The Elusive Island of Excellence - A Study on Student Demographics, Accessibility and Inclusivity at National Law School 2015-16
168 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2016 Last revised: 12 Apr 2018
Date Written: May 30, 2016
National Law School of India University set up by Dr. Madhava Menon in eighties, transformed the legal education in the country. Very soon, five-year integrated law course became the preferred option amongst students and National Law Universities (NLUs) now numbering eighteen, sprouted across the country. These autonomous law institutes are unique in their character and are different from traditional universities. One such characteristic is their low student intake, giving them an air of exclusivity. Former Prime Minister went to the extent of describing them as "Islands of excellence in vast ocean of institutionalised mediocrity".
NLS by all popular parameters, is considered to be the premier law institute of the country. This feeling of belonging to an elite institution and an aura of exclusivity, prompted this study to assess student demographics to be undertaken. NLS Diversity Census 2015 covered 97.9% of the student body, tabulating data relating to socio-economic background and performance & participation at NLS. Using this data as the basis, supplemented with several rounds of interviews and specialised surveys - this report has been compiled, which looks at the correlations between background factors and performance at NLS.
The Report is divided into two parts. The first part looks at and tries to answer the question of accessibility, ie, who is likely to get admitted into NLS? The second half analyses and tries to assess influence of one's background upon performance and participation within NLS, and impact on one's future plans. Evaluating the existing support systems and structures-how they are currently and also how they once were, the Report concludes by making suggestions on how to make National Law School even more democratic institution where all can excel, equitably.
Keywords: Accessibility, Inclusivity, Demographics, National Law School of India University, Legal Education, Higher Education in India, Caste, Reservation, Privilege, IDIA
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