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

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Knowledge and the Politics of Education

In the wake of our national education policy again preparing for a political right swing, it is important to examine the implications of the Ministry of Human Resource Development's emphasis on ancient knowledge for contemporary education. This article points out that knowledge plays a significant role in shaping the consciousness of individuals and societies. Its legitimising function has been used by status quoist political forces and its liberating potential by people's political struggles. The role of knowledge in contemporary education needs in-depth examination and debate to usher in a system that includes all those who are now marginalised.

The Teacher, Society and the Modern School

A case study of how science is taught in some of the primary schools in Hoshangabad district in Madhya Pradesh reveals that a lack of "cultural capital" does hamper the economically poor students in synchronising with the "education" that is designed in school textbooks and taught by teachers. Middle-class students who are backed by certain cultural capital fare relatively better. Cultural capital informs the relationship between schooling and the family/social structure and also shapes the teacher's role in how she or he negotiates with students from different backgrounds. Differing cultural capital is not reflected either in the nature of textbooks or in the nature of the teachers' training. This reveals how the question of accessibility to education cannot be limited to access to infrastructure but also includes access to knowledge.

Communalisation of Education

In the late 1990s and the early years of this decade, communalisation was making visible inroads into school education. The National Curriculum Framework, 2005 and textbooks based on this, like that in Kerala, shifted the focus to "child centredness" as the core concern of school education. Did this shift in focus help to address and grapple with the issue of communalisation of education?

Experience and Science in Geography Education

By examining geography textbooks and students' responses, an attempt is made here to substantiate a problematic of science education. The decontextualised nature of science education contradicts everyday life experiences. This situation does not enhance a dialectic relationship between science and experience. It is argued that cognition by itself cannot address the issue of science "enculturation"; instead, it needs to be addressed through some essential relationships of science. These include relations between common observations and reflections beyond appearances as well as relations of science that modify and control nature.

Analysing Current Practices in Geography Education

If geography currently languishes as a social study, the reasons lie within its own nature of discourse characterised by frameworks of physical-human dualism and a positivistic and deterministic approach. A review of teaching-learning materials shows that such practices in geography hinder appreciation of socio-spatial implications. Recent geographies have marked major shifts from the traditional framework by engaging in understandings of socio-spatial transformations. But our educational practices continue to operate within traditional limitations.
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