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   School Education: Pluralism and Marginality
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
18 Sep 2012
and simplistic but pluralism in classroom, as represented by cultural and economic background of the pupils, may have been compromised the day a uniform dress code was introduced for school children. While uniform dress reflects decor and discipline, lost within it are distinct identities that have further been smothered by a universalised teaching curriculum. To impart a uniform system of education across wide cultural diversity, the system eroded plurality by homogenising cultures and communities in the first place. It is only during recent years that question on a system of education that converts innocent pupils into mindless clones has been raised.

While the indigenous model rejected the colonial, the colonial was uni-dimensional and had ended up eliminating the indigenous. In both instances, it was the baby that got thrown with the bathwater. Far from liberating and transforming the underprivileged, it placed unrealistic heavy burden of education on children. Rather than equipping underprivileged children with skills and sensitization them towards their marginal status, the system of education sought to marginalize them further. Poor learning achievements, low retention, high dropout rates and indifferent attitudes of the parents and communities for the school have been reflective of the net impact.

In search for the answers to such questions, the editors of the volume have sought a way out of it by placing emphasis on ‘social inclusion and pluralism as the core principles of the pedagogic conceptual framework, practices and processes’. This however may be easier said than done. The basic trouble is that it may not always be easy to achieve the core values of social inclusion and pluralism simultaneously. But the book prisms the inner world of education through a wider lens on the world of education in offering solution-based approaches drawn from both the developed and the developing world.

The book has not only been able to diagnose the problem but suggest a solution-based approach as well. Though it appreciates the complexity of the problem at hand, the book remains optimistic in its approach because by only being positive about it can some distance in addressing the problem would get covered.

School Education, Pluralism & Marginality
by Christine Sleeter, Shashi Bhushan Upadhyay, Arvind Mishra & Sanjay Kumar (Eds)
Orient BlackSwan, Delhi
500 pages, Rs. 850

 Other books reviewed by Dr Sudhirendar Sharma
Features > Book Shelf
Spoiling Tibet
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

A Journey in the Future of Water
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Yamuna Manifesto
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

Lead View
People, Partition and the Pain
By Rina Mukherji
15 Aug 2013

Dr Jayanti Basu's book analyzes the complex feelings of hatred and longing for the homeland that have contributed to shaping the personalities of a generation of people who were forced to ..
Book Shelf

Yamuna Manifesto

A Journey in the Future of Water

Spoiling Tibet

On Western Terrorism
Devinder Sharma
Carmen Miranda
Pandurang Hegde
Sudhirendar Sharma
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