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  • Writer's pictureLun Jiang

The Caste System and Its Effects On Education

The caste system is a system used by India that ranks people in a social structure through heredity. The caste system puts people in one of 5 castes. The caste dictates the jobs that a person can work and the people that person can marry.

At the top of the caste system is the Brahmins. They are the teachers and priests in India. They make up about 5% of the total population in India. These people are the most educated in India. They study religious texts and teach them to the lower castes.

Right below the Brahmins is the Kshatriyas. In older times, the Kshatriyas were warriors and rulers. Now, they still do their job of defending and government. Brahmins can become public administrators, jobs that maintain law and order, and can also work defense jobs.

Right below them is the Vaishyas and the Shudras. Vaishyas are the middle class of the caste system. They work as merchants, traders, businessmen, etc. Shudras are the lower class and work as menial laborers and service providers. These 4 classes make up the primary caste system, however, there is one more class.

The Dalits are the lowest in the caste system. Some people do not see them as even members of the caste system and see them as below the caste system. They are also known as “untouchables” and perform jobs that no other caste would do.

The caste system affects jobs and marriage and creates a general trend in the financial status of its people. People who are lower in the caste system are poor and live in more rural areas compared to people like Brahmins and Kshatriyas who are wealthier and live in urban areas.

As expected, this also affects the education of children in each of the castes. Brahmins and Kshatriyas would receive the best education whereas Dalits, who make up around 50% of poor children, would receive little to no education. The caste system does not allow for people to move up castes and creates inequality. It does not allow for those in lower castes to be educated and is a loss of knowledge, innovation, and advancement.

This loss of knowledge becomes apparent when looking at literacy rates. Bihar has a large population of Dalits and has a literacy rate of about 50%. Kerala, which has a population of higher caste members, has a population of about 90%. There is a large gap between these two literacy rates, which reveals the large gap between the quality of education that the castes receive.

The caste system limits the education of many children in India and hinders their ability to read and learn. Along with hindering its people, it also hinders the progress of the country. It stops education and prevents people from making a better life for themselves. With an improvement in education for those of lower castes, the country can move forward towards development and progression.

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