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

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Burqa: More than a Symbol

The logic of “Burqa Battles” (Editorial, 7 August) revolves around the following point: “Since there is no public ban on wearing other religious symbols like the Islamic or Jewish cap, the cross or rosary, it is unclear as to how and why the burqa alone is weakening French secularism.” I feel the...

Culture, State and Girls: An Educational Perspective

This paper attempts to examine the childhood and education of girls in India in the context of their socialisation in the family and the historical evolution of the State's capacity to deal with gender issues. The customs and rituals under which girls are brought up and gendered into womanhood constitute a regime which is incompatible with the normative view of childhood implicit in child-centred policies of education.The evolution of the Indian state under colonialism has made it structurally predisposed towards the maintenance of patriarchy. Education can hardly be expected to interfere with gender asymmetry unless it is epistemologically reconceptualised with the help of a collective academic enterprise involving several different disciplines.

What Is Missing in Girls' Empowerment?

Addressing gender disparity in education goes beyond increasing the presence of girls in school. It involves the removal of deep mental blocks that bind them to limited traditional roles. This article, while discussing the functioning of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya highlights the problems impeding girls' overall development. If the KGBV is to be given a second chance for mainstreaming rural girls belonging to deprived social backgrounds, it needs to set right certain shortcomings.

Partners in Education?

Public-Private Partnership in school education is projected as a strategy to distribute the ownership of institutions, rather than tasks within institutions, between private entrepreneurs and NGOS on the one hand, and the government or state on the other. While the rationale for PPP is inefficiency of the government, the means offered to overcome it actually promise no relief or improvement. PPP is not an idea, but rather an ideology which promotes privatisation as a means of reducing the government's responsibility to increase the number of schools.

Childhood in a Globalising World

The acceptance of childhood as a protected and privileged period of life was simultaneous to the rise of the modern welfare state, and predates by several decades the discourse of globalisation. However, the ubiquitous tools of globalisation, such as the internet and tourism have currently induced a weakening of the welfare state and a dissolution of earlier existing "protective" barriers wherein the teacher and the learning system mediated between the child and the outer world. The more far-reaching effects of globalisation such as the implicit changes seen in work-patterns, child-rearing practices and the very notion of family itself, and in turn, the very impact of such changes on childhood, have yet to be systematically studied.

Burden of Exams

Recent debates on examination reform will achieve little in the coming years unless sustained by political will and assistance from civil society. The latter is at best minimal because civil society's grievances against the exam system are 'seasonal' and minor in nature; it is still to perceive that the present system of education and examination itself is a major hindrance for child development.

Judicial Ambivalence and New Politics of Education

Recent judicial verdicts on the question of the state's relationship with private enterprise in education suggest a push towards egalitarian redistribution of educational opportunities under overall state guidance. Whether the Constitution was intended to be adequately equipped to control privatisation in education or to promote is a moot question. However, the judicial decoding of the Constitution's intent in this regard has seemingly changed direction in the last two decades. The view that private control promises quality, that appears to have the apex court's concurrence, is helping to sustain an ethos of sharpening social divisions and inequalities, where private interests can boldly advance and the state withdraws.

Winning Values

The National Curriculum Framework is not merely about curriculum renewal. It marks, and it has occasioned, a serious shift in educational policy and the process of formulating national programme of education through which the role of the states has been reduced to a minimum. The euphoric response of the central government to the Supreme Court verdict is an indication of the importance that it places on establishing this new process as well as the curriculum.

Opening a Window, Just

I ndia’s Newspaper Revolution: Capitalism, Politics and the Indian Language Press, 1977-99 , by Robin Jeffrey; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2000; pp xviii + 234, Rs 545

Education Reforms: Inspired Incompetence

Professional ethics and standards are irrelevant for a dispensation concerned only with the instrumentality of education as a means of social control and ideological propagation. Why the system proved so weak and vulnerable to this kind of summary manipulation is a question that reflects on the character of the Indian state's encounter with modernity.

Colonial Modernity

Lessons from Schools by Nita Kumar; Sage, New Delhi, 2000; pp 232, Rs 200. Constructing Post-Colonial India by Sanjay Srivastava; Routledge, London, 1998; pp 257.

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