Discrimination and exclusion in education

A study of the children of manual scavenger communities of Rajasthan

Authored by: Nida Khan

The Routledge Handbook of Exclusion, Inequality and Stigma in India

Print publication date:  August  2020
Online publication date:  August  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367272388
eBook ISBN: 9780429295706
Adobe ISBN:


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Education, which is a public good for the benefit of all, over time has been transformed into a commodity in the knowledge economy for the privilege of a few who have the purchasing power and capacity. It has become a tool for the reproduction of social inequalities and an unequal social order. Graded inequality is an endemic feature of the caste system in India Schedule Castes, especially Dalits, are the lowest in caste hierarchy, are considered “less human,” and, as a result, suffer various forms of oppression, social exclusion and discrimination in society due to one’s identity and social positioning in society. The chapter is based on empirical research adopting a mixed-method approach, which was conducted in Alwar, Rajasthan, in 2014–15, and highlights the patterns and forms of discrimination and exclusion in education faced by children of SCs, especially the Valmiki community, whose parents are engaged in manual scavenging – their hereditary caste occupation. The study is confined to the urban area and highlights certain major issues: the extent of discrimination and exclusion in education experienced by the children of the Scavenger Communities; the role of educational institutions in the reproduction of inequalities, focusing on the background of social, economic, cultural inequalities due to one’s caste and the level of education of the children. The aim of this chapter is to highlight the experiences and problems faced by the Schedule Castes, especially Schedule Caste Valmiki community and their children, in education and in the patterns and forms of discrimination experienced by them.

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