At a time when the state is trying to restore the legacy of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar — by procuring Indu Mill land for his memorial and buying his London home — a research report has shown the government has failed the people he stood for, in the field of education.
The study — ‘Educational Status of Scheduled Castes in Maharashtra: Attainments and Challenges — by Dr Govardhan Wankhede of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) was commissioned by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) as part of an analysis conducted in 19 states in India on the issue.
Its conclusion: The benefits of reservation in education have not sufficiently reached the Scheduled Caste (SC).
The study sampled 3,714 respondents (mostly students from Class 6, Class 9 and college students) in 1,586 households across five districts in Maharashtra. It claimed only 7.5% students of SCs have been granted admissions through reservation. This is attributed to complicated and bureaucratic administrative processes, red tape, biased attitudes of officials, corruption and apathy and difficulty in getting caste and income certificates.
The study said only 18% could avail post-matric scholarships. But these students complained about not getting the money even after completing the course. This forced nearly 14% students to discontinue their education after school. It also led to 14% of the households to sell off their land or take loans to support their child’s education.