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Deputy youth MP Anya Nedungadi: Burst the bubble and open your eyes to inequality

'The inequality between the two types of education still exists and we must raise awareness about it'

19 November, 2021 — By Anya Nedungadi

I AM a 16-year-old, South Asian, Muslim woman living in London: I should have all the social disadvantages in the world, but I don’t.

My financial privilege has shielded me from extensive racism, poverty, school cuts, gang violence, the list goes on.

Yet although that privilege benefited me in many ways, it also shielded me from the reality of the world that I live in.
It shielded me from the reality of inequality within Camden.

My personal shield was lifted when I joined the Camden Youth Council; a political group for students in Camden hoping to make a change. I made friends from all different backgrounds and heard strikingly personal human experiences.

A sister loses her brother to gang violence after he is caught up in the wrong crowd at his local state school.

A struggling student feels like he doesn’t receive the chance to talk to his teacher one on one because of his large class size, so he is falling behind in his class.

A 14-year-old girl doesn’t eat during school holidays because her parents don’t have enough money to feed both her and her younger brother.

Personal hardships such as these are rampant in our society, but I was oblivious to this because I had been trapped in my bubble. This is what segregation and inequality causes: a lack of awareness.

My dream is for segregation in Camden to end. We live in one of the most socio-economically divided boroughs in London, and that impacts every aspect of our young lives.

It impacts the quality of education we receive, the people we meet, our networks, our prospects, and our opportunities.

There is an unfathomable gap between the haves and have nots. Camden is home to some of the richest people in London, but also home to some of the poorest.

We live in an incredibly prosperous place, and everyone should reap the benefits from this.

I believe that the first step to integration and the ending of inequality starts with our inherently unequal school system.

Private schools in Camden receive much more funding than corresponding state schools, and therefore the quality of education and opportunities that students in private schools receive is much better.

This is not to say that our state schools do not provide an amazing education; they do.

However, the inequality between the two types of education still exists and we must raise awareness about it.

We must make friends and connection across these invisible borders. We need the veil to be lifted and integration to occur, so that we can push back against this inequality.

• Anya Nedungadi is one Camden’s two Deputy Youth MPs


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