Book on Dalit education in Bihar released

By Matters India Reporter

Patna, March 17, 2019: A new book comprehensively deals with Bihar’s school education, especially Dalits’.

The research based book entitled, Dalit Education in Bihar: A Study of Exclusion, is authored by Jesuit Father Jose Kalapura and Ashutosh Kumar Vishal.

It is jointly published by Jesuit-managed Xavier Institute of Social Research (XISR) and Janaki Prakashan, Patna.

Professor Emeritus Anirudh Prasad, formerly with Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi, released the book on March 12 at a function held at Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Patna.

Releasing the book Prasad said, the book is a felt need of today as to study the impact of many programs of the government for improving education of Dalits in Bihar.

The book covers all aspects of Dalit education in Bihar and is based on a field research in five districts using more than 1,500 sample respondents of Dalit households and children representing five numerically large Dalit castes who comprise some 80 percent of the Dalit population in Bihar.

Congratulating the authors and XISR for their contribution, the professor said the book, a scientific study, would be a valuable asset to Social Sciences in general and Dalit literature in particular.

Pushpendra, chairperson of the Patna Centre of Tata Institute of Social Studies, hailed the book as an important contribution on school education in Bihar in general and of Dalit children in particular.

The review of literature section of the book highlights the relationship of school education with democracy, equality and inclusion, he said.

The study gives an overview of the status of schooling in Bihar and India, and shows a distinct pattern of inequality in terms of school admission and drop out along the lines of gender and caste, he added.

Apart from giving an assessment of achievements and shortcomings of school education in Bihar, the study makes specific inquiries into different dimensions of exclusion of Dalit children from school education.

Dalit children experience discrimination in schools in terms of separation during mid-day meals, debarring from inter-mingling with other students, exclusion by teachers and upper caste students, etc., he said.

The study also analyzes social factors affecting Dalit children’s education such as their low social status, need to work at home and sometimes outside to support family, low expectations from the teachers as well as family, and psychological barriers related to a sense of shame and humiliation.

The study finds high impact of government’s school-related incentives for Dalit children such as scholarship, free uniforms, textbooks, cycles and mid-day meals.

Co-author Vishal gave the summary of the findings in the study. Earlier, welcoming the guests, Father Kalapura said he book was the 8th in a series of research works on the subaltern communities in Bihar.

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