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Who are Dalits? Discriminated and oppressed, Dalit means “downdrotten” or “broken”. Degrading work conditions. Caste is now becoming more secular but.

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Presentation on theme: "Who are Dalits? Discriminated and oppressed, Dalit means “downdrotten” or “broken”. Degrading work conditions. Caste is now becoming more secular but."— Presentation transcript:


2 Who are Dalits? Discriminated and oppressed, Dalit means “downdrotten” or “broken”. Degrading work conditions. Caste is now becoming more secular but socio- economic divisions remain strong. Officially 200 million, Christian and Muslim Dalits included could possibly increase up to 300 million. Dalit population grows at a rate of 20.8% per annum, the total population 17.7%.

3 What Is Social Mobility?  Changes in person's social and economic position in her community (Riddell in Ward, 2013): marriage, promotion or changing profession or source of livelihood compared to the previous generation.  Brahmins hold over 70% of gov jobs, 78% of juridical and over half of parliamentary seats (Brown and Sitapati, 2008).  Intergenerational income elasticity: United States 0.47; India 0.5; United Kingdom 0.5; Sweden 0.275 and Norway with 0.15 (Hnatkovska et al., 2012, cited in Clark and Zach Landes, 2012).  58% of sons whose fathers belonged to high salariat class reached the same class. Of Dalits whose fathers were unskilled manual workers, only 2% reached high salariat class (Kumar, Heath and Heath, 2002).  Urban environment less strict but clashes in rural communities. The household profiles of SCs now start to remind non-SC households (Gang, Sen and Yun, 2012).  Upwardly mobile people (19.4%) outnumber the downwardly mobile people (6.6%), (Kumar, Heath and Heath, 2002).

4 Structural Poverty Long denial of schooling, now a fundamental right. Enrolment over 90% but serious quality problems. Upper-castes form over 60% of medicine graduates. Educated Dalits have difficulties in finding post- graduate employment. Discrimination now diminishing but still blatant.

5 The Question What is the extent and likelihood of Dalits improving their social standing in education and employment? Three major ways to look at the question: Reservations, Dalits as drivers for change, issues in private education.

6 The Role of Reservations Compensate for past grievances: central government jobs, higher public education and public sector enterprises. Scheduled Castes 15%; Scheduled Tribes 7.5% and Other Backward Castes 25%.

7 Future Prospects of Reservations 5% boost in employment (Borooah, Dubey and Iyer, 2007) Still underrepresented at upper levels particularly. Fight over the status of the most miserable: increased competition. More groups, more people within groups and less seats.  The significance of reservations as a ladder of social mobility diminishing.

8 Dalits as a driver for structural transformation? Education as a silver bullet vs. “contradictory resource” (Levinson and Holland, 1996). Dalits form new identities, argue that discrimination should not be applied to them as educated people. Rebuked upper-castes, questioned social order.  The few graduated Dalits are like pioneers, we must wait till the young generation graduates and has the power of mass driving them.  Does comparison to African-Americans predict anything?

9 Comparing African-Americans to Dalits African-Americans Separated but equal education at Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBUC) More empowered, expanded business. Interracial marriages accepted in the U.S. Dalits Total denial of education. Have to start from the bottom. Low business ownership rates. 74% of Indians considering intercaste marriages inappropriate.  Hence takes much longer for Dalits to reach similar degree of social mobility.

10 New Flood of Private Schools Neoliberalism, PPP, private schools popular and number growing fast Cost-effective, patches shortcomings. Nationally, 58.3% of fifth graders could not read text meant for three years younger children (ASER Centre, 2013).

11 Criticism Masked as equal opportunities. Expansion based on giving up with government schools. Similar monitoring and evaluation problems. Non-profit private schools still too expensive for the two lowest income echelons. People would prefer free government schools, if they were good in quality (Härmä, 2009).

12 Ethical Concerns Young children’s success based on type of teaching.  Competition only when able to decide for their own learning results. Starting point wrong: Parents as consumers instead of children’s rights to equal schooling. Should create so good public schools that the consumer demand for privates reduced.

13 Predicting Long-Term Social Mobility Lessons from other countries, class reproduction. Italy (free education, equal) has lower social mobility than the US (high returns to school investments). Germany is even more flexible (free but highly selective), (Checchi, Ichino and Rustichini, 1999). Nordic countries on top of flexibility. Best combination: Free education, no competition at earlier stages but fierce competition at tertiary level. India: Public-private partnerships expanded access to higher education but emphasising economic priorities over merit resulted in marginalisation (David, 2014). The state could invest the same effort of monitoring privates to monitor gov. schools.

14 Concluding Remarks Reservations becoming less significant. The mass of newly educated Dalits could be a great force but more time is needed. Privates embed a seed of class reproduction. Private schools a tempting short-term solution but India should utilise this opportunity to create truly equal opportunities.

15 Thank You!

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