In response to the call for a special issue on marginality and education by the Sage journal Sociological Bulletin, Dr. Anurekha Chari Wagh and Prof. Aparna Rayaprol of the Department of Sociology, co-edited the special issue, Sociological Bulletin Volume 72, Issue 4, October 2023, on Marginality and Gender in Educational Institutions in Contemporary India with a focus on education and gender as the central form of marginality. The papers examine how gender intersects with caste, class, religion, and region in educational institutions in India, at all levels — primary, secondary and higher education, thus producing layers of marginality and exclusion. Sociological and feminist scholarship has highlighted the centrality of gender in framing the ways in which marginalities get articulated. In recent years, while access to education has facilitated a slight bridging of the gender gap, the practices and policies in most educational institutions continue to reproduce marginality and exclusion. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 of the Government of India has emphasised achieving social justice and equality in education as a path to joining the top countries in the world with high socioeconomic indicators. The NEP document highlights words such as inclusion, equity, and focuses on reduction in gender discrimination as a means to achieve educational access and better-quality outcomes. A critical glance at government policies in post-Independence India shows that gender inequality and other structural marginalities have been addressed in an ad hoc and haphazard manner. Some of the policies that made an effort include the recommendations given by the Hansa Mehta Committee in 1964, the National Policy on Education (NEP) 1986, the Mahila Samakhya Programme of 1988, the position paper on gender that was developed along with the National Curriculum Framework 2005, the Right to Education Act (2009), the National Programme for Education of Girls at the Elementary level of 2011 and the UGC report titled “Saksham – Measures for Ensuring the Safety of Women and Programmes for Gender Sensitization on Campuses (2013).
This special issue of the journal not only critically engages with these policies at various levels, but also addresses issues of how the discourse on gender and marginality has an impact on experiences of gendered education in India. The authors attempt to understand how gendered experiences intersect with other forms of exclusionary structures such as caste, religion, class and sexuality to shape one’s engagement with education in contemporary India. Policymakers have recognized that after more than seventy-five years of Independence, the expansion in education has rendered schools, colleges and universities more demographically diverse and heterogeneous. Such diversity and heterogeneity, where the new generation of scholars and students from historically disadvantaged sections of society are posing challenges to the social homogeneity of the classroom, boards of studies, and other academic bodies, leading to contestation over issues of access, quality, and standards in education The issue thus engages with three aspects with regards to marginality, gender and education: one, policy issues, two, identity and education, and three, teaching and learning practices within institutions.
The volumes includes papers by UoH faculty, Anurekha Chari Wagh, Aparna Rayaprol, Nagaraju Gundemeda, Deepa Sreenivas, and Usha Raman, as well as UoH alumni such as Salma Farooqui, Ramshin Rahiman and Anusha Renukuntla. Other contributors include Meenakshi Thapan, Mary E. John, Bandana Purkayastha, Ranu Jain, Leena Pujari, Anannya Dasgupta, Hem Borker and Aishwarya Joshi.