Marginalisation and Education

Marginalisation and Education: Children in Inter-state Border Areas

This study has been commissioned by New Education Group – Foundation for Innovation and Research in Education (NEG-FIRE), which works with partners in different states in India on issues related to education (

Focus of study
The focus of the study is the schooling experience of a child in the under-fourteen age group, living in a remote, difficult-to-reach, and frequently-troubled area on the border of a state, far from the administrative centres of power, with the state itself often economically and educationally poorly developed. In addition, the child may experience discrimination and alienation within the school due to his/her identity as belonging to a socially disadvantaged group. Analysis of census data confirms that the residents of many of these villages are primarily from such groups.

Many studies have identified language as one of the deterrents in the way to actualizing the right of every child to quality elementary education. It has a serious impact on dropout rates and non-attendance. The language and culture of students’ home environment may be given low or even negative value by teachers who may reflect the values of the mainstream. In addition, children in border areas may also face language problems because at home they speak the language of a neighbouring state.

This study keeps in focus the fact that many children in these areas are facing educational deprivation because of a combination of problems due to locational disadvantage and identity issues. These problems affect the supply and demand for education singly, as well as cumulatively.


It is hoped that the research will highlight

Access and quality of schooling provision at primary level in inter-state border areas Levels of school participation in different social groups, and the reasons why children were out of school (6-14 years) Levels of irregular attendance in school and the reasons thereof (6-14 years) The study will be particularly watchful to capture factors which are more visible in inter-state border areas, such as language issues.


The study will be conducted in two main phases. The first phase will give an overview of access and quality of primary schooling in selected border area blocks of the districts chosen for the research, and which we will be able to place in the context of the development in the villages surveyed. In the second phase we focus on three villages in one block where NEG-FIRE partners are working, for more in-depth research. This phase is intended to capture the extent of school participation among different social groups, and the divergence between enrolment and regular attendance in school. Reasons for irregular attendance and reasons for dropping out will be explored.

The Second Phase of the study was held in Bihar and Jharkhand. The fieldwork was conducted between April and July 2011 in the following districts:
  • Sahibganj District in Jharkhand, in partnership with Abhiyan Sahibganj (
  • The report writing is in process.
Expected outcome of the study

The areas chosen have a common background – they belong to poorly developed parts of the state, are in remote locations, have a high proportion of disadvantaged social groups, face language problems between teachers and students, and struggle with social problems unique to inter-state border areas – consolidating the findings should result in making a report focusing on the impact of these issues on school quality. This should provide important inputs to state level policies and SSA.

It is hoped that this research, in partnership with organizations that have in-depth knowledge of and access to the areas, will make a contribution by putting the spotlight on areas which are nearly off the map for most policy-makers.

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