Saturday, June 26, 2010

Education emancipates?

The article 'The Dalits of India: education and development' discusses the importance of the role of education in "... diminishing the social effects of the caste system, which still remain entrenched in Indian society..." It looks at the historical context, explains "... why education is such an important topic in development studies...", and looks at what has been tried.

Its conclusion? "There have been many attempts over the past one hundred and fifty years to help increase the quality of life for the Dalits of India... Minor increases in incentives for Dalits to pursue primary education have been beneficial, but not sufficient in equalizing the enrolment gap between the Dalits and members of upper castes. In order for significant progress to be made in increasing the primary enrolment rates of Dalit children, development organizations must continue to explore varying levels of incentives and pursue national social equality in India..."

My conclusion: much more needs to be done... much, much more, to eradicate the evils of caste.

Previous entries related to caste:
Misc update (caste) - Aug 29, 2009
Updates - #3 - Aug 25th, 2008
Frame of Reference - June 27th 2008
Caste - May 26th 2008

Note: From the picture source link, read the accompanying text:

"... The prime part of the village was occupied by the Naidu community, a caste of landowners. The next area comprised residences of washer-folk and other castes who served the Naidu community. The regions where the people even lower down in the caste hierarchy resided were further down the village road. The ``untouchables'' lived separated from the main village by about half a kilometer. This was the cleanest and best-maintained part of the village even though the people here lived in conditions of great economic hardship.

On the economic front, the landowners controlled the economy of the village. Land ownership was confined to the upper castes, while the lower castes eked their living by selling their labour. Payment to the lower castes was rarely in cash, and was instead given in the form of foodstuffs, paid once a year.

There were numerous social restrictions on the lower castes: lower caste people were not permitted to enter the upper caste areas freely, on the pain of physical punishment. Lower caste men were required to step off the road if an upper caste person was using it.

Lower caste children were allowed into the nearby school (not shown in the figure), but had to sit on the floor at the sides of the class room; the benches were for the use of upper-caste children. Girl children who reached puberty were not permitted to continue schooling, irrespective of their community of birth.

There was one bore well in the village that supplied drinking water, which the lower castes were forbidden to use. The untouchables had their own (open) well.."

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