In India, education is considered to be a fundamental right for children up to the age of 14 years. The government has, therefore, created several political cues to eradicate inequality and five universal access to education for all learners. In educational institutions, inequality is often related to access and outcomes. According to Article 45 of the Directive Principles of State Policy,
“The State shall endeavor to provide, within ten years from the commencement of the Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they attain the age of 14 years.”
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.
Methods to Eliminate Social Inequality in Education
Some steps taken by the government to reduce inequality in education are as follows.
The Kothari Commission (1964)
The Kothari Commission was an ad hoc commission formed by the Government of India under the Chairmanship of Daulat Singh Kothari on 14 July 1964 and dissolved on 29 June 1966. He was the chairman of the University Grants Commissions (UGC) when the Kothari Commission was formed. The Commission consisted of twenty members who were experts in the education domain and based out of the UK, USA, Japan, Sweden, and France.
National Policy of Education (1986)
The main goal of NPE was to universalize elementary education through facilities such as quality education, trained teachers, and adequate teaching and learning materials. It also took steps to remove inequality and discrimination based on social criteria.
Sarvarva Shiksha Abhiyan
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a flagship program started by the government of India in 2001. It was developed to achieve the Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE). The provision of legal backing for SSA occurred when the Indian Constitution under Article 21 A, made free and compulsory education for the children in the age group of 6-14 a fundamental right in.
Right To Education Act
The Right to Education Act (RTE) is enacted to make the right to education a fundamental right in the country. It marks a watershed in the Indian education system and that is why it is essential legislation. In August 2009, Parliament passed the act, and came into force in 2010. Following this, India became one of the 135 countries that have made education a fundamental right of every child.
Students belonging to a poor economic background and possess a good learning ability to receive various scholarships at different levels of education such as pre-matric, post-matric, national fellowship, national overseas scholarship, free coaching, and more.
What Can Social Agencies Do to Help Combat Inequality in Education?
There are a few ways in which social agencies can contribute to eradicating educational inequality which are as follows:
Provision of Funds
They can provide funds whenever possible for the functioning of schools to promote universal access to education.
They need to motivate others in society to take part in spreading equality in education.
Provision of Resources
They can do their part by distributing educational resources like books, stationery, and the like whenever possible.
Social agencies can organize clubs and meetings that spread awareness about inequality in education.
Promotion of Same Access to Technology
Hybrid learning will grow more prevalent in the future and as a result, social agencies can ensure that all learners have equal access to technology by organizing methods to provide the same.
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.”
In educational institutions, inequality is often related to access and outcomes.