Elementary Education in India : Policy Shifts, Issues and Challenges book cover
1st Edition

Elementary Education in India
Policy Shifts, Issues and Challenges

ISBN 9781138322318
Published September 3, 2019 by Routledge India
288 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book examines the policy shifts over the past three decades in the Indian education system. It explores how these shifts have unequivocally established the domination of neoliberal capital in the context of elementary education in India.

The chapters in the volume:

• Discuss a range of elementary education policies and programs in India with a focus on the policy development in recent decades of neoliberalism.

• Analyse policy from diverse perspectives and varied vantage points by scholars, activists, and practitioners, illustrated with contemporary statistics.

• Introduce the key curriculum, assessment, and learning debates from contemporary educational discourse.

• Integrate the tools and methods of education policy analysis with basic concepts in education, like equality, quantity, equity, quality, and inclusion.

A definitive inter-disciplinary work on a key sector in India, this volume will be essential for scholars and researchers of education, public policy, sociology, politics, and South Asian studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: mapping the exacerbated crisis in elementary education: issues and challenges

Jyoti Raina

Part I: Neoliberal restructuring of education

1. Neoliberal policy shifts in elementary education in India

Jyoti Raina And Parul

2. Extending the neoliberal agenda to forbidden territory: public– private partnership in school education in India

Suman Lata

3. Public education: can it be fixed?


4. Equitable elementary education as a public good: what is left of it?

Jyoti Raina

Part II: Understanding knowledge and curriculum

5. Draft NEP 2016: education for ‘citizenship’ or ‘resource development for a pliable workforce’?

Rohit Dhankar

6. Bin bhay hoye na preet: resilience of fear-based examination-detention policy in Indian education system

Disha Nawani

7. Indian modernity as the problem of Indian education

Nita Kumar

Part III: Schooling, social justice and critical pedagogy

8. Sanskara: the notion of hereditary educability and changing behaviour of the teachers

Sanjay Kumar

9. Consensualised reproduction and the fascised rule of capital: the responsibility of critical pedagogy

Ravi Kumar

10. A strategy for exclusion: how equality and social justice have been derailed in Indian elementary education

Madhu Prasad

Part IV: Transnational perspective on neoliberalism and education

11. The reactionary right and its carnival of reaction: global neoliberalism, reactionary neoconservatism: Marxist critique, education analysis and policy

Dave Hill

12. The agonies of neoliberal education: what hope progress?

Tom G. Griffiths

13. Analysing educational change: towards an understanding of patterns of historical and cultural refraction

Ivor Goodson

14. Combating educational inequality: competing frameworks

Vikas Gupta


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Jyoti Raina is Associate Professor, Department of Elementary Education, Gargi College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India. Her main teaching focus is educational studies, learning theory, and science education. She also looks after the work of equal opportunity, Gandhi studies, and anti-discrimination at the college.


Elementary Education in India: Policy Shifts, Issues and Challenges constitutes an urgent challenge not only to India’s educational system but to the underpinnings of the crisis in which it is perilously enmeshed—the roots and branches of capitalist overproduction and consequent immiseration.    Jyoti Raina has assembled a distinguished group of Indian and international educational scholars whose critiques of neoliberalism and education sound the death-knell of efforts to repurpose education to accommodate a capitalist system reeling on its transnationalist heels. Equally important, the book   provides readers with new vantage points from which a new system can be built. This stunning work will be of interest to critical educators worldwide.’

Peter McLaren, Distinguished Professor in Critical Studies, The Attallah College of Educational Studies, Chapman University; and Chair Professor, Northeast Normal University, China

‘The period 1990 to the present has seen a major neoliberal turn in public policy in India in all sectors of education. The policy shifts in elementary education have been of the greatest impact because these touch the very base of India's highly stratified society. There has been a dearth of competent documentations and analyses that set out the causes, trajectories and consequences of these major shifts. The present collection of essays attempts to fill this vacuum by bringing together the perspectives of several Indian and international scholars and practitioners on the contemporary realities of policy and practice in elementary education. This book promises to serve as an important resource world-wide for students and educators as well as for those who work in policy spaces.’

Shyam B. Menon, Professor of Education, Central Institute of Education, University of Delhi, Delhi; Founder Vice- Chancellor, Ambedkar University, Delhi, India

‘This is an important book that brings together a rich collection of essays on a range of issues that are critical to the present and future of education in India.  The larger context is the neo liberal restructuring of education and its fallout as reflected in the changes we are witnessing in schooling especially in the last two decades. The themes dealt with relate to policy shifts in education, privatisation, transformations in curriculum and pedagogical practices, exclusion and discrimination in schooling and so on. There is also an engagement with education as a public good and the challenge of public education, social justice and democratic citizenship, concerns that are increasingly marginalized today. This makes the book a timely contribution as well.’

Geetha B. Nambissan, Professor of Education, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

‘At a time when discourse on the public education system is dominated by activist foundations and the practical urge ‘fixing things’ the collection of essays in this book bring back the focus on the underlying national and transnational force field within which the Indian constitutional promise of the Right to Education is playing out. The collection of essays present fresh historical and political analysis and commentary on education in society.’

Padma M. Sarangpani, Professor of Education, Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai, India

‘This volume edited by Jyoti Raina is a direct and critical engagement with the ideas and practices of neo-liberalism as they restructure education with devastating consequences for the institutions of public education. Even more, Raina advances the theory that neoliberalism and the global ideas of the Washington consensus find their partner in the Indian state. This state has abandoned its role of redistribution in favour of the poor, and advancing the conditions for growth of private capital in education. The contributions in the volume highlight myriad themes of these arguments. A must read for scholars and researchers of Indian education.’

Manisha Priyam, Associate Professor, National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi