ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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When a Student Drops Out

An alarming number of dropouts suggests an inadequate implementation of the reservation policy.

In response to a written question in the Rajya Sabha, the union minister of state for education recently revealed that more than 19,000 students from Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Scheduled Castes (SCs), and Scheduled Tribes (STs) have drop­ped out of central universities, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) from 2018 to 2023. The union government was questioned by a Rajya Sabha member representing the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party from Tamil Nadu about the dropout rate of students belonging to SC, ST, and OBC categories from IITs, IIMs, and other central universities in the last five years. The DMK member of Parliament (MP) also sought to know “whether Government has conducted any study in regard to the reasons for the high dropout rate of OBC, SC, and ST students in these higher educational institutions.”

The question regarding the possible reasons behind the dropout rates of SC/ST/OBC students is highly crucial if one is interested in assessing the implementation of reservation policies both in letter and spirit in the institutions of higher learning. In order to fulfil the aim of equal opportunity, the government cannot be complacent with regard to making it possible for the marginalised students to merely gain an entry into educational institutions. In fact, it needs to create enabling conditions that would help these students combat the reasons that force them to drop out from their respective degree program­mes. The union minister of state for education responded to the question of the DMK MP by highlighting that the government has implemented various measures such as reducing fees, setting up more institutes, and providing scholarships to help students from economically weaker sections continue their education. The minister also said that there are schemes for the benefit of SC/ST students such as tuition fee waivers at IITs. However, citing various policies of redressing the problem of dropouts does not really explain the causes behind such high dropout rates. The minister’s statement only begs the following question: Even in the presence of these so-called welfare measures in educational institutions, why are SC/ST/OBC students still dropping out from these degree programmes in such large numbers?

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Updated On : 15th Apr, 2023
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