New Login   

Voices and Silences

Manish Jain

By R. Govinda
Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2011, pp. xxvi + 421, Rs.795.00


The last two decades have witnessed an emergence of Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in India as a significant concern in inter/national policy discourse and initiatives. Incidentally, this period has also been one of liberalization and globalization of the Indian economy. Positioning itself against this backdrop, the volume under review focuses on different facets, forms and zones of educational exclusions in the context of the long evading goal of UEE in India. The very first chapter by R. Govinda and Madhumita Bandyopadhyay delineates six zones of educational exclusion that pertain to nonenrolment, drop out or irregular attendance at primary or middle stage, and non-transition from primary to middle classes. It provides both an overview of access to elementary education in India by disaggregating national figures and a description of government schemes aimed at inclusion of the hitherto excluded groups. Through quantitative data sets, authors examine various reasons why children of different ages, social groups and geographical locations do not join or continue in school. However, they do not engage with the meaning or implications of the data that categorizes financial constraints, employment of children in non/wage labour, correlation between non-literates and their monthly per capita consumption expenditure and higher percentage of women in rural labour (pp. 38, 42. 50, 61). The chapter by Mona Sedwal and Sangeeta Kamat examines exclusion of the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in the context of casualization of labour force with economic liberalization and use of education ‘for integration and assimilation’ of these groups into the social mainstream’ (p. 92). It also discusses the social implications of the unequal and hierarchical division between mental and manual work and the crucial role of social capital in determining success in the job market. This chapter broadens the meaning of access and deepens our understanding of exclusion by bringing prejudices, discrimination and rejection in classroom and the micropractices of schooling within its domain. The authors support the use of ‘native’ language as the medium of instruction. After discussing systemic/structural inequalities and discrimination, they suggest research to understand how students can be ‘motivated’ to stay in school. The term ‘native’ and ‘motivation’ based interventions have been part of dominant mode of policy discourse. Their presence in this chapter begs us to answer why and how such dominant policy discourses with ideological underpinnings located in and operating with dynamics of unequal power and dominance enter and inform studies that aim ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.