English-speaking, well-heeled students dominate NLU admissions

Very few are from rural areas or non-English medium schools

July 17, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 08:08 am IST - Bengaluru

Subject of study:The National Law School of India University in Bengaluru is one of the five law varsities in the country in which a study was conducted.— File Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Subject of study:The National Law School of India University in Bengaluru is one of the five law varsities in the country in which a study was conducted.— File Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Is public perception of the prestigious national law universities (NLUs) being elite institutions right? If a survey conducted on the student demographic of five NLUs is anything to go by, the answer could be in the affirmative.

Admitting to a lack of diversity, the findings of the survey, cited in the new scholarship policy preamble of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), acknowledges that the law schools comprise students mostly educated in English-medium schools from middleclass or upper-middleclass families. The study was conducted by the charitable trust ‘Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access’.

“The number of students from rural areas, small towns or non-English medium schools is deplorably low. Apart from this, the composition also suffers from under-representation from the economically and socially backward classes, minority religious groups, minority ethnicities, disabled category, etc.,” says the study done of the students who joined in 2013.

Of the students who secured admission into the top five NLUs (NLSIU-Bengaluru, NLU-Jodhpur, Nalsar University of Law-Hyderabad, WB National University of Juridical Sciences- Kolkata and NLU Delhi) in the country, only five had studied in vernacular medium schools, according to the study. While over 50 per cent of the students were from families whose average monthly income exceeded Rs. 1 lakh, both parents spoke in fluent English in over 70 per cent of the students’ families.

Significantly, almost 87 per cent of the students had received expensive coaching to clear the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), which may cost a whopping Rs. 1 lakh for two-year training at some leading coaching centres.

Further, the survey points to under-representation of the regional minorities and certain geographical areas. “Despite Muslims constituting 12 per cent of India’s population, they constitute only one per cent of the total NLU student population,” the preamble says, drawing from the survey, also adding that there were seven students from Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram, but none from Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim or Tripura. At the other end of the spectrum, there is a significant participation from States such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka with over 36 per cent of students coming from there.

The study was conducted by a trust called ‘Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access’

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