India: Marginalized Children Denied Education

We won’t go to government school. They don’t treat us well there. They don’t teach us or anything. They don’t teach us properly. In 2009 the Indian government inacted a new law, the Right to Education Act which guarantees free and compensary education to all children 6-14 years old. India has made significant progress towards literacy but we found that the law is failing to keep children from marginalized communities in classrooms. The Dilet, tribal, or Muslim child, because of discrimination, because they are made to feel unwelcome. We ask the teacher, “Please teach us too!” “We want to learn to read and write so you will be proud.” She responds, “Why should we teach you?” We study the whole day on our own. We learn from our own textbooks Discrimination can take various forms such as Dilet or tribal children are made to sit separately or at the back of the class. She used to make us sit in a corner and all the Hindu and Muslim students sat in front. Children from the other village tell us not to come close to them. They spit on us. They spit on our clothes. When we tell the teacher, she just hits us. Our children are made to sit separately for meals and the other children are fed separately. They don’t pay attention to our kids. When I spoke to the principal and teacher, it was very apparent that they saw these tribal children as a problem. These children don’t interact with other children easily. They are a bit different. Their eating habits are a bit different. We aren’t allowed to beat them. We are only allowed to scold them, so they don’t listen to us. The government authorities fail to hold teachers and principals to account when they discriminate or allow discrimination against these children. If there is an issue of discrimination, the administration should make it an issue and address it. At this point in time, very often we do not see the teachers being ready to address it. So I think they have to be told that this is a matter that needs to be changed and their compliance in this is very important. Instead of paying more attention and integrating these children, teachers neglect these children from marginalized communities who fall behind in classes and over time lose interest in coming to school. Children who drop out of school face other threats such as being pushed into child labor or early marriage. I thought I would go to school, get an education and become a doctor. I didn’t finish school. I only stayed through the fifth grade. All day I do whatever needs to be done, whatever work I’m told to do. I do things like cut wheat and pick potatoes. I spend the whole day doing that. We work in the fields so we hoped our children would get an education. and do some other kind of work. It would be good if they got a decent job somewhere. They can’t study because of society, because of the teachers. Right now, these children are still not in school. The saddest thing is that despite the fact that these children mustered the courage to speak out against the discrimination they faced, which is very tough to do they went to school for only a very short period. Our children don’t understand the point of going to school because they are not learning anything there. We wish that our children could get an education, so they could become doctors, magistrates, or police superintendents. This would make us happy but there is no one to help us so how can we move ahead? Discrimination is unacceptable. It has been outlawed for decades and it is important that schools become a site of zero discrimination. If they teach us, then we will be like you. If they don’t teach us, then I will remain the way I am.

17 thoughts on “India: Marginalized Children Denied Education”

  1. this is sad. i want some thing done a bout this to love these children, care for them, for they are the essence of me and you and all. Unconditional love has no face, no name, no wall, and so on. LOve them and teach them !

  2. its a sorry state of affair in india, The caste system was an evil that crept into our society through the course of history,All though we boast of us as the world's largest  democracy, democracy is not grassroot , especially in rural india,, it will take atleast a hundred years for the medieval india to get rid of this feudalistic mindset..Iam an indian, am very saddened to see this..

  3. These children are future of our society. Can somebody provide me details on Meena & Vijay? Myself and few of my friends would like to contribute in any which way we can for their Education. I would really appreciate that – Thank You!

  4. The building conditions ain't even up to basic standards for teaching any child regardless of social background.

  5. OMG , I would love to be ur teacher, I know my country also has schools without good conditions, but at least the teachers that work in poor zones are the more passionate. Didint they know about freire and the pedagogy of love?

  6. how can india claim to be the next superpower when they have laws but children like these eps the lower classes are denied the very basics of education. thats sacrilege

  7. And when these kids use reservations to get into good educational institutes and govt jobs, the incompetent upper-caste shitpots start crying about abolishing reservations.

  8. Very soul- touching video. This is very sad. Tribal community also have right of education. The cast system is an evil that deeply rooted into our society from ancient time. We have to change this condition. These children are future of our society. Teacher should give them a proper education and guidance with lot of love and care.

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