Siddiqui, Mohammad Zahid (2017). 'Intergenerational Educational Mobility in Uttar Pradesh (India): Are there any differences across the Caste Groups and how much it effecting Employment and Economic Outcomes?' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Cape Town 2017.
Introduction and Rationale
Educational disparities across the populations have been extensively documented across the world and in India. But, most of the existing studies in India have only analysed educational disparities across the major social groups. The studies that have explored educational disparities, in particularly by sub-caste level are negligible. Caste, a system of graded inequality that divides Indian society into separate horizontally organised groups, is one of the important factors that are affecting the education, employment and economic outcome of the households. Moreover, education also strongly influences the occupation that individuals join or belong to which further determine their economic status. The dominance of Caste in Indian Politics is basically due to continued disparities in education, labour market outcomes and resultant economic conditions.
Studies related to Caste inequalities in education in India till now focused only on four social groups (General Castes, Other Backward Castes (OBCs), Scheduled Castes (SCs, Dalits), and Scheduled Tribes (STs). However, these four Castes are broad categories encompassing and often eclipsing huge inequalities across the sub-castes, called Biradari in the local language. Till now, educational disparities across the sub-castes have not been attempted by researchers in India; basically due to lack of information at Biradari level disaggregation. However, most of the affirmative policies and political struggles in India have been happening at Biradari level e.g. agitations started by Patels in Gujarat, Jats in Haryana, Gujjars in Rajasthan and Kapus in Andhra Pradesh for reservation in education and employment. The Government of India and States do not have the sub-Caste level information to assess their deprivation status and thereby eligibility for affirmative supports. Therefore, policy formulation to address the problem of educational disparities among Castes may require analysis of the subject at Biradari level. That is why we believe that the analysis of educational mobility at Biradari level is important in the policy context.
Previously, Government Commissions (Mandal Commission and Sachar Committee) appointed to measure the socio-economic disparities among Socio-Religion Groups (SRGs) have used existing secondary information that has several limitations. However, the lack of unit level information of sub-castes in Census and other large-scale sample surveys prevents social scientists attempting an analysis of disaggregated Caste wise educational outcomes. Therefore, this study used primary data collected by the author and along with his colleagues when he was at Giri Institute of Development Studies (GIDS) under the project of “Social and Educational Status of OBC and Dalit Muslims” to assess the educational disparities across the generations in six SRGs (Hindu General, Muslims General, Hindu OBC, Muslims OBC, Hindu Dalits and Muslims Dalits) formed based on Caste and Religion affiliation of the households and by sub-caste within these six major socio-religious groups. The survey was conducted from October 2014 to April 2015. It was administered to a state representative sample of 7,195 households located in 14 districts of Uttar Pradesh.
This study currently carriedout bivariate analyses to show educational levels in three generations in the population of 7 years and above in different sub-castes in the state. However, it proposes to do robust econometric analyses to assess the disparities and mobility in the educational levels across the generations by Caste groups. Further, we propose to use a series of multivariate regression models to quantify the adjusted effects of Caste on educational outcomes, education levels on employment outcomes of the individuals, and economic outcomes of their households in the state.
The initial results suggest that there is a noticeable mobility across the different educational levels for all the Caste groups. The disparity was highest in the oldest generations and is reducing for the younger generations. The different Castes, including sub-castes seem to be converging in terms of literacy attainment at the younger and youngest generations. However, disparities persist at the secondary schooling and especially at the level of graduation and above which also include the technical education. For instance, 19 percent of the younger generation Hindu general are attaining the degree of graduation and above, against only 2 to 3 percent of the younger generation Dalits in Hindu and Muslims. This trend remains same even across the generation and averages of all generations together. Passi Dalits (0.3 percent) emerge as the most deprived group in terms of higher education, while other Hindu General (which comprises of mostly Vaishyas of traditional Varna categories) are the most higher educated community with more than 15 percent of them holds graduation and technical degrees.
A preliminary corresponding assessment of occupational segregation and mobility across the same Caste categories over three generations reveals that with changing educational levels, a gradual but steady transformation of occupational pattern manifested in the shift from agrarian to non-agrarian sources of employment. In spite of more than six decades of welfare policies, and major educational mobilisation among lower Castes in the state, our findings suggest that upper Castes are retreating from lower-income occupations, while lower Castes are filling the vacancies left by upper Castes which is affecting their labour market outcomes and is contributing to persisting economic inequalities across Castes.
In spite of more than six decades of welfare policies, and major political mobilisation among lower Castes (traditionally socio-economically disadvantageous group) in the state, our findings suggest huge educational disparities continue to persist across the these groups which affecting their labour market outcomes and contributing to persisting economic inequalities in them. Although educational mobility is universal across the Castes, most of the upper Castes moving to higher education, while lower Castes failed to achieve the same, therefore they fail to enter into the better of jobs in service and business, rather they are moving to unskilled labour and manual jobs under grade "C" category. Upper Castes are retreating from lower-income occupations, while lower Castes from both Hindus and Muslims filling the vacancies left by upper Castes. Thus, we conclude that the ongoing socioeconomic transition in Uttar Pradesh, India leading to more educational and occupation segregation for the time being than previously present, thus it leads to unequal economic outcomes.