The rise in inequality of opportunity in India

Source: Live mint

What is the News?

A World Bank study has found that children of under-educated parents in India find it much more difficult to rise up the educational and income ladder. The situation is better in other large developing countries(China, Brazil, Indonesia, Egypt, and Nigeria).

Key Findings of the Study:

 Privileged Learners:

  • In normal years without any school closures, children from affluent and better-educated families learn much more than those from poorer families.
  • Furthermore, the pandemic-induced school lockdown threatens to widen these fault lines even further. Children in poorer and under-educated families are falling far behind peers.
    • The length of school closures in India was among the highest in the world.
  • It is being estimated that around 300 million children across India have been affected due to school closures. Further, those without access to smartphones or a family member to help them with their lessons have been hit the hardest.
Caste Gap:
  • In a socially stratified society such as India, differences in class tend to reflect differences in caste, and educational outcomes reflect this reality.
  • Most college-educated Indians belong to privileged castes and tend to be the sons or daughters of college-educated parents.
  • This also means that many students from marginalized caste groups tend to be first-generation learners who struggle even in a physical classroom environment.
  • Hence, with limited access to smartphones and computers, their struggle is much greater in the current digitized learning environment.

Job Segregation:

  • Differences in educational attainments can widen job market inequalities. ‘Meritorious’ children from privileged castes and social backgrounds are gaining better-paying jobs.
  • Decent salaried jobs are rare for scheduled castes (SCs) and tribes (STs).
  • Moreover, the pandemic’s role in widening wealth inequality received a fair amount of attention due to the soaring stock prices of a few multi-billionaires firms.
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