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Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Why in news?

  • The government released the New Education Policy after a gap of 34 years.
  • Among other things the NEP seeks to encourage school education in mother tongue.
  • Data from a recently released National Statistical Office (NSO) survey on education, which was conducted in 2017-18 shows that India’s education landscape has massive inequalities.

Imparting English Medium Education

  • There is a deep aspiration for imparting English medium education to children, access to which continues to remain unequal.
  • Those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder are more likely to be studying humanities than a professional course.
  • Those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder are also much less likely to have access to English medium education.
  • Girls are less likely to be getting English medium education than boys, and more women take up humanities than men in India.
  • Differences in geographical location can increase or decrease these inequalities.
  • The commonly held belief that most Muslims send their children to Madrasas (religious seminaries) and not proper schools is a myth which is NOT supported by data.
  • In 10 out of 20 large states, the number of Muslims attending English-medium schools, expressed as a proportion of all Muslims attending schools is higher than the corresponding proportion for Hindus.
  • Interestingly, even India’s poorest and socially most deprived parents are doing all they can, including spending beyond their means, to send their children to English-medium schools.
  • There is a very high aspiration for English-medium education, even among the poorest.

India’s education landscape is extremely unequal

  • Students from the richest 20% of the society are seventeen times more likely to be studying law than those from the poorest 20%.
  • And a student who does not belong to another backward class (OBC), scheduled class (SC) or scheduled tribe (ST) is six times more likely to be studying management than a Scheduled Tribe (ST) student in India.
  • To be sure, both humanities and non-English medium education are the most common among Indian students.

Across States

  • Just 6% students were receiving English medium education in Bihar. This number is 63% in Telangana and 95% in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim majority state, has the highest prevalence of English medium education in the country.

-Source: Hindustan Times

December 2023