that unequal distribution of knowledge is a primary source of inequality in society. More and better education would equalize society by diffusing knowledge to all. As a defender of intellectual egalitarianism Ward argued that differences between those at the top and at the bottom of social ladder were not because of any differences between intellects but because of differences in opportunity for education and knowledge. Differences in education and knowledge stand on the way to development process. As educational outcomes are link with employment, income, health and many others aspects of an individual. Hence, every society desires to engross in educational development as it is an input of it. But unequal access to education stands on the way to development and expands socio-economic disparity.


Educational exclusion functions in inclusion in the society of which it is a part. In every society there exists a gap between man and woman, in between rich and poor and in between castes.   Hierarchy based on castes, economic status, gender relations and cultural diversities as well as uneven economic development also deeply influence issues relating to educational exclusion. Our society has been characterized by deep-rooted social inequalities of various groups and caste since ancient time. Although India was widely acclaimed to be a fertile soil of knowledge and wisdom since prehistoric times yet right to entry in education was limited to privileged strata of society.  The structure of caste based social stratification in India presents a systematic deprivation of a large section hereditary based low caste. Despite relentless effort to push off, structurally set discrimination stands on the way of educational equity. However, in post independence The Government of India’s approach to include historically marginalized groups in the mainstream was conducive to formulate provisions made in the Indian Constitution. It contains explicit state obligation towards protecting and promoting social, economic, political and cultural rights. “The State shall promote with special care for educational and economic interests of the Weaker sections of the people and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes (SC) and the Scheduled Tribes (ST), and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation” (Directive Principle of state Policy, Article 46). A constitutional amendment was passed in 2002 making free and compulsory education a fundamental right for children aged 6-14 years. In order to make education accessible to all, new plans and policies have been formulated to improve the quality of education. Adams provides a definition on quality education quality education exists, testifying to the complexity and multifaceted nature of concepts. The term efficacy, effectiveness, equity and quality have often been used synonymously (Adams, 1993). The national and state governments continue to deliver the programme Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which aims to achieve universal elementary education by 2010. The Right to Education Act (RTE) has become a fundamental right by giving effect on April 1st 2010. The Act mandates: the state to provide free education to every child up to eighth standard irrespective of class and gender.  But only framing act cannot fulfill the target. There must be scope to provide. Since cost of education is not the lone cause to be an impediment to avail education. Making education free of cost proves to be not successful one to solve the problems of less or lack of participation even in primary education. Thus despite many effort to improvement in infrastructure and other amenities in primary schools enrollment and dropout cannot be minimized as of today.  Over 40 percent of India’s children drop out of school before finishing 8th grade. Most students who quit school are from the lowest rungs of Indian society. Says Human Right report, as many as 230 million children in the world cannot read or write till the second decade of 201st century (world Bank report;2015). While in India an estimated amount of 25 million children are out of schools in India (MHRD, 2016). From 1950-51 to 2014-15 number of primary schools increases from 2097 to 8471 and upper primary schools increases from 136 number to 4251 numbers. So far as schedule student is concerned, their enrollment in 1980-81 was 110 lakhs at primary level and only 22 lakhs at upper primary level; which is increased at 134 lakhs and 131 lakhs respectively both at primary and upper primary level.  According to data put out by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (ibid, 2016), the national dropout rate at the primary level was 4.34 per cent in 2014-15, and it was even higher at the secondary level, at 17.86 per cent. In Indian context those who are drop out even today majority of them are Children from the poorest and the most marginalized communities such as  so-called “untouchables,” Poverty, availability, and accessibility of schools are three big reasons why children drop out of school. Besides, there are other reasons why a child might drop out from school, which range from migration of families and child marriage, to lack of school infrastructure such as drinking water and toilets. Regional variations are far too big. Indeed, while Karnataka has a dropout rate of 2.3 per cent, which is below the national average, Rajasthan’s, at 8.39 per cent, is double the national rate, and Manipur’s is four times, at 18 per cent. The variations are sharper if the data is disaggregated to district level. For example, if we take Andhra Pradesh, as per Educational Statistics 2013-14 data, the state as a whole had a secondary school dropout rate of 26.83 per cent. But the Maoist insurgency-affected district of Kurnool had an extremely high dropout rate of 45.02 per cent. But neither of these numbers would mean much for the tribal children in Nellore district, where the dropout rate for STs was a mind-boggling 77.07 per cent, as opposed to a general dropout rate for this district of 29.40 per cent. Similarly, if we take Telangana, the primary level dropout rate for girls in Hyderabad district for 2013-14 was 7.95 per cent. While it looks healthy compared to the state average of 22.32 per cent, it forms a startling contrast to the dropout rate for ST girls in Mahbubnagar district, which is 57.18 per cent (www.India Today.in; 2014). Such sharp variations between states and even within states suggest that local, social and cultural factors play a major role in school retention and, therefore, any intervention to reduce dropouts need to be rooted in local contexts. At primary level drop-out rates in North-Eastern states in 2014-15 are the following: Nagaland- 19.4 percent, Manipur- 18 percent Mizoram- 13 percent Arunachal Pradesh- 10.9 percent Meghalaya- 10.3 percent Assam- 7.4 percent Sikkim- 4.6 percent Tripura- 3.6 percent. Only Tripura's student drop-out rate at 3.6 percent was lower than the national average of 4.3 percent (ibid,2014). Assam ranks lower than many other states of India in general and North-East in particular. Dismal scenario of the state is reteriated by high dropout rate (32.09) percent. Current dropout rate in Assam at primary level 6.24 percent, upper primary level 7.20 percent and at secondary level 26.77 percent and at higher secondary level 4.69 percent. Barring the last one in all other levels dropout rate in Assam is much higher than the national average of 4.76 percent, 3.13 percent and 14.14 respectively (AHRD report 2014). Children with in the age group 6-16 years leave study because they are to support family in bread earning and another over 31 percent of them leave school as they are not interested in study. Amongst the drop outs 36.7 percent belongs schedule caste (SC) 32.22 percent schedule tribes (ST) and 30.86 percent other backward caste (OBC) leave study to support family (ibid.2014)


Pandhi (2016) explores instances of marginalisation of schedule tribe students in Arunachal Pradesh. Being tribal dominated states Arunachal Pradesh is lagging behind than India in terms of literacy rate. The marginalised communities rank higher in terms not attending school or in dropout rates. Wastage and stagnation are two main causes educational marginalisation of these communities.


In Many cases curriculum and physical remoteness to school and equal treatment in class room are challenges for marginalised communities in general and physically disable in particular. Yadava (2013) focuses on poor implementation of policies. Systemetic exclusion of children in the name of caste and gender is reflected in the gross and net enrolment rate and gender parity index of schools. Girls from disadvantage section of society are enrolled less in number as compared to girls in other category also. He states less scope of personal mobility of girl child to travel outside the village to attend school is a key factor in influencing girl’s education. Burden of economic constrains, prevailing socio-cultural role of girl child to work for domestic chore and discrimination inside the schools are forceful forces in implementing girl education.


Saharan (2015) focuses on systematic exclusion of children in the name of caste at many schools in Rajasthan. Disparity in terms of caste and gender starts in access to the primary schools. As many as half of children of lower caste never attended primary schools because of poverty and child labour in Rajasthan (42 percent) and also in Madhyapradesh (52 percent).  However, elititist approach of the state in many cases stands on the way protective discrimination and empowerment of marginalized communities (Bhagabat, 2015). Geographical location and economic condition also influences may also cause asymmetrical distribution of inclusive policies that excluded a large segment of lower class people to make use of the benefits of inclusive policies, Sen (2015). In this background present study aims to explore the dropout rate in urban areas of karimganj  district is illustrated. 



(i)       To appraise the magnitude of drop out at school level

(ii)     To assess the caste wise differences

(iii)   To explore the causes of caste wise differences.


Materials and method: Secondary data have been collected from inspector schools, news paper.There are 6 blocks and 2 urban areas in the district. The two urban areas are purposively selected for study. Data are analysed with the help of SPSS analysis.


Karimganj district is one of the backward districts in Assam. In fact, this is one of the most backward districts of India in terms of socio-economic development. The district has 12,17,002 populations with 620,722 male and 956,280 female, according to 2011 census. Since caste census of 2011 is yet to be completed i.e. why number of schedule caste and schedule tribe population are not available. But as per the report of the 2001 census, the Schedule caste largely kaibartya as comprises 13 percent of the total population (i.e.1,31,036 out of 10,07,967 total population). The district has number of 1635 L. P. schools, 218 numbers of upper primary and M. E schools as well as 53 numbers of upper primary M. V. schools 52 numbers of composite schools (Class VI to XII) schools (DISPREM).7nubers junior college,7 numbers of colleges and 3 B. Ed colleges, one number of engineering college andone district institute of educational training (DIET) cernter and many private institutions of education.  Geographical remoteness from the main part of the country coupled with poor communication and other infrastructural facilities are the main factors behind the low level of development. (www.nic.karimganj.in)


Findings: In Karimganj district, in accordance with other district state sponsored schools are more in number. As of March 2013, there are about 2546 schools in the district. There are different types of school. At elementary level primary school 1 to V, and upper primary VI to VIII schools. Seconsary school with class IX to X and higher secondary with class VI to XII. There are only two urban areas karimganj town and Badarpur. There are 51 schools in two urban localities. There are 30 numbers of primary schools, and 13 number of upper primary schools.7 numbers of secondary schools 1 number of shool is there where class VIII to X is taught. Of the 51 numbers of schools 75 percent schools are govt managed and 25 percent schools are private managed. Total students enrolled was 25,207 numbers. Of which 3732 students are dropped out Range of drop out is 50. average rate of drop out is 21.95,Minimum drop out rate is 1 naximum drop out is 51.Those students who are dropped out majority of them drops at primarylevel. The data states those who are drops out 59 percent of them are schedule caste (SC), around 20 percent of them are other backward caste (OBC), over 9 percent of them are minority other backward caste (MOBC), little over 9 percent of them are general caste and around 1percent of them only 7 of them are Schedule tribes (ST). Those 13 privately managed school their dropout rate is only 4 out of 3222 students.


The analysis reveals that the prevelence of drop put rate is a problem for state managed school. In the private school the dropout is not a problem.Because in private school students hail family status i.e economic condition, parents eduction, priority towards study are much better than state managed school.In the state manages school only people belong to below poverty level send their children for study. Their object is just to learn to write their name and to collect a school certificate.Because to have a school certificate is utmost important is realized. Many of the state managed schools are estabished much ahead and have history of good result in comparison to private school. Establishment of privaate school is of late phenomenon yet they are more preferred by the masses.The reasons are multi farious in nature State as an agency has not taken any initiative to endow with the facilities of school building, toilet, electricity, book bank, play ground and drinking water as well.Lacking of all this factors persuade  people to opt for private school. To highten the educational index in India, universalisation of education policy has been launched.The programme is aim to provide free education to 6 to 14 years of child.New Educational Guarratee Scheme Centres have been set up.Schools buildings are construcred.Schoolinf has become totally free.Books,exerise,uniforms too are provided at free of cost.Above all provision of mid-day meal has been made.Even then the qualiy of education has not been improved. Absentia in schools,drop out in higher classes are common phenomenon.


According above analysis those who are dropped out majority of them are schedule caste.Becuse caste is a form of stratification based on hierarchical structure. In the name of pollution and purity it pulled out a large segments of population as they are a scriptively assign to perform degrading task. However, Under protective discriminative policy of the state, in post- independence India many ameliorative measures have been adopted to impoverish the socio-economic condition of people, yet the position out caste remain lowest in terms of class, status wise and work wise. In urban areas of Karimgnaj district those who belong to below of below poverty line majority of them are schedule caste. They are landless labour, do rickshow pulling, day labour or many other ill paid work. They are poor by historical legacy. To them education is not a means to survive. Poverty compel them to drop out study and engage in work. As the data states those who are dropped out majority of them are engaged as child labour. In case of girl students either to take care of siblings as well as to do domestic care or to engage as maid.


The problems of poverty is supplemented with cultural factors as  most of the Schedule caste (SC) students are either first generation educated or second generation educated. As a result they are neither motivated nor helped by the family in comparison to upper caste peer.  The term cultural capital is used by Pierre Bourdieu. In his theory cultural reproduction Bourdieu makes effective use of the word cultural capital which refers to the form of knowledge, skill, education and any advantages a person has which gives him a higher status in society. Cultural reproduction passed from one generation to the next. Thus, unfavourable cultural capital of lower caste may further contribute to their less participation.   


Hence it is observed that since Schedule caste children born in poverty and illeteracy  are the more excluded group in the realm of education. The amenities provided by the Govt is not sufficient to include them to complete even their primary or secondary education level also.Thus in order to resolve the problems inclusive policies are to be reviewed and emphasis is given to

(i)      provide more economic facilities like accelarate the amount of scholarship as well as to make provision to three times meal instead of mid-day meal

(ii)    job guarrantee to this students to make them enable to complete at least high school level of education.  

(iii)  To make provision for further motivation of individual dignity self respect, and values of education. enhance the amount of scholarship of schedule caste

(iv)  To provide adequate infrastructural facilities in schedule caste villages.





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Received on 12.07.2018       Modified on 18.08.2018

Accepted on 21.09.2018      ©A&V Publications All right reserved

Res.  J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 2018; 9(4): 944-948.

DOI: 10.5958/2321-5828.2018.00159.6