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

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Forging a Vocabulary for the Nation: A Feminist Reading of Language Textbooks

As the national identity and the building of national character are the core concerns of education, the documents on educational policy mirror implicitly and explicitly the choices that textbook writers make regarding content. Defining the ideal national character or identity is a matter of political contestation, and so competing visions of nationalism can define the educational curriculum quite differently. In the light of this understanding, this study of textbooks maps how the conceptual triad of nation, education and gender is reflected in textbook content. It explores the historical (and from this, political) context of the languages and how this influences the vision of the nation that particular language textbooks create. It also examines how this historical context is reflected in the physical and emotional landscapes conjured up in the different language textbooks; in the way the other - the Muslim - is constructed.

Gender and Curriculum

Despite its reiterations on equality, fundamental rights and quality education for all, the emphasis of the National Curriculum Framework on Indian tradition and the collapsing of value education and religious education puts on hold the possibility of education emerging as an enabling tool for women's empowerment. The article revisits, briefly, the vision and policy framework of the New Education Policy of 1986 with regard to women's education, analysing the effect of progressive policy rhetoric on the actual writing of school textbooks, particularly those relating to language teaching.
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