Children from poor families receiving free education in Delhi schools face no discrimination from their richer classmates but are eyed with suspicion by their parents, an ongoing study suggests. The study added that the parents may not be too open to interaction between the two groups of students either. The study carried out by an NGO, Indus Action, works on education.
Earlier, the NGO conducted a study titled ‘Bright Spots: Status of Social Inclusion through RTE’, claimed that over 80% of private schools in Delhi violates Right to Education rules. The report was based on a survey of 10,000 people. This time, the NGO reviewed the interactions between students from EWS category and others to understand the social impact of quota on poor children in private schools.
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For school admissions, EWS families are those who have an annual income below a certain threshold of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. Twenty five percent of all seats are reserved for children from the EWScategory under Right to Education Act.
The current study focused on classes 3, 4 and 5 in three Delhi private schools. First is a big school with high fees and second is relatively a less expensiveinstitute while the third has low fees. The study points out that school put in a lot of effort to effect inclusion in the classroom, and notes that the discrimination observed during lunch and playtime.
Some non-EWS parents said that they were scared to let their children to mingle with children from EWS category because they believed that their children might pick up bad habits and language, the initial findings of the study suggests. Few of them claimed they invited non-EWS children to birthday parties but the latter did not turn up.
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Kritika Sangani of Indus Action, who is associated with the project, said “we found that EWS parents may not be as forthcoming due to socio-economic distance”.
Some non-EWS parents wish to engage EWS parents and children and see the value of inclusive classrooms. However, they find themselves ill-equipped to enable such initiatives, she added.
“The initial findings have shown no conspicuous patterns of discrimination against EWS children in classrooms,” said Sangani.
The final results of the study are likely to be compiled in a couple of months. The insights garnered from the study will be brought to the attention of schools, governments and academicians to trigger discourse and interventions. Another phase of the study is scheduled to be conducted in two other states.
Parents are the first teacher of a child. A child learns from his parents and if the parents would never tell children words like discrimination, it won’t even exist. Kids are not born with discrimination, it’s the parents who they copy and follow.