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Unformatted text preview: COMMENTARY Economic & Political Weekly EPW june 19, 2010 vol xlv no 25 29 Hostel Schemes for Dalit Students: Continuing Exclusion Sobin George An assessment of a government of India scheme to provide hostel facilities for dalit students finds that it suffers from deficiencies of exclusion. O n 9 July 2009, the minister of state for social justice and em- powerment referring in the Rajya Sabha to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General ( CAG ) on Educational Development of Scheduled Castes ( SCs ) and Scheduled Tribes ( ST s) for 2007 said: in many states, hostels for SC s and ST s have been used for running government offices, schools, staff residence and beggar’s home. ….in Dukma, Dhanbad and Ranchi, three hostels for ST s and one for SC s built during 2001-04 for 400 students were occupied by police officials and to run a school, while six hostels constructed during 1992-2003 were being used as staff quarters, classrooms and a staff common room. 1 This official admission of flaws in service delivery reiterates the fact that though several incentive schemes to encourage SC / ST students to attain quality education exist, what is happening on the ground is very different. This article, drawing from an assessment study of the targeted scheme of Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojna, looks at how inclusive the scheme is in se- lecting locations and beneficiaries and how far it acts as an incentive for SC students to continue their education. The National Policy on Education ( NPE ), 1986 and the Programmes of Action ( PoA ), 1992 provided the broad framework under which the government of India implemented programmes for the educational develop- ment of SC s. Hostel schemes have been conceived as an incentive for higher edu- cation for SC students out of the realisation that a considerable number of s tudents from these communities drop out of school in the secondary and higher s econdary levels due to various reasons. The scheme for SC girls has been in place from the Third Five-Year Plan and for boys since 1990 onwards. In 2008, the existed hostel scheme for boys and girls was revised and named as the Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojna. The new scheme, which came in to force from 1 January 2008, was an attempt to address the pitfalls of the earlier scheme. The stated objective of the revised scheme is “to enable and encourage students be- longing to scheduled castes to attain qual- ity education” with a gender focus. Table 1 (p 30) shows that in an agreement with the gender focus envisaged in the scheme, there was an increase of around Rs 28 crore in the expenditure on girls’ hostels and a decrease of around Rs 11 crore on boys’ hostels between 2007-08 and 2008-09, while the previous years marked a higher allocation and expenditure on boys’ hos- tels. Similarly, as official figures show, there is an increase in the number of hos- tels constructed and the total number of seats made available for SC girl students....
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