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National Seminar on Dalit & Adivasi Education: Challenges and Prospects in Planning, Financing and Implementation

by ragini — last modified 2013-10-14 16:04
When 2013-10-14 15:54 to
2013-10-23 17:00
Where Committee Room, JNU Convention Centre, New Delhi
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National Seminar on

Dalit & Adivasi Education: Challenges and Prospects in

Planning, Financing and Implementation

23rd October 2013 (9.30 AM – 5.00 PM), Committee Room, JNU Convention Centre, New Delhi

As we are aware that hierarchies of caste, ethnicity, economic status and gender are hallmark of Indian society and education has increasingly been used as a tool to perpetuate or challenge various forms of inequalities. While the ruling class has tried to confine educational attainment within elite domain by controlling the education system and institutions, marginalized groups particularly Dalits and Adivasis have recognized education as the critical component for development, dignity and socio-economic mobility. For them, access to education has been a focal point in their struggle for equity and social justice. While understanding the important role of education in the overall empowerment of Dalit and Adivasi communities, the Founding Fathers of our Constitution in leadership of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar drafted special educational and cultural safeguards in form of Article 15 (A), 21 (A), 29 (1), 350 (A) apart from outlining various guidelines for educational development through Directive Principles of the State. 

On the basis of Constitutional commitments towards promoting equality and social justice, in the past 65 years, the Government has implemented several policies, programmes and schemes specifically focusing on Dalit and Adivasi educational development such as affirmative action, developing educational infrastructure and scholarships. But unfortunately such initiatives have seriously failed in ensuring access or availability of educational development programmes for Dalit and Adivasi communities due to lack of political and administrative will and increasing caste based inequalities. Various educational statistics indicate that Dalit and Adivasi communities, and especially girls seriously lag behind in comparison to non-SC/ST groups at all levels. While on one hand, negative impacts of growing poverty, reduced employment opportunities and livelihood make it extremely difficult for the Dalit and Adivasi communities to meet even ‘minimum costs’, leave alone access support systems or private education. 

Similarly, different practices and traditions like manual scavenging, devadasi system, bonded labour and child labour take a heavy toll on Dalit and Adivasi children, forcing them out of schools into the labour market or on to the streets. Inadequate and insensitive implementation of entitlements and provisions hurt the dignity and negatively impact the personal development of Dalit and Adivasi youth.  The failure on part of government in practicing equity and prevalent educational exclusion in forms of unequal access, discrimination in educational institutions and inappropriate schemes has resulted in higher dropout rates and lower literacy rate, more so for the women, within the Dalit and Adivasi communities. Further, curriculum is silent on recognizing Dalit and Adivasi contribution and leadership in social and cultural life, national growth and productivity to promote self image and dignity.  Lack of information, guidance and support on available resources and accessing them also limit Dalit and Adivasi student’s choices and opportunities. Reduced employment opportunities in the government without adding measures to promote their employment in the private sector or entrepreneurship has also become a dampener to families for higher investment in education. The non-fulfillment of reserved seats for Dalit and Adivasi teachers in schools, colleges and universities results in a deformed educational experience for students belonging to the community and also a shortage of teachers.   

For actualizing the access of Dalit and Adivasi communities to the educational system, interventions and schemes require to be specifically designed and developed in tandem with the unique challenges and needs of the two communities. The key components in ensuring inclusion of Dalits and Adivasis in education system are Planning, Financing and Implementation of schemes and interventions. However, the exclusion of Dalit and Adivasi community from these three aspects has negatively impacted their educational growth and has resulted in no need based interventions, no stock taking of challenges faced by the Dalit and Adivasi communities and irrelevant schemes. 

Discrimination in educational financing process occurs in forms of diverting SCSP (Scheduled Caste Sub Plan) and TSP (Tribal Sub Plan) funds, which are supposed to be specifically earmarked for Dalits and Adivasis, into general educational programmes, low budget allocations, or merely distributing salaries and spending on grants in general. In this context, an RTI reply by UGC reveals that out of the total allocation of Rs.780 Cr. towards SCSP, the total amount towards direct schemes for the SCs only RS. 63.36 Cr. is spent on SCs in the year 2011-12. And out of an allocation of Rs. 386.11 Cr. towards TSP, the total amount towards direct schemes for the STs only RS. 24.03 Cr. is spent on STs in the year 2011-12.Various studies have found out that large proportion of allocations in SCSP and TSP are being spent on the civil construction and negligible amounts on direct entitlements to the to Dalits and Adivasis which is denying the necessary support to them. Faulty implementation due to delayed release of funds, late disbursal of scholarship money, low expenditure, diversion of funds, no follow-up and monitoring of schemes leads to exclusion of Dalits and Adivasis from educational system.

Keeping all these critical issues in context, Dalit Adivasi Shiksha Vikas Adhikar Abhiyan (SVADHIK) has organized a one day National Seminar on “Dalit Adivasi Education: Challenges and Prospects in Planning, Financing and Implementation” on 23rd October 2013 at JNU Convention Centre, New Delhi, which aims to deliberate on these issues and map the challenges and prospects for Dalit and Adivasi community in the entire educational system. This seminar is a confluence of Dalit and Adivasi intellectuals, students and activists specializing in the area of education. It aims to make a note of deficiencies and gaps within the educational system that are detrimental for Dalit and Adivasi community and suggest comprehensive ways in which educational development rights of Dalit and Adivasi communities can be realized as envisaged by the founding fathers of Indian Constitution. 

A Brief note about Dalit Adivasi Shiksha Vikas Adhikar Abhiyan (SVADHIK)


Started in 2012 by a group of Dalit and Adivasi Activists, Students, Academics and Civil Society groups, SVADHIK aims to ensure Dalit and Adivasi student’s access to educational entitlements through relevant schemes free from discrimination or exclusion in all forms of school and higher education- elementary, higher secondary, university, vocational, technical and professional. The Campaign demands for a comprehensive entitlement policy for educational development rights of Dalit and Adivasi students, which is based on equity and inclusion in the society.


 Contact Details: shikshavikasadhikar@gmail.com / Mobile: 09999095633 (Abhay Xaxa)


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