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Some Reflections on West Bengal

Decentralised Governance Reforms in Primary Education

Can decentralisation reforms in education achieve the goal of universal elementary education without removing the barriers of hierarchical social structure in West Bengal? A study based on fieldwork in Kalipur village of Dhaniakhali block in Hooghly district elucidates that the village education committees which are meant to ensure the participation of the village community, including the socially disadvantaged groups, in the management of universal elementary education, have been reduced to mere formal bodies and seemed to have turned into another tool in the hands of the party leaders to extend their sphere of domination. This article discusses the existing administrative structure of primary education in West Bengal and situates the functioning of village education committees in the larger perspective of the politics of primary school governance in the state.

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