The present study proposed to work with the following objectives: • To examine the socio-economic profile of the student who are studying in the selected government and private schools, • To analyze the perceptions of children, parents and teachers on the core infrastructural facilities in the chosen schools, • To map out the aspirations and experiences of the children and parents on the school choice and • To critically analyze the patterns of responses between Dalits and Non-Dalits on the school choice.The hypothesis is defined as a proposed assumption (statement) subject to the testing. The current study aimed to work with the following explanation: • The school choice is determined by the caste, class and gender • There is a significant difference between Dalits and Non-Dalits in understanding school choice.
Total sample consists of 200 student respondents from Dalits and Non-Dalits. They were selected using stratified random sampling technique, where a list of school going children was generated from the village education development committee report. The list also categorized students into boys and girls. After developing the list of students based on gender, every second student from boys and every third student from girls were selected. The respondents of the study include 140 students from rural areas and 60 from urban area. From each village 35 student respondents were selected and thus from four villages the sample is 140. From urban Wards 60 student respondents were selected, 30 from each Ward. Among 200 respondents 86 are boys and 114 are girls. In case of parent respondents snowball sampling technique was used in identifying the respondents. Total 150 parent respondents were selected from the study areas which includes 100 respondents from rural areas (i.e. from four villages) and 50 respondents from urban areas (i.e. two wards). When we look at the social category of the parent respondents 75 respondents are from Dalits and 75 respondents are from Non-Dalits. Among the Non-Dalits respondents 56 belong to Other Backward Classes, 13 belong to other castes and 6 to Scheduled Tribes.Questionnaire Schedule, Personal interviews, in depth analysis and group discussions were conducted for both student and parent respondents in the rural areas. Informal interactions with the teacher respondents both from private and government schools helped in gaining the perspectives of the teachers on the research questions.The study was conducted in four Mandals namely, Station Ghanpur, Parkal, Wardhannapet and Thorrur using purposive sampling technique. Using the same sampling strategy the wards were selected in Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation (GWMC). These villages and wards have high population of Dalits in the district. One village from each Mandal was selected. Thus data was collected in Ippagudem, Madharam, Nandanam and Ammapur villages. In the GWMC Ward No.2 and Ward No 11 were selected on the basis of highest population of Dalits. As the study was conducted in rural and urban settings different types of sampling techniques were adopted in selection of the respondents. In the case of selection of respondents in villages systematic sampling technique was used. In the case of urban Wards snow ball sampling technique was used in the selection of respondents.For the present study both primary and secondary sources of data were used. Based on the structured interview Schedule primary data was collected from the respondents directly, and essential data related to the research questions were collected from the secondary sources like village records, school records, census data, Municipal Corporation records, District boards, web sources of several government agencies, Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) was used for data analysis and generating tables.
For the present study total, 200 sample respondent from students and 150 respondents from parents were taken both from Dalits and Non-Dalits social background. From the study, it is found that among student respondents the majority of them belongs females both from Dalits and Non-Dalits and the majority of them belongs to 12-14 years. From the study, it is observed that in private schools the children are enrolled at the age of 3 years into primary sections, whereas in government schools the children are joined at the age of 5 years. The professional family members who are from upper castes enrolled their children at the age of three years in private schools. For the study, the majority of the student respondents are from 10th class both from Dalits and Non-Dalits, where the majority of the respondents belongs to Hindu religion. Out of total student respondents, 50 percent is from Dalits, in which the majority of them are from Madiga community when compared to Mala community. Though there are different sub-castes like (Dakkali, Chindu, Byndla, etc.) in Scheduled Castes, the study found only two Dalit castes i.e. Madiga and Mala for the present study. The tribes, other backward classes and upper castes were included among Non-Dalits for a broader understanding of differences between Dalits and Non-Dalits which conditions the educational aspirations and experiences. Among Non-Dalits the majority of the respondents are from Backward Classes consists of castes such as Munnuru Kaapu, Yadava, Gouda, Mera, Peraka and Padmashaali are higher in number. For a broader understanding of the importance and experiences of parents and students on education, the majority of the respondents were identified from a rural background. From the study, it is determined that the majority of the respondents both from Dalits and Non-Dalits are living with their parents during their study. Some of the Dalit respondents are studying in the social welfare residential schools which are the primary source for the poor Dalit children in providing free hostel accommodation and education. From the study villages, it is also found that the majority of the parents prefer to admit their children in welfare schools which are now equipped with all basic infrastructural needs and quality education with English medium. One of the Dalit girls hails from a poor economic background said that social welfare residential schools are the only means of a source for the continuation of education. She stated that till intermediate there is no problem.
The study concludes that the aspirations and experiences of school choice are determined by the multiple socio-economic indicators such as gender, caste, class, education, occupation, rural-urban background and social capital of the parents. The study also argues that the expectations and experience of Dalit children and relatives significantly vary when compared to not-Dalits in the selection of schools. The socio-economic and cultural factors do not allow Dalits to exercise the choice in the selection of the best schools. Thus the study proposes that the education policies and politics in Andhra and Telangana are responsible for the emergence of untouchable schools.
Keyword(s): Education of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Minorities