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Accepted Contribution:

Identity, Community, and Access to Education: A Reflexive Study of Identity-based Preparatory Institutions in India  
Priya Singh (Indian Institute for Human Settlements) Vikas John (Indian Institute for Human Settlements)

Contribution short abstract:

The paper explores how preparatory institutions based on identity and community help disadvantaged students access higher education in India. We use qualitative methods to understand their experiences, practices, and identities. We also discuss our role as researchers and allies.

Contribution long abstract:

Literature establishes that educational participation is socially determined (Chanana, 1993; Filmer et. al.,1998; Hasan and Mehta, 2006). Our paper explores how identity and community-based preparatory institutions facilitate higher education access for students from marginalised backgrounds – along class and caste lines. These institutions have been overlooked(Stevenson and Baker, 1992; Bray, 1999) despite being part of India’s higher education sector. They can also worsen social inequalities by serving only those who can afford them(Majumdar, 2014). However, some of these institutions have enabled access for students with fewer resources and from marginalised groups, by leveraging their community and identity ties. The study proposes to examine how such select preparatory spaces shape its students’ experiences, and everyday emergent practices, and how such practice intersects with identity negotiations.

In our presentation, we especially focus on the methodological imperatives that allow us to enable an emancipatory practice of research intervention. In particular, we look at emergent challenges of site access and the use of methods like narrative storytelling. In doing so we will raise provocations and provide insights into the role of researchers, and the process of co-production of knowledge, as evidenced through our interactions with stakeholders in our field sites. Further, we will provide recommendations for higher education spaces both at the level of a phenomenon like equitable access to higher education and contribute to the overall conceptual understanding of epistemic justice. We also reflect on our role as researchers and responsible allies to these groups, and how we can share their stories authentically.

Workshop PE02
Community knowledge in academic research: in pursuit of epistemic justice
  Session 2 Thursday 27 June, 2024, -