In recent times, several states in India have adopted the practice of creating separate schools and colleges for children of marginalised communities such as Dalits and Tribals. Does it bypass the mandate of inclusive education that must be open and accessible to children from all backgrounds, castes and religions? Discuss critically.

Published: September 18, 2017

Yes, it will de jure bypass the mandate of inclusive education and may result in the creation of educational ghettoes. But I believe that even the schools meant for everyone aren’t inclusive and they have de facto bypassed the mandate. This is evident from the instances of use of different coloured {as per caste} wrist bands (Tamil Nadu); making dalits sit on last benches and clean toilets {Delhi}; complacency of teachers and school administrations towards such discrimination etc.
Further, if we go by laws, while RTE mandates the inclusive schools, the other laws mandate separate schools for tribals. Government is already running separate residential schools Like Ashram Schools, Eklavya Schools etc. for tribals. Such schools help to check drop outs and provide a more comfortable environment to tribal children. However, demand for schools on religion is recent and should be handled with utmost care.
This apart, having separate schools on basis of caste, religion etc. is a double edged sword.   While it may end caste based discrimination, it may foster  and deepen the caste identity and hierarchy. In fact, the inclusive / common schools  are important for instilling the virtue of equality among students; provided the environment in them fosters this virtue. {202 words}

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