Aspirations for Higher Education among Mahadalit Students and Strategies for Overcoming Urban Marginalities in India

Amardeep Kumar *

National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


This paper seeks to understand the aspirations of first-generation learners for higher education and overcoming urban marginalisation in Indian higher education. It also aims to understand how students from the most disadvantaged social group, mahadalit, overcome their marginalities in accessing and obtaining higher education. Access and equity in higher education have been important goals for Indian policymakers and planners. The study, which is qualitative in nature and uses the ethnography method, provides a deep and nuanced understanding of the aspirations for higher education and Strategies for Overcoming Urban Marginalities among the mahadalit students in Bihar, India. Various educational and equalising programs focusing on disadvantaged groups have created aspirations among first-generation and marginalised learners like Mahadalit students. These mahadalit students are also from non-urban backgrounds and come to cities for higher education. In pursuing higher education, these students face social and economic marginality in their villages, schooling, and urban marginality. They use their social networks to find space at the transformative Dr B. R. Ambedkar hostel, which helps them sustain their higher education in the city. The Dr B. R. Ambedkar hostel becomes the site of educational and career aspirations for the mahadalit students in Bihar, India.

Keywords: Aspiration, marginalities, higher education, first generation learners

How to Cite

Kumar, A. (2024). Aspirations for Higher Education among Mahadalit Students and Strategies for Overcoming Urban Marginalities in India. Asian Journal of Education and Social Studies, 50(6), 191–201.


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