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Discrimination in Educational Institutions UPSC NOTE


Challenges and discrimination faced by students in prestigious educational institutions in India

  • Data tabled in the Rajya Sabha on July 26 shows that 8,139 students belonging to other backward classes (OBCs) and minority communities have dropped out of IITs over the past five years. 

  • In the years between 2018 and 2023, 35 of them died, as per data furnished in the Lok Sabha by the Union Minister of Education on April 3 this year.

  • While the reasons for young adults taking their lives are complex, with many contributing factors.

  • Students are vulnerable, with 8% (13,089 victims) of the suicides in India from this group, as per 2021 data from the National Crime Records Bureau. 

  • Within the female population, students formed the second highest number, after housewives.

  • Along with sometimes difficult personal histories, academic rigour and social hierarchies contribute to the challenges.

  • Within the campus, students face different kinds of discrimination, based on ranks (since those from SC/ST/OBC communities come in through reservations), class performance, even language.

  • Isolation, marginalisation, and alienation are all a part of the journey for many.

  • The idea of merit fails to account for the starting points, trajectories, social networks, affluence, prejudices, hardships, and countless other factors that shape a person.

  • The concept of using rank or grades as a proxy for merit is flawed as it does not consider the uphill battle that many individuals from historically marginalized backgrounds face.

Way forward

  • The issue of discrimination in the IITs is a deeply entrenched one that needs to be addressed at multiple levels.

  • It requires a constant engagement with the politics of assertion and an understanding of the pervasive nature of discrimination.

  • The IITs need to move beyond the principle of equal opportunity and create a more inclusive and equitable environment that fosters diversity and equal representation.

  • There is need for anti-caste-based discrimination legislation to take into account intersectional discrimination which shall provide a direction to address caste-based discrimination both conceptually and operationally.

  • Institutes need to create a mechanism through which caste-based discrimination can be challenged and casteist perpetrators are penalized, thereby securing the interests and welfare of lower caste students and faculty. 

  • There is need to treat caste-based discrimination and institutionalized caste-based discrimination as a violation of the constitutional rights of individual students, especially from marginalized castes, tribes and minority communities and not simply as ragging.

  • All educational institutions must be barrier-free in terms of language, caste, class and religion so that the marginalized sections can come up to construct their own merits.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Discrimination in Educational Institutions UPSC NOTE
Discrimination in Educational Institutions UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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