This thesis conducted to explore caste based discrimination in education and to examine how it affects to education of Dalit students. It analyses the extent to which the hierarchical caste based discrimination and educational policies and practices create exclusionary pressures upon Dalits. This analysis is based on the data obtained from literature and documents, questionnaire with focus group discussion, interview and observation conducted the purposively selected school in Kailali and Achham District of Far Western Nepal.
This thesis is an attempt to listen to Dalit students voices and experiences caste based discrimination in school system. Though Dalit students are the main informants of this study, it has also interviewed parents and other stakeholders to make use of their perspectives on different social, cultural, economical and educational issues. The information is analyzed thematically and interpreted critically, drawing on a social science literature on social inequality and education, including the relationship of schooling to social development and change.
It has found the practice of caste based discrimination still existing in the society. although it is constitutionally illegal and the impact was observed in school. And yet the Dalit students have felt some form of discrimination in education system. Because of this discrimination, Dalit students have faced psychological effect along with their performance. Dalits have perceived school as a main center for education, employment opportunity, change in life style and change in existing practice of traditional socio- cultural caste based mindset. On the other hand, they also think school cannot fulfill their expectation because school functions reproduction of societal values and norms.
This thesis analyses how education system in Nepal has reproduced structural inequality and discrimination. Such discriminatory practices have been increased by ambivalent policy texts. Education has also played a significant role in challenging the hierarchical caste structure and discriminatory situations within society. Through developing a ‘schooled identity’, Dalit pupils build relationships with non-Dalit pupils. Such relationships have the potential to challenge and contest discriminatory ideologies for both Dalit and non-Dalit pupils.
Education is ensured social mobility, identify paths to economic betterment, and develop socio-political awareness of Dalit. In spite of caste based discrimination and untouchability, Dalits encourage their children to attend school. There has also found that school is important in enabling Dalits to understand their situation. But question is the status quo. In this regard, this study has observed that schooling make some positive change in Dalit community. However, there are many unsolved issues within caste system and Dalit education. Similarly, most of Dalits do not take benefit from current education system.
This thesis suggests that developing inclusion of Dalit involves a process of understanding and changing exclusionary and discriminatory situations, and current education/ school system need to make restructuring for the Dalit friendly.