dalits / bahujans
Dalits, Bahujans and Adivasis (DBA) have historically been pushed to the margins of society, and the education system is no exception to this pattern of oppression and discrimination. It is not unknown that DBA students have to overcome several systemic barriers in order to access higher education institutions (HEIs) in India. For instance, by the Indian government’s own admission, the enrolment rates of students from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are abysmally low at 14.7% and 5.6% respectively (AISHE 2019-20).
Even for those who overcome these barriers and join HEIs, the journey ahead is difficult as a result of discrimination on campuses. This in return means that DBA students are severely underrepresented in HEIs abroad. Only a handful of students are able to make applications, and even fewer are successful. Several successful applicants are also unable to take up their places owing to limited access to funding opportunities, as a result of gatekeeping of such opportunities by elite/ savarna networks. Moreover, since UK universities do not collect data on the DBA identity of students, their underrepresentation does not receive adequate attention in the mainstream.
Recognising these problems, Project EduAccess has designed a mentorship programme to support DBA students with university and scholarship applications, particularly through a network of scholars belonging to the same identity. Our 2022-23 Mentorship Programme will focus on applications for postgraduate degrees in the United Kingdom.