The scheduled casts and scheduled tribes are the historically deprived sections of Indian society. Nowadays Scheduled casts are also referred to as Dalits. According to the census of 2001 the Scheduled Casts are 16.6% and Scheduled tribes are 8.6% in India. Total 1,108 casts and 744 tribes’ s are included in the First Schedule in the 1950 order of the Indian Constitution.
Since independence the Scheduled casts and scheduled tribes were given reservation for their holistic development. The Scheduled casts and Scheduled tribes have been lagging behind in all walks of life including education, employment and standard of living. It has been noticed that the reservation being given to the Scheduled casts and Scheduled tribes has actually helped them in elevating their standards.
It has been reported that the crude rate of literacy in Scheduled casts has increased from 10.27% in 1961 to 45.20% in 2001 registering a growth of 34.9% points in last 40 years. The crude literacy rate of Scheduled tribes was 8.53% in 1961 which increased to 38.41% in 2001 registering a growth of 29.88% points in last 40 years. The main reason for educational backwardness of the SCs/STs is social and economic poverty. The average literacy rate of total males and females of India is 62.24% and 45.14% respectively and the total average rate of literacy is 54.51% if we see the condition of Scheduled casts the literacy rate of their males is 55.10% and of females is 34.62% and the total literacy rate amongst them is 45.20% and amongst scheduled tribes the total literacy rate of their males is 48.23% and of females is 28.36% their crude literacy rate stands at 38.41% of their population.
There has been a significant rise in the literacy rates of both the SCs and STs. It has also been noticed that the dropout rate from class I to V had decreased to 1.3% in SCs and 5.2% in STs. Furthermore, the dropout rate from class I to VIII dropped by 4.6% in SCs and 6.5% in STs. It is reported that about 25% of the ST students had their middle school education in Hindi, 40% of the students had their education in regional languages. The proportion of SCs and STs Learning in their regional languages is more than the general category students, while it is found that the General category students have a higher proportion in institution of English medium. It was also found that the proportion of SCs and STs availing coaching for admissions is much lesser than the general category students. We know that the reservation in Jobs and in education has helped the deprived classes but to bring them to main stream more needs to be done.