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

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Education as a Common Good?

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The involuntary exit of students from marginalised castes and communities from the educational system in general and the institutions of higher learning in particular is unfortunate but most intensely quite frustrating. As the editorial in the current issue of EPW suggests, the dropouts reflect negatively on the reservation policy and reveal the failure of the protective measures that the government has taken in order to ensure the retention of students from the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) on educational campuses. Taking forward the concerns expressed in the editorial, the phenomenon of dropouts poses several serious questions for the conception of education as a common good.

The massive number of dropouts certainly suggests that they are involuntary. The decision to join institutions of higher education was taken as part of the modernist aspirations that were nurtured by both the students and their parents. Admission to such institutions stood, at least initially, on the firm determination and resolve to complete one’s courses and obtain the degree. Given this aspirational flight, it would be unfair to interpret the tragic decision of dropping out as a matter of voluntary choice that is usually made on the spur of the moment.

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Updated On : 15th Apr, 2023
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