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

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Towards Inclusive Classrooms in Our Unequal Society

Dynamics of Inclusive Classroom: Social Diversity, Inequality and School Education edited by Manoj Kumar Tiwary, Sanjay Kumar and Arvind Kumar Mishra, New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, 2017; pp 344, 945.

 

There has been an unprecedented expansion of elementary education in India in the last two decades, leading to increased enrolment and access to improved schooling facilities. This has been reflected in a promising net enrolment ratio (NER) in the primary stage of elementary education. As per District Information System for Education (DISE) data for 2010–11, enrolment exclusion is almost non-existent in the primary stage of elementary education as NER stands at 99.6%. Even though children from the disadvantaged sections of society are now going to school, the promise of inclusion, however, eludes our elementary education system and society.

Our Constitution envisioned an egalitarian society, enabling social justice and equality of opportunity also through the provision of elementary education for all. The otherwise impressive progress of education, in terms of quantitative enrolment and access, has belied this constitutional vision. This edited volume has appeared at this critical juncture in the trajectory of educational development in our country. It highlights with refreshing honesty, the complete indifference of the prevailing school education system in addressing the needs of marginalised children belonging to diverse social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. The progress of elementary education has been evaluated, based on the prevailing standard curriculum, pedagogy and assessment, without scrutinising the broader structures of social diversity, inequality and discrimination underlying them. Conventional school education, practising the adage “all children should be treated equally,” however, fails to accommodate the specific needs of children belonging to diverse backgrounds, particularly those from the marginalised sections of society. It has therefore
remained confined to enabling the physical presence of children belonging to diverse social backgrounds into the fold of school education, rather than facilitating their meaningful participation in the classroom. The volume argues for a change of perspective, in order to provide school education to all the children of our country according to the tenets of inclusive education, which are not the same as that of conventional schooling.

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Updated On : 13th Aug, 2018

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