ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Education in Mother Tongue

Mother tongue-based multilingual education is a well-established strategy to address the high dropout rates and poor educational performances of schoolchildren in the tribal regions of India. Odisha is one of the pioneering states to have adopted this policy to reduce the dropout rates amongst primary school students. This article reports on a study undertaken in the tribal-dominated district of Sundargarh to generate information on the issues and challenges involved in the implementation of the MTB MLE programme in the district. The study reveals that certain administrative, language and social issues exist at a latent level which the MTB MLE approach has not been able to overcome.

Flawed Child Labour Law Amendment

By institutionalising child labour in family-based occupations under the age of 14 years and permitting the employment of children in many hazardous occupations, India has failed its children.

School Education

The proposed National Policy on Education 2016 has important implications with respect to school education in India. While acknowledging some of its positive features, attention must be focused on objectives of education as espoused in the policy: key amendments suggested in the Right to Education Act, 2009; position and importance of Early Childhood Care and Education and reforms proposed in the curriculum and assessment practices in schools.

India's 'Poverty of Numbers'

The number of "poor" derived by applying price adjustment to an old consumption basket, which is largely what official poverty measures have done, are very different from estimates based on actual consumption baskets that have changed over time. For instance, the share of cereals in household expenditure halved between 1993-94 and 2011-12 in rural areas. In the light of this, we ask if all expenditure would be on food, what percentage of the population would be unable to meet the prescribed calorie requirement? Adding a "minimum" level of expenditure on clothing-bedding-footwear, fuel and light, and conveyance to the "derived" sum of food expenditure provides a second counterfactual. Similarly, the cumulative addition of expenditure on other consumer goods and services provides further counterfactual scenarios.

Education for the Species

Respectable scientific opinion holds that the human species is on the verge of untimely extinction. According to Noam Chomsky, the so-called "least advanced" people are the ones taking the lead in trying to protect all of us from extinction. Informed by their ancient knowledge systems, indigenous populations across the world are resisting the plunder of the planet. However, indigenous knowledge systems are in radical conflict not only with global capitalism but with modern education itself, thus raising the issue of radical choice. The issue goes much beyond the classical domain of the pedagogy of the oppressed.

Muslim Girls in Urdu Medium Schools of Maharashtra

A revolution is underway in the Muslim community with regard to girls' education. A larger number of Muslim girls is now enrolled in schools, than boys. However, education in Urdu medium, which is weakly linked with the state and market, signifi cantly affects aspirations among the girls. A substantial proportion of students from this community is found with "not clear or no aspirations." This may further compromise the socio-economic prospect of the community which is already at the margins.

Contract Teachers in India

The political economy of managing the contract teacher cadre has proved difficult, with protests, strikes, anger and court cases consuming teacher as well as administrative time and resources, while doing little to build stability and effectiveness inside classrooms. Indeed, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh--two of the earliest adopters of contract teachers--have either reversed or significantly modified their policy of hiring teachers on contract. A study conducted in nine states --Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh--examines how widespread is the practice of hiring contract teachers across states; to what extent does the profile of the average contract teacher differ from that of regular teachers; what have been the challenges faced by states in meeting their enrolment goals using contract teachers from a political-economy perspective; and how sustainable is the practice of hiring contract teachers.

Why India Needs JNU

A lifelong associate of Jawaharlal Nehru University reflects on what JNU means to higher education, research, and indeed what it means to the people of India.

Skill Training or Nipping Potential in the Bud?

The introduction of skilling programmes in government schools from the secondary level itself--as part of the Indian government's ambition to make India the "Skill Capital of the World"--will restrict young people, largely from socially underprivileged backgrounds, to low-productivity blue-collar employment in the informal sector. What is needed is not truncated education in the form of vocational training, but quality basic education for all, which will enable young people to compete for employment in the formal economy.

Vicious Cycle of Stigma

“Is a Ragpicker’s Child Likely To Be a Ragpicker?” by Venkatesh Murthy R (EPW, 27 February 2016) reminds me of children of female sex workers in red-light areas. Ragpicking, sex work, and so forth (as parental occupations) are considered a stigma by mainstream ­society. In female sex worker...

Growing Up Hindu and Muslim: How Early Does It Happen?

This study, based on interactions with children in a school in Daryaganj, Delhi, reveals that children very early on show explicit identification and communicated prejudices towards the "other" religion practised in their neighbourhood. This has important implications for educational policy, curricular choices, pedagogy and teacher training. While the present curricular material does not acknowledge cultural identity in childhood, the new National Curriculum Framework suggests that schools engage with children's socialisation at home and in the neighbourhood.

Human Capital or Human Development?

This paper compares human capital theory with the capability approach and lays out the problems with the theory. As a knowledge paradigm for education and development, it finds the theory wanting. However, it has remained the foundation for sectoral work in education and health by international financial institutions. The paper spells out the problems, historically, with World Bank lending in the education sector, some of which follow from human capital theory, while others follow from a broader neoliberal agenda. It concludes by delineating the foundational elements of an alternative knowledge paradigm for ?education for all?, based on the capability approach and its extension.

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