According to Gunn (2018),
“Equality is the provision of equal treatment, access, and opportunity to resources and opportunities. Essentially, everyone gets the same thing, regardless of where they come from or what needs they might have.”
Nature of Inequality in Education
In educational institutions, inequality is often related to access and outcomes. Equality ensures that every student has equal access to a high-quality education regardless of their social background. It also ensures that all students are accountable to the same standards and objectives without taking into account their circumstances, abilities, or experiences. However, in inequality, there may be an unequal distribution of the same.
Causes of Inequality
The causes of inequality are as follows:
- Social Stratification: Social stratification is an ancient practice. Since ancient times, there exists a difference between the rich and the poor, the landowners and the laborers, and the like. This has led to the practice of social stratification and inequality even in the modern age.
- Caste System: Caste in social stratification is based on the transmission of lifestyle, hereditary, and endogamy that involves a hierarchy of status, occupation, and customary social practice of exclusion that revolves around purity. In ancient India, there existed a practice called ‘untouchability’. Individuals who belonged to low caste were not allowed to enter temples and were treated with discrimination. They were considered to be impure and therefore, regarded as untouchables.
- Class System: Social stratification based on social class and status is the ranking of individuals and groups on a social hierarchy. This ranking depends on the honor, prestige, wealth, and property held by an individual or group in society. In social stratification, inequality is based entirely on social factors and not on biological factors. Social stratification is different in every society. For instance, the Aryan society was segregated into the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Sudras.
- Religion: Religious stratification is one of the most common forms of social stratification. Stronger religious communities hold power and dominance over relatively weaker communities which arises conflict and communal disturbance in society. It leads to social problems such as communal conflict, religious hate crimes, the difference of opinions, violence that would not be present had there been no religious stratification in the society. This segregation leads to inequality in rewards and opportunities and the discrimination of minorities.
Types of Inequality
The types of inequality are as follows:
- Gender Inequality: Inequality on the grounds of gender is pretty common even in today’s age. Male teachers may be more partial toward female learners while some female teachers may be more partial toward male learners.
- Social stratification: As a result, it leads to many consequences such as the unequal treatment of rich and poor. The poor people or those belonging to the low social face discrimination and receive unequal opportunities and rewards.
- Family Background: The family background of the learners also plays a critical role in their teaming as teachers who are familiar with the parents of the learners may give them special treatment.
These are the various factors that characterize the inequality in educational institutions in India.