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The Relationship Between Education And Crime

Lack of education is a fundamental problem, it not only marginalizes people but also force them to live in depravity. The person sometimes choose to walk on the criminal path to move out of this depravity. The probability of committing crimes like threat, injury, vandalism and assault etc. is more in case of an uneducated person also the crime rate is generally higher in those areas where lower educated people live.

The discourse of crime cannot be constituted in separation from the discourse of access to education. Many studies on the data of the commission of a crime inadvertently also become the parts of discourse on access to education.

National Crime Record Bureau's Prison Statistics Report - 2019 shows that the number of prison inmates decline with the attainment of higher education. The picture that emerges is 27.37 per cent of jail inmates are illiterate and 41.55 per cent have studied below class 10 level.

These two categories combine account for nearly 69.28 per cent of the prisoners in the country. Around 21.52 per cent inmates studied beyond class 10 but did not succeed in securing a graduation degree and 6.31 prison inmates completed graduation. However, only 1.68 per cent of the prisoners were postgraduates. Hence, lack of education can be seen as a factor which pushes people into crime.

But this does not necessarily mean that with higher educational attainment the people develop any special characteristics which turn them less criminal minded. They are just at a lower risk of becoming an offender. Generally, a reduction in crime can be achieved by more prevention or more repression. Education is potentially a crucial element to prevent individuals from engaging in criminal behaviour.

Literature provides us two explanation for education working as a preventive force on crime. Firstly, it changes the preferences and the argument behind this is that schooling "conveys values by allegedly rewarding diligence, conformity, performance and competition". Secondly, it contributes to a lower time preference and the argument in support of it is that schooling makes a person to postpone direct satisfaction of needs.

Education gives higher time preference for consumption in future as compared to the present and due to it people become more conscious about future consequences of their action- i.e. punishment of their current criminal acts. If higher education leads to higher time preference for consumption in the future this will stop an educated person from indulging in any criminal activity. Also the educated person manages to postpone the direct satisfaction of the needs as it gives less importance to the immediate gratification.

Suppose a graduate person holding a M.B.A degree does any criminal act and spends 7 years of his life in imprisonment now he has not only spend these crucial year of his life but also missed those opportunities which he could have grabbed while working as a manager in any firm.

Generally, the cost of the opportunity so missed is higher in cases of an educated person as compared to that of uneducated ones and this fear works as a resistance in the way of an criminal act done by an educated person. Also, there remains a constant fear in the mind of an educated person that if they found guilty of any offence then along with the future consequences there will also raise a question on their prior education.

The school curriculum is designed in a way that it helps the individual to learn the art of scenario simulation and this helps a person in managing the situations and difficulties of adult life.

Many studies have addressed the relation between education and crime. Tauchen & witte find that the youth who are being paid for their employment or go to school are less likely to engage in any kind of criminal behaviour. Young population indulges in criminal act more than that of aged persons, data suggests that peak age of crime is 18, and keeping the children in school and colleges during this peak time can definitely reduce the crime rate.

Also if the data suggests that the youth's participation in criminal activity is high as compared to people of any other age then the period which an individual spends in school becomes crucial. Pushing children towards school is not sufficient in itself, whether they are getting the required skill and education which will change their perception should also be taken into consideration. Not everyone is privileged enough to afford the expenses of private school to educate their child so the role of government schools become very crucial.

But picture so formed by the data given by Annual Survey of Education Report tells us about ill health of government institutions. It gives the figure that most of the students up to class 8th in the government school of the country are devoid of the skills expected of an average 2nd class student. Beside this, the qualification of the school teacher is also frightening as 31 per cent of the teachers are not even graduate.

Further, there is also lack of infrastructure as 40 per cent of the schools are without electricity. With a aim to advise the government on the development of educational system and to increase the level of education in the country, Indian Education Commission (Kothari Commission) headed by Dr. Daulat Singh Kothari then chairman of University Grants Commission was set up in 1964. The commission submitted its report in 1966 and made some major recommendations to improve the education system.

Suggestion was made that 6 per cent of the GDP should be allocated for education but it never reached this figure and today even after 56 years of the submission of the commission's report we are spending just 3 per cent of our GDP. In 2009, Right to Education Act (RTE) was passed which aims to provide primary education to all children aged 6 to 14 years.

It also has the provisions for a non-admitted child to be admitted to an age appropriate class. However, the major reform introduced by the act was that it made it mandatory for a non-minority private unaided schools to reserve at least 25 per cent of the seats for children from underprivileged or deprived section of the society (economically weaker and disadvantaged backgrounds).

This is probably one of the best reforms we have done since independence but its success rate is not as it was expected, 2/3rd of the seats go empty and only 1/3rd of the seats get filled. The reason for the non-fulfillment of the reserved seats is that the people for whom it has been reserved are not aware of the fact that there is this provision also.

The act assumes that beneficiaries would understand its fine print and get their children admitted to schools on their own but the lack of awareness among the beneficiaries is defeating the purpose of the act. Also the test used to determine someone's eligibility to avail RTE is not universal as there is no such uniformity in the admission test process. Schools design admission test in such a way that if they don't want to take a child under RTE then they would give the test of higher grades to reject student based on performance.

Even after all these barriers someone manages to go to the school then the school doesn't teach them along with others student instead of that they arrange separate classes for students under RTE. class is that they try to make these students able to. compete with the other students but in this process they remained unattended. Hence, we as a society are not able to achieve the objective of the act and are also failing to establish equality.

A country just by making laws more severe cannot prevent the commission of the crime in order to prevent the commission of a crime we should first understand the reasons behind the commission of any crime. As the data mentioned above suggests that crime has a direct connection with the education of a person hence in order to prevent the commission of a crime we should first work towards the education of the individual.

Since literature explains that education works as a preventive force on crime hence we should work towards improving the education system in order to make it more inclusive. Though the RTE act was a good and major reform but it didn't succeed in achieving its objective.

Also it can be made more inclusive by including the primary education of children aged 3-6 years and also by providing higher education to children aged 14-18 years. It is important to make positive vibes around the children but failing education system of our country pushes them to indulge either in doing labour or in committing an criminal offence.

Written By: Mohd. Rehan Ali, second-year student of B.A.LL.B. course at the, Faculty of Law, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh

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