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diversity

19 June 2018

A total of nine students from non-traditional backgrounds supported by the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) initiative have made it to national law schools.

06 June 2017

Exceeding last year’s tally by one, eight Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) scholars from non-traditional backgrounds have made it to national law universities, with one scholar making it to NLU Delhi.

17 November 2016

Arepalli Naga Babu - a former Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) scholar and 2016-graduate of NLU Odisha - has won the right to take a judicial services exam with additional time to compensate for his disability, after initially having been denied to even sit for the exam in the first place.

10 November 2014

HindiThe Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2015 question paper may have Hindi translations of all questions, below their English language versions, reported Times of India.

05 September 2014

Face of legal education: unequalJindal Global Law School (JGLS) Sonepat now has more women in its faculty than men, claiming to be a more gender-equal law school than any other.

11 April 2014

Singapore carrotInternational law firm O’Melveny & Myers (OMM) has committed to select one intern per year from a pool of law students volunteering for the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) initiative.

06 February 2014

Shamnad Basheer The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) initiative, which seeks to encourage law students from non-traditional backgrounds to join national law schools, is looking to move into a next growth phase.

05 June 2013

CLAT complaints Six Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2013 LLB aspirants have alleged mistakes in the allotment list.

09 April 2013

Gearing up for law early 11th-standard students in 200 Indian schools may have “legal studies” as an elective subject option academic year 2013-14 onwards.

06 June 2012

Eager legal eagles all ears in Sikkim11 out of 40 students coached for the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2012 by the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA) free coaching program, made it to six NLUs in the first admission lists this year, including NLSIU Bangalore, NUJS Kolkata and NLU Jodhpur.

The undergraduate educational expenses of four out of the 11 successful IDIA scholars are completely covered by the programme.

13 October 2011

The IDIA diversity initiative’ second national aptitude test (I-NAT) has scaled up to 19 test centres, aiming to reach more than 400 schools across the country to select students from non-traditional backgrounds to take the Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) and enter top national law schools.

16 June 2011

Diversity-Sikkim-class Eleven students out of 50 trained by the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA) program have been selected to join various national law universities (NLUs).

23 March 2011

The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education (IDIA) project is offering free preparation courses for the Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) to 1,000 students with limited financial means across 12 cities.

02 July 2010

Legally India newsletterFor a firm that first made its name as a capital markets boutique, the fact that that S&R Associates did not have an office in India's financial capital was always glaring.

02 July 2010

 

The IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education) project, conceptualised and spearheaded by Prof. Shamnad Basheer (IPR Chair Professor, NUJS) aims to address the concern of NLUs becoming elitist. IDIA endeavours to help students from rural areas, poor backgrounds, vernancular medium schools etc. make it to the top NLUs.

 

That NLUs are becoming elitist was previously an anecdotal speculation. However, results coming from a survey conducted with 87 first year students (batch of 2014) at NUJS prove it to be a fact:

 

ü  97.7% of the students studied in English medium schools.

ü  Schools of 88.51% students were in an urban area.

ü  82.76% of the students took coaching for CLAT.

ü  Only 4.6% of the students have family incomes less than 1 lac rupees pa.

 

The rural-urban/rich-poor divide becomes clearer still: there are no students (0 %) from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J & K or even Punjab while 2% of the students are from Chandigarh alone. Nine students (10.34%) are from Delhi (NCT).

 

Now LST, a leading coaching institution has atleast 4 centers in Delhi and 2 centers in Chandigarh. It is not difficult to see what makes students in cities tick. There is no LST center in Himachal or J & K.  

 

That CLAT is in itself is a pro elititist/english-educated entrance exam is shown in this superlative piece by Prof. Basheer. He argues that a logic reasoning based CLAT with less emphasis on English language, static GK etc. will not only result in better law students but will also ensure a level playing field for all students.

 

Here is the proverbial last straw: 10.34% of the students are from Maharashtra (a very rich/urban state) while none of the students are from Chattisgarh or Orrisa (poor states) [1]. The reasons are not hard to find: the CLAT form at 2500 bucks is expensive, CLAT coaching at 25000 bucks is expensive and the fees at NLUs is very pricey too.

 

Another useful insight: A large number of students are from places where the top NLUs are situated. Their presence seems to have contributed towards increased level of awareness. The division is: Karnatka (NLSIU) 9.2%, Andhra Pradesh (NALSAR) 5.75%, West Bengal (NUJS) 16.09% and Rajasthan (NLUJ) 4.6%.

 

Finally in rural/poor regions of our country, there is a deplorable lack of awareness about law as a career option; NLUs or CLAT are an unheard commodity. Pilot projects in Pelling (Sikkim), Tumkur (Karnatka) and Shanti Bhavan (Tamil Nadu) prove this empirically.

 

The IDIA project wants to change this around.

 

Awareness programs about Law-CLAT-NLUs; identification of students with an aptitude for law and finally establishing tie-ups with coaching institutions to train students free of cost are some of the steps IDIA takes. To those who make it to the top NLUs scholarships, stipends and mentoring too will be provided.

 

We believe that the top-notch education and career opportunities the students will get in NLUs shall ensure grass-root human resource development. It is hoped that once successful the students will invest back in the communities they represent. Also our law schools will nurture more diverse ideas and research.

 

[1] However, 5.75% of the students are from Bihar, 3.45% from Jharkhand. Students from this part of the country have done well in other competitive exams too (IIT-JEE, Civil Services). An interesting case study?

 

 

 

Part II- IDIA: Helping Potted Frogs (Kup Manduka) Thrive in Seas

 

 

KupManduka is the story of ‘the frog in a well/pot’. The frog jumps from wall to wall of the well/pot and feels proud. However, when he finds itself in the sea, he comes to know that frogs in the sea jump much further. He is crestfallen.

 

I take out the element of pride. My frog can jump from one wall to another because of the constrained environment he is in. His vision is limited by the walls and so are his jumps. The body achieves what the mind can conceive. You cannot hit a target which you cannot see.

 

When my frog is thrown into a sea, he finds himself lost. With no one to guide him, he is unable to find his way. The harsh environment and the cut lung competition stifles him. However, when a mentor guides him, the frog thrives.

 



THE FROG OF THE POT

 

Once upon a time a frog

Croaked aloud in an earthy pot.

The croak was of victory for

The dear frog had jumped from one

Corner to another corner

And in the pot there was

A loud, a resounding murmur.

 

A farmer, swarthy dark and strong

Impressed and obviously happy

Took the frog, his pet, his chappy

To a big, blue pond.

 

There the frog jumped;

Jumped forward and ahead

And his confidence took that many steps

………………………………..backwards!

And then the fission of dreams

In the tough, mad competition.

 

But hail Muse! The farmer came,

Touched a vein and knocked his brain

And said aloud “Jump Again”!

 

Though alone, he clapped- resounding claps!

The frog remembered the house and its chaps,

The farmer and his swarthy skin,

The earthy pot under the tin.

 

And hail him! The dreams did fuse.

And fusion does ten times produce-

Energy. Energy to jump far and wide

Which in time proves true and right

So that the frog of the pot

Can be a winner in the pond

And croak aloud, croaks that resound!

 

And those resounding croaks

Shall one day break

The earthy walls; the boundaries laid

And create a space, a boundless space

Where frogs can jump; jumps that astound

And croak aloud, croaks that resound.

 

The IDIA family is growing well with law firms, lawyers, NGOs and law schools coming out in support. Here is the Facebook page to keep you updated. Here is how you can help.

 

PS- Wow! I didn’t even speak of the unaffordable fees at NLUs.

PS 2- Please do follow the blog and join the Facebook page. Also, cartloads of thanks to LegallyIndia for fantastic support to IDIA.

01 July 2010

Diversity-Sikkim-classThe law ministry, law firms Krishnamurthy and Co, Trilegal and Wadia Ghandy, CLAT coaching institute IMS and law schools NLSIU Bangalore and NUALS Cochin have pledged financial or other support for NUJS Kolkata professor Shamnad Basheer's project to increase diversity in the legal profession, which visits poorer rural secondary school students to train and encourage them to apply to top law schools.

31 March 2010

Diversity-Sikkim-classNUJS Kolkata professor Shamnad Basheer has begun a pilot project to increase access to the legal profession to those from poorer backgrounds, seeking to grow it into a mass movement with funding and involvement from lawyers and students across India.

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