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Industry and Inferiority in School Children Enrolled through Quota for Weaker Sections and Disadvantaged Groups: An Eriksonian Perspective

Priyanka Padhy

A significant milestone in the landscape of Education in India was arrived at with the coming of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (Ministry of Law and Justice, 2009). One of the highly debated provisions of the act has been that unaided private schools shall admit in class 1, to the extent of at least 25% of the strength of that class, children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group and provide free and compulsory elementary education.

While it was hoped that the act would lead to radical transformation in the Indian school system and become an effective instrument for any child to demand their basic entitlement, it has been recognised that it is not sufficient to allow access. The implementation of the act will be considered truly successful only if it addresses the issue of making children of marginalised communities 'visible' within classrooms.

This study is a qualitative exploration of the experiences of 8 children enrolled under the EWS quota in private unaided schools of Delhi NCR. Using a phenomenological approach, the interview data has been thematically analysed in the light of the stage of Industry versus Inferiority as outlined by Erik Erikson's psychosocial approach to identity development. The study reveals complex layers of experiences, some facilitative and some detrimental, indicating the need for careful planning and monitoring of implementation, as well as stronger teacher preparation for the creation of truly inclusive climate in schools.

RTE, inclusion, identity development, EWS quota, education
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