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EDUCATION, ASPIRATION AND INEQUALITY IN RURAL CHHATTISGARH.

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Presentation on theme: "EDUCATION, ASPIRATION AND INEQUALITY IN RURAL CHHATTISGARH."— Presentation transcript:

1 EDUCATION, ASPIRATION AND INEQUALITY IN RURAL CHHATTISGARH

2 Education, Aspiration and Inequality in Rural Chhattisgarh Traditional Inequalities Caste and untouchability Economic wealth Land entitlement Occupational status New inequalities Education Education-based social mobility

3 Education, Aspiration and Inequality in Rural Chhattisgarh What explains the unequal pursuit of and engagement with education between Hindus and Christians in rural Chhattisgarh How has this given rise to the creation of new forms of inequality?

4 Education, Aspiration and Inequality in Rural Chhattisgarh Dominant perspectives on education: Schooling is intrinsically beneficial; an inherent social good School education brings about social mobility and provides fundamental social opportunities School education synonymous with modernity, civilization, progress Kumar 1994; Dreze and Sen 1995; Sen 1999

5 Education, Aspiration and Inequality in Rural Chhattisgarh Alternative discourse: school education is acontradictory resource Confers advantages and brings about social mobility for some… …Reinforces positions of inequality for others Perpetuates and provides justification for social inequalities Benefits not widely accessible Education correlated with social capital Levinson and Holland 1996; Bourdieu 1974, 1977, 1990; Jeffery, Jeffery and Jeffery 2008

6 Background: Mohanpur, rural Chhattisgarh Predominantly adivasi village 2-5 hours from nearest town Rice cultivators, non-timber forest produce Population: 900 Households: 165 Social Group Composition: 93% adivasi ¾ Hindu (population 750); sons of soil, dominated by high caste Ratiya Kanwars ¼ Christian (population 250); new comers, low caste Oraons)

7 Oraon Christian newcomers Immigrated to village in early1970s As outsiders, no cultivable land (apart from encroached forest land) Worked as labourers in city for monetary wage Acquired reputation for intelligence, hard work and for earning livelihoods from outside Presently wealthiest group in village: visible wealth includes large homes, motorcycles, televisions, mobile phones

8 Catholic Church and education Established 1970 Priests and Sisters: Agents of progress through education, medical care and charitable works Boarding hostel (Class 1-8): caters mainly to Oraon Christians Rs/1500 hostel fees Hostel regime: 4 hours daily tuition Hindi-only rule Christians typically study until at least Class 10 or 12 Significant role in importance of education amongst Oraon Christians: education a social good

9 Mohanpur village primary school Constructed 1970s Caters to local Hindu population Primary school Class 5 education: supported and valued by Hindus (acquisition of basic literacy skills) Beyond Class 5, reduced support; Hindus dubious of transformative potential; few Hindu children allowed to carry on

10 Post-Class 5 education: advantages and constraints (Hindu perspective) Household economic situation: poor households cannot afford time and costs Indirect costs: school uniforms and books Need for childrens participation in household labour Acquisition of skills, preparation for marriage (girls – cooking; boys – fields and agriculture)

11 Post-Class 5 education: advantages and constraints (Hindu perspective) Post-class 5 schooling = jobs (anganwadi, police, school teacher) BUT: jobs scarce, and lack of social and economic capital means opportunities are few Few success stories, many failures Risk of de-skillment: highly educated young people return with no job, and no local know-how Existence of land-related fallback livelihoods Therefore: Class 5 education most practical; beyond Class 5 = useless

12 Post-Class 5 education: advantages and constraints (Christian perspective) Economic capital: cash-based wealth (no land) No land = less need for childrens labour at home No land = more cash; favourable position to invest in education (hostel fees): minimum Class 8-10 No land security = no fallback livelihoods Historical patterns of mobility + greater propensity to migrate for work Reputation to go anywhere and do anything for money Propensity to seek vocational training Aspirations directed outward Influenced by local success stories (e.g. army, navy, driving; nurse, teacher, seamstress) Willingness to engage in separation from kin and community

13 Post-Class 5 education: advantages and constraints (Christian perspective) Access to powerful form of social capital: the Church and broader Christian community Superior educational facilities (hostel, tuition, language) Facilitates commitment to education Provides support and connections in pursuit of employment and education-related social mobility [exceptions amongst Hindu community: those with Church connections]

14 Advantages and Constraints: sum Hindu Little economic capital Prohibitive cost of schooling Need for childrens labour at home Risk of de-skillment with extended schooling Existence of secure fallback livelihoods Reluctance to migrate in search of work Reluctance to separate from kin and community Lack of social capital Christian Economic capital: wage labourers (related to lack of land) Historical pattern of labour- related mobility Willingness to separate from kin and community Social capital: Church

15 Conclusion: Visible forms of inequality Christians advantaged in following: Existence of powerful form of social capital: the Church Provides superior educational facilities Connections with powerful outsiders Economic wealth and material consumption Education as first consumption arena Existing material wealth compounded by remittances

16 Conclusion: Creation of education- based inequalities Linguistic capital: Hindi language Advantages in terms of cultural and social capital; social mobility General cultural capital Confidence, conviction, determination, perseverance All of which lead to… Active participation in modern, globalizing world

17 Conclusion: Creation of education- based inequalities Education provides opportunities for some (Christians, with superior forms of economic and social capital) whilst disadvantaging others (Hindus), in the process creating new forms of social inequalities and new social cleavages

18 Education and Inequality: a cautionary note Transformation of social inequalities into natural ones (Bourdieu, Beteille) Oraon Christians success attributed to intelligence, propensity to work hard: in the blood Disregards fact that the inequalities that impede educational investment are derived from existing social and economic differences Justifies unequal investment and success in education as naturally given Legitimizes and condones perpetuation of social inequalities Encourages upwardly mobile groups to invoke new hierarchical inequalities based on merit, gifts, natural intelligence


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