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

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What’s Ailing Primary Education in Rural India: A Case Study of a Government-run Primary School in Allapur Village, Telangana

Almost a decade after the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 was passed, it becomes pertinent to review and analyse the levels of implementation of the RTE Act, 2009 and constraints in its effective implementation. This study observed an increase in the overall enrolment rates in a government-run primary school in Allapur village in Telangana; however, the lack of basic amenities like toilets, safe drinking water and unhygienic surroundings is a matter of concern. The quality of education was far behind as there was a shortage of teachers, lack of innovative practices of teaching, reluctant school administration authorities and lack of motivation from the parents. These problems need to be addressed to promote the right for quality education for each child. We learned from the observations that providing a school building and midday meals is not the solution. What is needed is a focus on how to make the community realise the importance of quality education in primary years and instil the habit of using toilets and safe drinking water to maintain proper hygiene in the foundation years.

Perspectives on Mathematics

This collection of seven papers is an indication of the kinds of issues involved in understanding mathematics in a broader perspective. What we hope to achieve is to generate insights into understanding one of the most creative languages humans have created and instil a more balanced response to mathematics as a language, culture and a living presence amidst all of us.

Tedium of Schooling

Social Implications of Schooling: Knowledge, Pedagogy and Consciousness by Avijith Pathak; Rainbow Publishers, New Delhi, 2002; pp 260, hardback Rs 325

Idea of Education

Educational systems, implicitly or explicitly, reflect a philosophical vision. Interpretations of the self, mind and world based on such vision influence socio-cultural norms and relations. It also leads to theorisation, which when formulated into principles of action to understand the world become ideologies. All educational systems carry the germ of some ideology. This paper suggests that there are two broad epistemological premises that determine the structure of knowledge, meaning and truth. One that believes that reality is material and governed by laws that the human mind can understand; the other premise asserts the inherent creative principle of the human mind and that knowledge itself is in part constructed of sensory data and perception. Since it is never completely possible to move behind an epistemic frame, reform initiatives, especially in education, should question whether processes of reform will really ensure transformation of relationships on more equal terms or will they reinforce dependency and hierarchy.

Skill, Education and Employment

Unemployment is attributed to labour market deficiency in terms of shortage of skilled and educated labour force rather than to the deficiency of aggregate demand. This paper argues that an attempt to correct macro-policy distortion through micro interventions, would, in the skill hierarchy and job competition models, have the consequences of overcrowding, bumping down of low skilled workers and create rather a larger pool of surplus skilled as well as unskilled labour force. The demand constrained economy of India needs a better policy perspective for manpower planning.

A Postcolonial School in a Modern World

This essay is about a school, taken not only as an educational project, but as an active historical intervention. A discussion of the school helps us to interpret the history of education, and perhaps all history, with new insight; to understand the nature of modernity in a provincial city; and to fashion an approach to both theory and practice that could be called postcolonial.

Primary Schools in West Bengal

The Delivery of Primary Education: A Study in West Bengal (The Pratichi Education Report) by Kumar Rana, Abdur Rafique and Amrita Sengupta (with an Introduction by Amartya Sen); TLM Books in association with Pratichi (India) Trust, New Delhi, 2002; pp 127, Rs 150.00 ($5.0).

National Textbooks for the Future?

We have been told how the sentiments of self-proclaimed religious leaders have been taken into consideration in rewriting school history textbooks. What is obvious is that the first casualty of this rewriting has been truth. Presumably these so-called religious leaders do not include the quest for truth in their agenda. Neither does the National Council of Educational Research and Training. The case of the Class XI book on ancient India authored by Makkhan Lal.

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