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Higher Education of Scheduled Castes in West Bengal: A Study of Open Education and Uplift of Downtrodden

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Item Code: HAS529
Author: Manosanta Biswas
Publisher: Netaji Subhas Open University, Kolkata
Language: English
Edition: 2020
ISBN: 9789382112723
Pages: 296
Other Details 9x6 inch
Weight 582 gm
Book Description
About The Book

This important book traces the history of Scheduled Caste education broadly in colonial Bengal and postcolonial West Bengal. In pre-colonial Bengal lower castes were numbers of endogamous sub-groups formed in lower graded hereditary occupations and mainly illiterate. Educational exclusion of these lower caste or Scheduled Castes since the ages made them segregated from the socio-economic and cultural sphere of the mainstream society. During the colonial rule, the backwardness of the lower caste peoples in the economic condition and in education was grossly visible. Despite of several constitutional provisions acting as an obligation for states in colonial period and after independent, Scheduled Castes have remained socially excluded and more educationally disadvantaged. The study tries to find out an overall socio-economic conditions of largest lower caste groups and how does, slowly, but gradually, developing higher education among the Scheduled Caste in West Bengal. In this connection, The Matua socio-religious ideology among the downtrodden of eastern part of Bengal drives a revolutionary educational encouragement, not only among the Namasudra-Matuas but also other lower caste communities for their self-confidence to be promoted through self-help as they always follow the words 'be educated, become respectable', 'a weapon' by which lower castes fight against the higher caste hegemony in any field and breakup the monopoly of power enjoyed by the elites. Educational uplift of the lower castes would be understand that the major factor responsible for backwardness are illiteracy, lack of reasonable knowledge and unequal competitions with the traditional privileged of upper castes. This study shows that the socio-economic reasons in existing enrolments of Scheduled Caste students in different higher educational courses and compares it with the General category students. In West Bengal, what are the growth rates of SC students in higher education at different levels in various disciplines Generally, and particularly in Netaji Subhas Open University.

About the Author

Dr. Manosanta Biswas (b. 1977) is an apparent researcher on caste, culture and politics of marginal sections of the modern Bengali society. He passed M.A. History in 2000 and obtained M. Phil. in 2004 and Ph.D Degree in 2014 from the Department of History, University of Calcutta. He is now serving as an Assistant professor of History in Netaji Subhas Open University, Kolkata. His many research articles appeared in several national and international journals, edited volumes, and magazines. He is also presented many scholarly papers in national and international conferences and seminars. He got Foreign Travel Grants Award of ICHR in 2014 for participating the '23rd Conference of International Association of Historians of Asia' (IAHA 2014) held in Alor Setar, Malaysia. He wrote two books, বাংলার মতুয়া আন্দোলনঃ সমাজ সংস্কৃতি রাজনীতি, সেতু প্রকাশনী কলকাতা, ২০১৬ (Matua Movement in Bengal: Society Culture Politics) and 'Caste Dynamics in India: Social Mobility and Cultural Otherness of the Namasudra in Bengal', Colombia International, Kolkata, 2018. Recently, he has jointly edited two volumes, 'Social Exclusion in Bengal: Culture, Politics and Minority', and 'Caste, Social Formation and Political Mobilization: Modern Bengal in Historical Context' published from the Netaji Subhas Open University.


Whenever, I introduce any academic activity of any faculty or researcher of Netaji Subhas Open University, feel candid pleasure for their efforts, because of my heartfelt convergence with it. In that approach, I am very glad to know that the report of a project titled 'Matua Educational Movement in West Bengal: Ideology, Open Educational Consciousness and Social Uplift of Downtrodden' is now prepared for publication in a book shape as new named 'Higher Education of Scheduled Castes in West Bengal: A Study of Open Education and Uplift of Downtrodden". The project was sponsored by University Grants Commission (UGC) and Distance Education Bureau (DEB) and was carried out by the Principal Investigator, Dr. Manosanta Biswas, Assistant Professor of History, School of Social Sciences, Netaji Subhas Open University.

This project is a case study of the enrolment trend in the elementary, secondary and higher education of downtrodden endogamous peoples or Scheduled Castes (SC) students in West Bengal. The study tries to find an overall socio-economic conditions of largest lower caste groups and slowly, but gradually, developing the higher education in West Bengal. Other central objectives of the study are to locate socio-economic reasons in existing enrolments of different higher educational courses. It examines the impact of 'upliftment ideologies of downtrodden' on the enrolment of SC students and compares it with the General category students. In West Bengal, what are the growth rates of SC students in higher education at different levels in various disciplines in general, and particularly in Netaji Subhas Open University. The conducted study is what the scale is administrated on group of sample consisting of M.A. students in history of Netaji Subhas Open University at different Personal Contract Programme (PCP) centers. After collecting the information from the sample group, scoring is made on the basis of scoring key scales. Then the respondents are arranged in ascending order on the basis of score obtained by them in the scale for calculating the discriminative values of the scale. The study shows the increasing trends of numbers and percentage of SC students' enrolment in different subjects are phenomenal and Open and Distance Education system is reflecting the intrinsic prospective to bring a larger number of SC and women leaner in the higher education domain. The report may shows to some extent the ideology and motto of our university, 'reach to unreach'. Rural based Study Centers, student support system and friendly 'Personal Contract Programme' (PCP) of Netaji Subhas Open University creates opportunities for pursuing higher education to all levels of society irrespective of caste, religion and minority.

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