Centre for Distance and Online Education

International Seminar

International Seminar


"Public Policies and Empowerment of Marginalized Section of the Society"

(ICSSR Sponsored)

Organized By

 Centre for Distance Education

Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, 202002 (India)

 (4-5 December, 2013)

Seminar Background:

 Marginalization refers to the continuous process whereby certain groups have been pushed to the fringes of society in political, economic and social spheres. The marginalized voices were suppressed for ages and excluded from meaningful participation in societies across the world. They were exploited, oppressed and highly discriminated against and entangled by manmade institutionalized laws and ideologies detrimental to their well-being. They remained unheard or were heard intermittently or were subdued in the main current of historical reconstruction. In the first phase, early nineteenth century reformers from outside the exploited groups championed their cause, valorized their voices and underlined the problems of the marginalized groups such as women, indigenous minorities, ethnic and racially marginalized groups. In the second phase the victims composed themselves to articulate the traumatic and nightmarish experiences of their lives. In this ?stage of protest?, they disregarded all the institutionalized bodies responsible for the perpetual injustice and atrocities meted out in the past. As the main factors behind marginalization are denial of access to power and vulnerability to social exclusion, democratic politics and imperatives of social justice demand policies and laws that empower the marginalized communities and provide affirmative measures to their cause.

Empowering the Marginalized reveals the power of demand-side approaches in enhancing governance through the concepts of citizens? voice, accountability, and responsiveness. It seeks to provide lessons on the establishment of social accountability mechanisms, thereby empowering the marginalized, who represent a majority of society not only in Asian countries, but in most developing countries worldwide. In the context of what has been said above it may be asserted, that the current discourse of "Empowerment of the Marginalized" has to propose some study or critique of the earlier discourses of class struggle, caste conflict, tribal-non-tribal conflict and, inter-gender conflict, if it aspires to be positive and significant for the vast majority of our marginalized workers, peasants and women, the sum total of whom literally constitute our mainstream. In societies such as ours, where the entire social field, save a tiny centre, remains marginalized, the idea of "Empowerment of the Marginalized" has to be coextensive with full scale and all pervasive social transformation. This entails religious, educational, social, political and economic changes comparable to, yet surpassing, what have been termed the Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment and, Industrial Revolution in the context of Central and Western Europe. This conference will focus on the multiple problems faced by marginalized groups like caste, tribal, ethnic, gender, racial etc and understand the trajectories of their struggle to overcome social exclusion and join the main stream.

The conference aims to understand the historical and social formations of marginalized groups; social, cultural, religious and political practices of marginalization processes, the different forms of resistance used by the marginalized groups to seek social justice, and the political and public policies & plans implemented by the public administration to empower the marginalized communities. The objective is to raise consciousness about the issues afflicting the marginalized groups. The conference aims to probe into the conditions and factors perpetuating marginalization. It aims to generate an academic debate and discourse to further the goals of emancipation of the marginalized.

   About Centre for Distance Education, AMU, Aligarh:

 The Centre for Distance Education is an integral part of the University and was established in 1988 at the Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.

Centre for Distance Education is an expression of the University's concern and commitment for spread of education in all strata of society and all parts of the country. An interesting observation is that the desire and demand for education exists in many sections but due to the fact that Colleges and Universities cannot accommodate beyond a particular limit, many cannot find admission. There is also a large section of society which is unable to participate in the normal stream of education due to occupational, financial or social constraints. All these persons can get an opportunity to derive the benefits of education through distance education. Adopting flexible and innovative methods of education to ensure independent learning to anyone, anytime and anywhere, the Centre offers programmes of the study that are customized to meet the learning requirements of knowledge seekers as well as to ensure that they learn at their own pace and convenience. Within the financial means of University, due care has been taken to keep the cost of education low so that educationally backward sections can take advantage of University's programmes. Centre for Distance Education has a special commitment to the cause of Women's education, particularly of the minority community, among those who are educationally and economically deprived section.