The farce of school choice : JAYATI GHOSH
ANYONE who knows even a little bit about school education in India knows that it is largely about exclusion. Only a tiny minority of children get anything resembling a decent schooling – the rest are either excluded altogether or provided poor quality education with weak infrastructure and inadequate pedagogic attention, which in turn encourage high rates of dropout.
As with so much else in Indian society, the reasons for such exclusion are dominantly, but not exclusively, economic. Of course, the poor everywhere are adversely affected because they cannot afford expensive private schools and must suffer whatever conditions prevail in the government-run schools in their areas of residence. Those living in backward regions are affected because they often simply do not have a school near enough for the children to attend regularly. But in addition, a wide range of various forms of social discrimination operates to exclude children from particular castes or communities or linguistic categories or other groups, even when the schooling is ostensibly open to all.
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