The last two decades have witnessed an emergence of Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in India as a significant concern in inter/national policy discourse and initiatives. Incidentally, this period has also been one of liberalization and globalization of the Indian economy. Positioning itself against this backdrop, the volume under review focuses on different facets, forms and zones of educational exclusions in the context of the long evading goal of UEE in India.
The very first chapter by R. Govinda and Madhumita Bandyopadhyay delineates six zones of educational exclusion that pertain to nonenrolment, drop out or irregular attendance at primary or middle stage, and non-transition from primary to middle classes. It provides both an overview of access to elementary education in India by disaggregating national figures and a description of government schemes aimed at inclusion of the hitherto excluded groups. Through quantitative data sets, authors examine various reasons why children of different ages, social groups and geographical locations do not join or continue in school. However, they do not engage with the meaning or implications of the data that categorizes financial constraints, employment of children in non/wage labour, correlation between non-literates and their monthly per capita consumption expenditure and higher percentage of women in rural labour (pp. 38, 42. 50, 61).