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Reduced Inequality and Education

Can’t relate to the topic?

Let me help you change that perspective.

First, let us state some facts and figures which will enumerate the global scenario :

“In 2016, 22 percent of global income was received by the top 1 percent compared with 10 percent of income for the bottom 50 percent.”

“Women spend, on average, twice as much time on unpaid housework as men.”

The facts presented above state that inequality on the basis of the haves and have-nots, gender as well as caste in India among others have existed since time immemorial. To overcome these inequalities the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Agenda clearly states REDUCED INEQUALITY (SDG10) as one of its 17 goals for a sustainable future. This SDG calls for reducing inequalities in income as well as those based on age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic, etc within a country. Numerous data, facts, and figures state that inequality is the biggest contributing factor for the low rates of illiteracy in India. According to the Annual Status of Education Report (Aser), the richest 5% in urban India spend 29 times more on education than households in the middle-income rural distribution.

Educational inequality is the unequal distribution of academic resources, including but not limited to school funding, qualified and experienced teachers, books, and technologies to socially excluded communities. These communities tend to be historically disadvantaged and oppressed. More times than not, individuals belonging to these marginalized groups are also denied access to schools with abundant resources and are forced into the under equipped government alternative.Inequality leads to major differences in prominent education or efficiency of these individuals and ultimately suppresses social and economic mobility.

But who is to blame for this prevailing condition? Is it the government? Is it the personal view of the people? Or is it the private sector?

The answer is all of the above! Read it again! All of the above!

Let us start one by one

Why the Government?

Keeping in mind the pre and post pandemic circumstances, the public education system has faced crippling changes during the covid period and has been disadvantageous for a number of students due to the inefficiency of the government. This includes a lack of incentive for underprivileged children to come to school, dearth of good quality educational resources, absenteeism of the teachers, inadequate funds from the government etc. With schools shut and no provision of technology to underprivileged children and teachers, the situation has gone from bad to worse in a matter of a few months where a number of these students have been deprived education for almost a year now.

You might have noticed above that I am mostly referring here to problems of the education system and discussing poor students because that’s what the problem is for. As far as the advantages are concerned you might be well aware of it.

Coming back to the point of whom to blame.

Why people’s perspective is to be blamed?

Let me reiterate, we are talking about the view of the marginalized communities, the communities which are not informed, the communities which don’t understand why education is so important, the communities that still are orthodox in their ways and have their own reasons for not educating a child.The gendered differences between the upbringing of a girl child and a boy coupled with their societal standards for a female’s future against a male in the same household who is expected to become the next earning member in the family while the daughter is married off. All of these reasons are some of the few which act as a hindrance, depriving a child from receiving the education they deserve.

Why the private sector is to be blamed?

Private enterprises have always been a major contributor to the income differences among people. The urban population with high incomes send their kids to private schools with adequate resources and tremendous opportunities which gives them an upper hand over other children who cannot afford private education. You might not agree with my opinions but the reality is that every government school/university that caters to underprivileged students is not providing valuable education to them. The private sector might be good for the economy as it may raise the GDP but increasing the gap between the haves and have nots is what we are against.

Now, studying the problem of the above three areas. What’s the solution? Where does the inequality end and how? What is the future of public education.?

I may not be able to present you with the perfect solution but here’s what I believe.

The solution lies in the fact that awareness should be promoted for all individuals holistically instead of just for the underprivileged sections of the society. Allocation of more and more funds to the education sector is necessary to meet today’s quality education demand. Talking about the private sector, no doubt the private sector has quality teachers, quality education, knowledgeable resources with the latest technology but private sectors can be improved by collaborating with the government which ultimately aids in the improvement of government-funded public education. I believe our ultimate goal should be sustainability and achieving the goal and whether it’s by private or public it should matter. Both of them working together may produce better results.

These are some of my opinions and reducing these inequalities is what all the targets of the SDG 2030 agenda put emphasis on.

- Kashish Changrani, a volunteer at EdJustice, a 2nd-year student pursuing Economics Honours at Kirorimal College.

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