ABSTRACT

Disadvantage based on structural location, cultural marginalisation and institutional neglect is one side of the story of educational inequality in India that has received considerable scholarly attention. There is another, however, that is rarely brought centre stage in research and policy discourse. That is of social class and educational advantage. Few would contest that the middle class(es)1 have reaped the major benefits from ‘modern’/formal education in India, if one goes by their predominance in higher education, especially in elite institutions of professional and technical education, and disproportionate representation in ‘high status’ professions. A section of the Indian ‘middle classes’ is emerging in the global arena as a key player in the new economy and especially in sectors such as information technology, medicine, engineering and IT in the USA, UK and other West European countries. Despite their privileged position in education, these social classes have received negligible research attention.