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

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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...

Mourning for the Teacher

Behind the opulence of institutions and the grandstanding of politicians towards teachers lies the real truth—they are among the most undervalued professionals in India.

Stated and Unstated Aims of NCERT Social Science Textbooks

Social science textbooks are not and cannot be objective or unbiased. What is included and what is excluded in a textbook indicates the ideology and the aims of the textbooks, whether the aims are stated or unstated. The questions are: Which ideology? Which aims? Some excerpts from the present NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) textbooks indicate unstated aims of facilitating students' conformation and integration into the present social system. This is indicated by the use--and absence--of terms and concepts such as "capitalism" in these textbooks. Apparently the unstated aim is that if capitalism remains un-understood and unanalysed, it may not be questioned, and students will not realise that there is any alternative to capitalism. In the present circumstances, what can a textbook maker who stands on the left do?

Marriage, Work and Education among Domestic Workers in Kolkata

This paper analyses the findings of a research project undertaken by the School of Women's Studies, Jadavpur University on questions of marriage and related issues in the context of paid domestic work among the working women from two squatter colonies in Kolkata. The respondents are seen to be caught between the imperatives of early marriage and girlhood employment, but they insist upon the value of education for their daughters. Many of them have experienced and suffered early marriage and childbirth and are vehement in their rejection of such a trajectory for their daughters, even though not all of them are able to carry through such decisions. Parents from urban working-class neighbourhoods are not obsessed with sexual chastity of their daughters; they accept courtships and elopements, sometimes hailing the latter with some relief. What these mothers share with their middle class counterparts is an interest in tremendous investment in their children's education, which is in both cases accompanied by great expectations for the future.

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.

Freire and Experiments in Conscientisation in a Bangladesh Village

In the 1970s most NGOs in developing countries adopted Freire's model of conscientisation to help the poor take up group action against forces resisting their development. In the late 1980s, however, this approach was discarded in favour of a micro-finance based growth-oriented one. This paper discusses BRAC, an NGO that continued its work amongst the poor, adopting Freire's conscientisation model with some modifications.

Elementary Mathematics

This article discusses the nature of the difficulty in learning and teaching elementary mathematics from the viewpoint of the psychology of learning, focusing on some key topics such as number operation and algebra and how children learn these concepts. The paper also seeks to examine the reasons why many topics in school mathematics seem difficult and to make the point that what is difficult can still be taught and learnt. What is required is often the coordination of a culturally developed sign system with an intuitive base. This coordination is a process that happens naturally and spontaneously if children are given opportunities and situations they find motivating.

Economic Growth and Social Security

Social and Economic Security in India, edited by S Mahendra Dev, Piush Antony, V Gayathri and R P Mamgain; Institute for Human Development, 2001; pp 523, Rs 750 (HB)

Tedium of Schooling

Social Implications of Schooling: Knowledge, Pedagogy and Consciousness by Avijith Pathak; Rainbow Publishers, New Delhi, 2002; pp 260, hardback Rs 325

Understanding Madrasas

The modern madrasas established during colonial times aimed to guard the private sphere of Muslims from modernist intrusions and within the private sphere they engaged in hegemonic representation of the Muslim masses. Contemporary madrasas continue to use the colonial dichotomy of public and private spheres to resist state intrusions in their pursuit of a particular kind of religious education. Introducing modern education in madrasas would defeat their very purpose.

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