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The Intersection of Caste, Social Exclusion and Educational Opportunity in Rural Punjab

Dr. Tayyaba Tamim, Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Lahore School of Economics

Caste has been a much ignored but salient feature of the social structures in several parts of rural Pakistan. However, there has been little research to understand how this intersects with the perceived educational opportunity for the dominated low castes. This paper reports some key findings emerging from a funded study carried out in collaboration with the World Bank and Lahore School of Economics in two villages located in the South and Centre of Punjab, the largest province in Pakistan. The data was collected through multiple case study design and a qualitative approach.


Social Exclusion, in this paper, is conceptualized within Amartya Sen’s capability approach to human development and is analyzed under the multiple dimensions of social exclusion identified by Whitley (2005). Data from seventy-two household-based individual interviews with low and high caste parents of children of school going age, school heads and focus group interviews, revealed that the caste-based social exclusion, subtly pervasive in socioeconomic and network exclusion refracted into ‘active’ and ‘passive’ (Sen, 2000) forms of institutional exclusion from educational opportunity across temporal and spatial planes. In addition micro-level exclusionary processes within schools were also revealed resulting in the poorest castes self-deselecting themselves out of education because of ‘unfavourable inclusion’ (Sen, 2000) in their own groups.

About the presenter:

Dr Tayyaba Tamim is currently an Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences & the Centre for Research in Economics and Business, Lahore School of Economics, Pakistan. Before that she was Assistant Professor, at Centre of English Language, Aga Khan University. Dr Tamim did her PhD in Education from University of Cambridge, as a fully funded RECOUP scholar and her M Phil from Cambridge University, as a British Council Chevenning scholar. In addition, she has a Masters degree in English Language Teaching from Kinnaird College for Women University and Masters in English Literature from the University of Punjab. She also has a Diploma in ELT from the University of Punjab, Pakistan. She has 18 years of experience of teaching at different levels. Her areas of interest are education, teacher education, languages in education, and language policy with reference to social justice across gender, class and caste. Her work involves the use of capability approach to human development and Pierre Bourdieu’ social critical theory.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 4/03/2014 03:40:00 PM,

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