Education And Social Inclusion Challenges Of Diversity
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Vol VII, No.1


Aju Kurian, Anushree Jiten Roy, Ganga Parajuli Tirkey, Rochelle Ann Lepcha






The third phase of the Intercontinental Seminar organized by the Salesian University Institutions and hosted at Sonada, Darjeeling, India, on the general theme Education and Social Inclusion upon the specifically Asian aspect of cultural diversity. Diversity is regarded as an Indian cultural heritage embodying the vast diversity of the Asian continent in a uniquely Indian way represented in the adage ‘Unity in Diversity’. While there is an overall Indian Culture to which diverse peoples do subscribe, it does not negate or discount the vast linguistic, religious, regional and cultural diversity inbuilt within the Indian sub continental reality.

The issue of inclusion therefore becomes on the one hand a matter of necessary assertion by those at the periphery. This desire for assertion can be seen as arising from a here-to-unachieved integration of peoples into the mainstream. Therefore, even the demand for recognition and even autonomy need not necessarily be an evil as it only emphasizes the inherent democratic processes at work. In the case of tribal/indigenous peoples while the exclusion may be seen as the outcome of the demand and expression of their rights to preservation of unique traditional life styles, in the case of Dalits it inevitably is an issue that needs redress for the prolonged periods of exclusion of a group from privileges to education, job opportunities and ritual participation.

In a society that has had a very long history of stratification and the colonial additions and exaggerations of these tradition bound discriminations, the attempts to redress it by means of development has over the years not fully borne its fruits. Therefore the urgent need to look at alternatives; and therein, inclusive education offers scope for a future course of action.

The papers presented at the seminar engaged with the question of social inclusion from the diverse regional, linguistic, religious and cultural perspectives so as to get a fuller picture of how society can be bettered and where the immediate action is required. A selection from among the papers is included in two parts – Euro-American and Indian – in this volume of the Journal. This issue thereby acknowledges the commitment of Salesian Higher Education Network to bring together the researchers taking on the challenges and responses from different cultural contexts addressing the issue of education and social inclusion.

I. Diversity Education in Euro-America

  • Social Exclusion & Violence in Guatemala & EL Salvador:  Education for a Culture of Peace
    Mario Olmos 01
  • Taking Inclusion Seriously: Towards an Ethics of Person Centered Growth
    Ronaldo Zacharias 26
  • Bolivia: Language Recognition and Social Inclusion
    Willy W. Chambi 38
  • Cultural Diversity & Education in Spain: The European Context
    Sabino de Juan Lopez & Particia Revuelta Medivilla 49
  • Social Inclusion and Diversity in Education: The Salesian Experience in Italy
    Renzo Barduca 77

II. Inclusion and Diversity in India

  • Social Exclusion of Females in Education: Evidence from Nyishi Tribe, Arunachal Pradesh
    Mihin Lali, Mibo Pertin, Philip Modi 89
  • Social Inclusion through Education for Children in Street Habitat
    Chempakathinal J. George 99
  • Mainstreaming SC/ ST Youth – Role of Youth Groups
    J. Henry Rozario 116


Mario Olmos

During the Spanish colonial period Central America was a region where people from different continents and cultures converged and were mixed. This paper seeks to show, based on historical and sociological analysis, the multicultural and multiethnic origin of two of the current Central American Republics –Guatemala and El Salvador- and the problems deriving from the building up of a new state that, at the time of independence from Spain, didn’t include the different cultures and ethnic groups that were present in the region. Exclusion of these human groups in the new social and political structure is a factor that helps to explain the phenomena of social inequality and violence that have characterized the region since the second half of last century to the present, and that today, require a new proposal for social integration to which education is called to contribute. The analysis highlights the need to build a new relationship between the various groups based on the concept of education for a culture of peace.


Ronaldo Zacharias

In our educative effort we need to propose high ideals. But we cannot do this without taking into account the fact that we are proposing ideals to people who often can do nothing more than appreciate their value, meaning and importance, but cannot live them. What can we do to assist these people in their effort to live responsibly and build meaningful relationships, assuming as ethically significant what is possible rather than what is desirable? This paper explores the answer to this question through the lens of sexual education within the framework of an ethics of growth. This article endeavors to shed light on the subject at hand in order to offer those who are involved in the education of youth with resources that can assist them in the difficult and delicate task of proposing ideals to young people and, at the same time, do so with a truly missionary spirit.


Willy W. Chambi

The cultural variety of Bolivian cultural heritage was not officially recognized for a great period of time; therefore, until 2009, education in Bolivia was delivered only in Castilian; indigenous and native people had to get rid or hide their mother tongue if they wanted to acquire education or avoid being discriminated against. This particularity created an environment of discrimination and sentiments of contempt towards native languages. Nowadays, however, the new Political Constitution of Bolivia and its Educational bill recognize and promote native languages as a language of instruction along with Castilian and a foreign language, though with huge challenges to achieve the ideal. This article highlights the importance to native languages and educating the pupils in the same language in order to make them aware of the richness of heritage and tradition. It also argues that educating in native languages gives respectability to the particular language.


Sabino de Juan López
Patricia Revuelta Mediavilla

The objective of the present communication is to make an exposition of social and cultural diversity, its manifestations and forms to be approached in relation to all the society and, particularly to education. The reflection is from a descriptive perspective and with specific reference, to European country, Spain. The method used is as follows: first, an exposition is made of the different forms of the social and cultural diversity in Spain. Secondly, various models of living together, ‘native’ and ‘foreign’ are described. Finally, a different model for understanding the diversity in the Spanish educational system is explained.


Renzo Barduca

The paper is an effort to explain “social inclusion” in the Italian panorama, and the work being carried out by the Salesian Congregation in Italy towards inclusion or social integration. It describes some of the best practices for social inclusion that the Salesians are executing in Italy. The goal of this article is not to describe patterns that cannot be compared or exported, but to contribute in realizing that the heart and passion of Don Bosco, today, continues to be present through his charisma in every part of the world, in Italy as in India: the procedures and forms are different, the dynamics and motivations are the same.


Mihin Lali, Mibo Pertin, Philip Modi

Socially inclusive society may be perceived as the one where all the people feel valued, their differences are respected, their basic needs are met and they live in dignity. Perhaps, social inclusion of female in education is one of the most important components of the whole philosophy of ‘social inclusion’. Further, social inclusion of female in education in the tribal world is of special significance which can never be overlooked. In tribal societies, by recognizing and addressing discrimination against girls and women, the success in the fight against all forms of discrimination like that of colour, class, race, ethnicity and age will become more likely, and more lasting, because, the entire society develops when female members become reasonably educated and productive. Social exclusion robs the female members of their power to make decisions, to receive proper health care and education, to earn a living and to voice against exploitations in many forms and at different levels. Basically, promotion of social inclusion of female in education among Nyishi community of the Doimukh circle of Arunachal Pradesh is seen as an encouragement to greater socio-economic prosperity. In this paper, an attempt has been made to study need of social inclusion of female in the field of education in the Doimukh Circle. It also studies the present position of female education and nature of spending made on them among the Nyishi Tribe of Doimukh Circle. Finally, it offers constructive suggestions to intensify social inclusion of female in education in the study area.


George Chempakathinal

The article intents to explain the way ‘street children’ who form a society of their own with its own peculiarities get groomed to social life that is acceptable and responsible. Extreme exclusion feelings expressed by children and the consequences of exclusion which lead them to further exclusion has been observed. However, an educative presence of an educator can lead them to inclusion. The survival skills that they learn in street situation can help them in their mainstream life. The transformation process is the result of the educative presence spelt out by St. John Bosco an educator of the nineteenth century who revolutionised the field of education through the preventive system based on reason, religion and loving kindness. The descriptions of marginalisation in street situations are based on an ethnographic study. The study has been done by accompanying ‘children in street habitat’ for 15 years and ‘upper class mainstream children’ for 10 years as an educator.


J. Henry Rozario

The World Summit for Social Development, held in March 1995, established the concept of social integration to create an inclusive society, “a society for all”, as one of the key goals of social development. In India, social exclusion still persists in different forms and exclusion takes place on the basis of identities like caste, religion and gender. One of the effective ways of bringing in social inclusion will be to channelize the abundant youth power. The major objectives of the study were whether youth are aware of the aspects of social exclusion and if so what do they think about the role of youth groups in the mainstreaming of the excluded youth with specific reference to SC/ST youth. The summary of the findings shared by the groups are presented under two headings – role of youth groups by direct action and role of youth groups by advocacy. As far as direct actions are concerned, youth emphasized on the following actions – strengthening member commitment, training second line leaders, creating awareness about social exclusion, enabling people to gain access to their rights and also to government schemes and programmes, and doing all these things without creating tensions that could turn out to be violent. As far as advocacy is concerned, youth emphasized on lobbying for changes at the system level, policy level, resorting to pressure tactics, accepting the guidance and support from civil societies on networking skills and political lobbying, relentlessly working towards changes in the education system, legal system and work towards social, political and cultural empowerment in addition to material prosperity.


John Borg

The importance of higher education for the rural particularly the disadvantaged youth is stressed much. While most of the educational institutions are becoming commercial, very few are continuously striving to create better educational environments for the rural youth. This explorative study is based on BICS InfoTech in Tamil which provides IT education for the rural youth. The factors that influenced development of the students is studied based on survey analysis. Further, the motivation factors towards achievement are compared with the conventional understanding. The study reveals that the motivation factors are distinct for the rural settings and special focus must be given to set environments that will rightly address the blind spots of rural upbringing.


Perry Devanesan

Cultural diversity is “…having a heart and a mind that acknowledges, accepts, values and even celebrates the various ways that people live and interact in the world.”1 Culture may be a singular concept but a plural reality including cultures and sub-cultures. This cultural diversity simply refers to the diverse forms of culture or cultural differences prevalent all over the world. However, man has the unique capacity to convert the diversity and differences into some sort of stratification and hierarchy of high and low; superior and inferior; dominant and subordinate; mainstream and subaltern; great and little and pure and impure. Be it gender, language, race, caste, class, creed, colour, livelihood or any other form of diversity, man has the penchant for converting them into a hierarchical structure, institutionalize them and get them integrated into a culture and be enslaved to the same. What is supposed to be enlightening and enriching is perceived and presented as discriminating and dividing. This paper is an attempt to study whether and to what extent higher education as it is practiced today, is positioned to challenge these discriminations by being inclusive or reproduces them by being exclusive. Based on a micro level study conducted among college students in Tiruchirapalli, a city situated at the heart of Tamil Nadu, the paper highlights some of the emerging trends that indicate both the inclusive as well as the exclusive dimensions of higher education in India today focusing on dimensions such as gender, community, native place, mother tongue and parent’s educational and economic status. Though a micro level study, some of its conclusions reflect the macro level scenario. Drawing inferences and reflections from the study the paper proposes that besides posing a challenge, cultural diversity holds out a great opportunity for initiating a healthy and holistic education that would be inclusive, liberating and humanizing.


Kasturi Ghosh

This paper briefly discusses disability as a social construct, tracing the portrayal and treatment of disability in the social, cultural and popular context in India; and how that kind of treatment dehumanizes, robs differently-abled individuals of confidence and self esteem, and pushes them to the margins. Drawing examples of the same from a very democratic and the favourite Indian medium, the film, where they are mostly viewed through a stereotypical lens, while only rarely seen as truly ‘differently-abled’: by not dwelling upon and othering them by their challenges from an ableist perspective, but identifying their special abilities and including them into the mainstream. Followed by a study of three such characters from commercial Indian cinema with linguistic challenge, motor and learning disorders, in order to identify how their stories not only upset the binaries of able and disable, but obliterate the boundary altogether by aiding in the exposure of this socially constructed myth before the Indian audience. When the ableist point of view is removed these individuals look no different from their so called “able-bodied” counterparts. Concluding that through education and awareness of the masses, and disability mainstreaming a more inclusive society may be established.

Peter Lepcha

Beyond Inclusion: The Practice of Equal Access in Indian Higher Education edited by Satish Deshpande and Usha Zacharias, New Delhi, Routledge, 2013; 356 pages, `415 (hardback) ISBN 978-0-415-83207-6.

The editors of Beyond Inclusion are Satish Deshpande and Usha Zacharias. Former is a Professor and the Head of the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. Usha Zacharias is the Associate Professor of Communication, Westfield State College, Massachusetts. This book compiles ten scholarly articles written by academicians and scholars in the field. This compilation gives a vivid account of the engagement of higher education in India by providing first-hand accounts, experiences and research by those involved in the implementation and evaluation of the inclusion programmes necessitated by the new ‘Pathways to Higher Education.’ In this regard, the articles scrutinise the inclusion policies and attempts by the agencies of higher education in India to bring in the marginalised and the question of reservation quotas is assessed and commented upon. As diverse are the needs of higher education in India, this book points out the challenges of inclusion especially diversity in terms of gender, caste, economy and religion. The question of social justice and higher education is the theme that runs through all the chapters of Beyond Inclusion.

The introduction of the book orients the readers to look at the two main features that more or less form the overall perspective of the book and they are the policies being put to practice and the commitment to look and to think beyond formal inclusion, justifying thus the title Beyond Inclusion. The book contains four broad thematic divisions where the first part contains two essays on the history and philosophy of policies of inclusion in higher education in India. Second part explains about the practical models of inclusion in medicine and engineering education in India. Part three of the book assesses the question of reservation category, its angsts, issues and prospects. The last part details the innovative efforts to bring in more accessibility to inclusion where maximum beneficiaries of higher education can partake in education.

The opening chapter discusses in detail about the ‘Caste Quotas and Formal Inclusion in Indian Higher Education’, where Satish Deshpande contours his claim about the historical grounding of the caste quotas and formal inclusion, its successes and problems. The Second chapter is titled ‘The Polarity between the “Few and the Many’’ in Indian Higher Education’. Mrinalini Sebastian explores the historical and conceptual frame work of the agenda of inclusion from the colonial times where the beneficiaries were ‘few’ to the arrival of the state to embrace the slogan, ‘education for all.’ GN Devi traces explores the ‘Affirmative Action in Three Dream Institutions’ – in Gujarat and Maharashtra , highlighting their educational vision and philosophy, their expansion and growth.. Similarly, the following chapter scrutinises medical education in Maharashtra where Vandana Dandekar presents an empirical study of institutions providing detailed comparison between ‘reserved’ and ‘general’ categories of student population who avail higher education in the institutions under review. Chapter five focuses on the engineering education in the state of Punjab and is titled as ‘Bridging the Urban-Rural Gap: Experiments in Engineering Education in Punjab.’

Salesian College, Sonada was accredited by NAAC on 16 September 2004 and was given the Grade C++ (Institutional Score between 65-70%). On 26 February 2010 Salesian College has been conferred the status of a College with Potential for Excellence (CPE) by UGC, New Delhi, and into its 2nd Cycle from 1st April 2014. In March 2012, the College was re-accredited by NAAC with ‘A’ Grade (CGPA of 3.16 out of 4) to be the first College to receive such grade under the University of North Bengal.
The College retained its A Grade under the New stringent Format of Accreditation in May 2019 and it is valid till 2024.
Salesian Publications, Salesian Research Institute, and Salesian Translation Centre offer opportunities for capacity building for aspiring teaching and research personnel of the region. Salesian College Extension Activities Centre has trained and placed over 600 youth of the region in collaboration with the Ministry of Rural Development and Don Bosco Tech, New Delhi. Salesian College invites young people and their parents to partner in nurturing an ideal society.