1st Edition

Rethinking Education in the Context of Post-Pandemic South Asia Challenges and Possibilities

Edited By Uma Pradhan, Karen Valentin, Mohini Gupta Copyright 2023

    This edited volume offers new analytical and methodological approaches to the study of education in the post-pandemic educational context, through case studies from countries in South Asia such as Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

    Crossing disciplinary and national boundaries to advance collaborative knowledge production in South Asian education, the book explores how different colonial legacies, religious orientations, and positions in the global economy are played out in regional education systems. In doing so, this volume focuses on the educational challenges faced by the region to better understand South Asian society and the existing societal inequalities in the wake of COVID-19. The book highlights how the pandemic invites a re-thinking of current ways of approaching educational research in hybrid forms, and also opens up new areas of research ranging from pedagogical innovations to the well-being of teachers and students.

    Offering interdisciplinary perspectives on education in this unique context, this timely book will be highly relevant to students, researchers, and academics in the fields of international and comparative education, South Asian studies, teacher education, and education policy and politics.

    Part 1: RETHINKING LEARNING 1. Calculations and Discourses of Deficit in Indian Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic: ‘Learning Loss’ Abhinav Ghosh  2. Reflections on education in the wake of Covid-19 in Nepal: Learning Loss or Schooling Loss? Chase Podsakoff and Karen Valentin  3. Taḥnani Dāphā Khalaḥ’s apprenticeship program: Revitalising indigenous knowledge during a global pandemic Pranab Man Singh and Pushpa Palanchoke  4. Negotiating Space and Equity in the On/Offline Classroom: The Hostel, the Home and the Faceless Screen Sameer Abraham Thomas  5. ‘Re-thinking’ Teacher preparedness in the (post) pandemic Sri Lanka Manjula Vithanapathirana and Sakunthala Yatigammana Ekanayake  Part 2: RETHINKING EDUCATION INEQUALITIES  6. Rethinking the neighbourhood school in (post-)pandemic India: Synchronicity and segregation Amanda Gilbertson and Joyeeta Dey  7. A Pernicious Combination of Pandemic and Kashmir Conflict for students in the Valley: A 'Double Lockdown' Nida Khan  8. The Crisis of Education Among Marginalised Learners in India during the Pandemic: Reneged on the Promise of Access Dalsie Gangmei  9. Dismal Lives of Women Teachers Working in Low-Cost Private Schools in India: Politics of Precarity Nilesh G. and Nikhil Walde  10. The wellbeing of private school teachers during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal Prem Phyak, Peshal Khanal and Sushan Acharya Part 3: RETHINKING TECHNOLOGIES OF EDUCATION  11. A phenomenological inquiry into learners’ experience of consonance and dissonance during the pandemic in India: Learning in the time of crisis Dishari Chattaraj and Arya Parakkate Vijayaraghavan  12. Opportunities and Challenges of Tele Schooling: Lessons from Pakistan Laraib Niaz, Camilla Hadi Chaudhary and Kusha Anand  13. The future of online teaching in the Faculties of Management in Sri Lanka: A means to an end or an end to a means? Arosha S. Adikaram and Neelangie S. Nanayakkara  14. School Practicum Experience in Initial Teacher Education during times of Disruptions: The Case of Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka Mythili Ramchand, Meera Chandran, Reeta Rai and Manjula Vithanapathirana


    Uma Pradhan is Lecturer in Education Studies, University College London, UK.

    Karen Valentin is Associate Professor of Education Anthropology, Department of Educational Anthropology, School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark.

    Mohini Gupta is a doctorate candidate of Language and Education Anthropology, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Oxford, UK.

    "This timely and much-needed collection shines a critical spotlight on Covid19’s impact on education systems across South Asia. The harsh lockdowns, school closures and economic shockwaves combined to amplify exisiting educational inequalities. Yet the pandemic was only the latest in a series of crisis to hit the region. The worst brought out the best, and this book attends to the creative ways in which teachers and learners managed and responded.

    Pradhan, Valentin and Gupta are to be congratulated for bringing together 14 cutting-edge contributions on different aspects of educational policy, provision and practice in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The authors highlight the importance of fine grained qualitative research on schooling. They encourage us to question our assumptions, and attend to overlooked inequalities. Chapters analyse dominant policy discourses, explore different genres of learning, and reflect on digitally mediated educational initiatives. Collectively, this book is testament to the transformative possibilities that come from rethinking South Asia’s educational worlds."

    David Mills, Associate Professor (Pedagogy and the Social Sciences), Department of Education, University of Oxford, UK

    "This book is an excellent compilation of contemporary trends in education with a particular emphasis on bridging the gap between academia and practice, during a time when it tends to be largely neglected. The call for practitioners to be part of the delivery of education has been strengthened by the pandemic. While classrooms make students learn to do, what we need today is a do-to-learn approach. Across South Asia, the pandemic resounded the unique set of challenges in the thinking and imparting of education–striking chords that have been comprehensively covered by the chapters in this volume. It raises significant questions around the limitations of technology and the necessity of overcoming those if we aim to make technology mainstream in education.

    We are indeed at a critical juncture in the discourse on education in South Asia. This book is a rung on the ladder that will take us to newer heights to carve out brighter possibilities."

    Pramath Raj Sinha, Founder and Chairman of Board of Trustees at Ashoka University; Founder and Chairman, Harappa Education; and Founding Dean, Indian School of Business, India

    "In many ways education was in a crisis, in South Asia, even before the Covid pandemic. We had too many issues with access, dropout and learning levels and these issues were long standing. But the pandemic brought these to the fore forcefully and clearly. School closures and lockdowns led to dropout and significant learning losses. The issues could not be ignored anymore. Opportunity or necessity, we have to think of ways forward. This book allows us to do exactly that. Worked on while the pandemic was still underway, it highlights the problems in the education sector in South Asian countries clearly, and then brings out the consequences of these problems: lack of learning and/or poor learning, and inequity and inequality. More importantly, it discusses ways of moving forward as well. What can be the role of technology, how do we rethink learning and how to rethink space (school, home or cyber).

    Many of the issues discussed are in South Asian context but these issues are more general and apply to other contexts as well. This book should be very useful for every person concerned with the education of our children: a topic that should worry each one of us at least some of the time if not all the time."

    Faisal Bari, Associate Professor of Economics and Education (joint appointment) - School of Humanities and Social Sciences & School of Education; Dean, Syed Ahsan Ali & Syed Maratib Ali School of Education - Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS); and Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS). Lahore

    "The book portrays an important reality of South Asian educational processes and systems together with educational possibilities in post-covid contexts. It also contributes to the much-needed diversity in narratives of what has to be done in improving education as an authentic, empowering, and inclusionary enterprise. As a resource for the comparative perspective of education in South Asia, the book will enable researchers to explore South Asian analytical tools instead of uncritically subscribing to the framework of the North and West."

    Professor Bal Chandra Luitel, PhD Dean, School of Education, Kathmandu University, Nepal