Chapter

Sociology of Educational Inequality in India

Geetha B. Nambissan and S. Srinivasa Rao

in Sociology of Education in India

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780198082866
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199082254 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198082866.003.0006
Sociology of Educational Inequality in India

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This chapter explores the sociological aspects of educational inequality in India. There is little coherent understanding of changing patterns of educational inequality, and few clear-cut pointers to explanations for continued non-participation in, and non-completion of schooling on the part of a significant number of children. The author believes that this state of affairs arises out of the theoretical inadequacies and political conservatism that characterizes much of the study of educational inequality. The author also critiques the new research agenda by analysing the issue of unequal educational access and attainment in elementary education, with a focus on those subordinated by caste, class, and gender, and identifies crucial areas that are missing in our understanding of the influence of social processes in student participation in education and in shaping the educational system. The author points to the need for a critical systemic exploration of the education system as a subsystem of society in which school structure, organization, and processes are to be placed in wider political economy and stratified social structure based on wealth and social status. The author concludes by stressing the need to open up the issue of educational inequality to wider debates operating at the level of economy, polity, and society, and to adopt wider perspectives in sociological studies of the education system.

Keywords: educational inequality; Indian educational system; caste, class and gender; systemic exploration; research agenda in education; educational access; educational attainment; elementary education; participation in education; education system; sociological studies

Chapter.  12502 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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