Is Pedagogy to Blame for Reinforcing Caste Prejudices?

A recent report in the Indian Express found that in the Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh, where two Dalit children were beaten to death for defecating near a Yadav household, caste-based discrimination was rampant in schools. The names of students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes were listed on the schools’ blackboards, and children were also advised to wash their hands after touching the Dalits.

Sameer Mohite’s 2014 article questions if schools are an effective arena to dispel caste-based prejudices. Based on a survey conducted in Chiplun, Maharashtra, Mohite argues that the absence of pedagogy that promotes critical thinking reinforces caste-based discrimination. Disha Nawani responds to Mohite, and questions the methodology used in the survey. Nawani also argues that there is no attempt made to question why children think in a particular manner. Mohite responds to Nawani, arguing that schools can play a larger role in dismantling caste-based discrimination.

A few other works that are broadly related to this discussion:

  1. Accessing Primary Education: Going beyond the Classroom, Rekha Kaul, 2001
  2. Survey at an IIT Campus Shows How Caste Affects Students' Perceptions, Priyanka Pandey and Sandeep Pandey, 2018
  3. Caste and Castelessness: Towards a Biography of the ‘General Category,’ Satish Deshpande, 2013

 

Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at edit@epw.in with the subject line—"Pedagogy and Caste."

Curated by Kieran Lobo [kieran@epw.in]

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