Chintan Shivir: Inputs from Simantini Dhuru

Posting these inputs on behalf of Simantini Dhuru

  1. What has gone wrong with the established and alternate models of education? (some of the most striking issues for me).
    ◦ Lack of clear vision about purpose of education in policy as well as public mind. (Complete disconnect with Constitutional conception of education – of it being a fundamental right, why it is a fundamental right, etc. Education seen only as an instrumentality to employment, not for empowerment, epistemic fulfilment, social visioning.)
    ◦ Solidification of the multi-layered school system and deliberate stifling of public schools. Education operating essentially as a device of stratified ‘human resource development’ for market society, with very little real challenges being posed.
    ◦ Scientism: Content of subjects (including social sciences) driven by narrow positivist conception of science. Absence of scientific temper, absence of value-framework regarding justice, human dignity, environmental concerns – giving free-way to consumeristic ideas of progress, technocratic morality, quasi-nationalism.
    ◦ Disempowerment, de-politicisation of teachers.
    ◦ Medium of instruction devoid of learners’, teachers’ contexts stifling independent thought and expression.
    ◦ The role of technology needs to be looked into seriously impacting nature of knowledge and society. (Surprised to see that there is no separate group on the Shivir to address these issues.)
  2. How can we collectively think of alternative models to address the above concern?
    There is plenty of work both in and outside public system. There is a need to understand these efforts and continue the conversations. For me alternatives essentially must be responsive within public education system, not outside it; they should strengthen, not weaken it. They should not be easy to co-opt. Also, whatever nature of work one does in education, whatever may be the limitations of contexts one works in, it needs to be located in a nuanced political analysis, praxis.

Please look at work of our organisation when you take these conversations further: (