Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education Institutions in India

Given the diversification of higher education system and the consequent diversity in the student population, this research project aims to explore the diversity and discrimination in the higher education campuses in India. As a result of higher education expansion and enhanced aspiration levels of families cutting across the class and caste boundaries, campuses have now become a diverse social space. As more non-traditional social groups enter into college campuses, homogenous characteristics of college-going population are gradually disappearing. Campuses are now occupied by a wide variety of students belonging to various social, economic, linguistic, gender, regional and physical ability backgrounds. Although it appears to be a positive development, existing research has raised concerns that social divisions and its associated practices, prejudices and values are getting reproduced in higher education campuses.

The research project attempts to understand the nature and forms of diversity in the campuses; and the structures and mechanisms that exist to deal with diversity and discrimination. The project also examines how the opportunity provided by the growing diversity can be better leveraged for inculcating civic and democratic learning and to transform the institutions which are assumed to have a crucial role to play in the contemporary society.  The research will explore the nature and process by which HEI can be transformed to a secular social space where student acquire knowledge and skills to learn, work and live in increasingly diverse and multi-cultural society.

The study adapts a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodology for collection and analysis of information. It involves questionnaire survey among the students, interview with faculty members, institutional leaders, faculty in-charge of various cells/committees and focus group discussions with students belonging to various socio-religious groups and gender.

The study is being implemented in institutions located across six states i.e., Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The institutions are Patna University and Patna College; Zakir Husain Delhi College, New Delhi (affiliated to Delhi University); National Institute of Technology, Surathkal, Karnataka; Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur (affiliated to the University of Calicut), Sree C Achutha Menon Government College, Thrissur (affiliated to the University of Calicut); RTM Nagpur University, Vasant Rao Naik Government Institute of Arts and Social Sciences, Nagpur; Institute of Science, Nagpur; RTM Nagpur University; Jai Narayan PG College, Lucknow;  and Lucknow University. The preparation of the case study reports and national systhesis reports are in progress. 

The project is funded by the ICSSR.

Project Coordinators/ Principal Investigators: Dr. Nidhi S Sabharwal and Dr. Malish C M