Question: Write a short note with Sociological perspective on Right to Education (RTE).

There is a lot of confusion around how to approach such questions.

What do such questions expect from candidates?

  • Ability to apply (smartly) knowledge of both Paper 1 and Paper 2
  • Whether you have developed the insight of a sociologist? As in, can you appreciate events around you from a sociological perspective?
  • Whether you can convey multiple dimensions sociologically within specified word limit?

What NOT to write in such questions

  • Don’t write a GS-like answer. Give sociological touch with concepts and terminologies.
  • Do not bombard your answer with facts and figures.
  • Just because you have read the topic in GS, do not cross the word limit.

How to approach such questions?

  1. Give a brief introduction about the topic, RTE here.
  2. Make use of some terms specific to the topic. For example, School management committees, No detention policy, 25% reservation for weaker sections are some terms related to RTE.
  3. Move on to deal with the topic sociologically. For example:
    1. Free and compulsory education would lead to vertical social mobility of deprived sections.
    2. No entrance test for children and their parents aims at checking inter-generational transfer of inequality.
    3. School management committees would check concentration of power in the hands of elites.
    4. Would check alienation, religious fundamentalism etc.
    5. Empowerment of women, improvement in sex-ratio, decline of patriarchal mindset through gender-neutral education.
    6. Example of Education as an agent of social change.
    7. Cover the functional and conflict perspectives, if any. Do NOT mention the words FUNCTIONAL & CONFLICT in your answers. For example, education of marginalized sections would help mainstream them. Also, awareness generated due to education may lead to clashes between higher and lower sections of society.
    8. Do NOT deliberately put functional and conflict perspectives. They should not look artificially inserted in your answers.
  4. Conclude your answer with the current status of the topic (RTE here), and giving some futuristic ideas. In our example of RTE, we can conclude by mentioning about reports of School management committees not being functional. And, how addressing this issue would democratize public education in India.

You may notice that the underlined words find mention in UPSC Sociology syllabus. Knowledge of syllabus is, therefore, extremely important!

You can take a quiz of UPSC Sociology syllabus by clicking here.

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