Category Archives: Education and literacy

“The goal is to prepare some model students in our villages, so that others will be inspired to follow them.” – Santal educationist Boro Baski in “Long-term success of non-formal Adivasi school in West Bengal” (D+C Development and Cooperation, 2 July 2009)

“A most important truth, which we are apt to forget, is that a teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame.” – Rabindranath Tagore quoted in Santiniketan (1961, p. 28)

“Education has to liberate a person from narrow world view and the boundaries of caste, community, race and gender. Teachers have been entrusted with the responsibility of moulding the young minds to understand the world and make it better.” – Shri Pranab Mukherjee, President of India (National Award 2014 to Teachers)

“[A]bout 40 per cent of school absence in rural India is ­attributed to only one factor: malnutrition.” – Damayanti Datta in “Rage Of A Silent, Invisible Killer Called Malnutrition – Why Shining India Is In Grip Of An Epic Calamity” (Outlook Magazine, 26 August 2019)

“There are many indices one can use to measure the shocking failures of education, even as it is conventionally understood, in India today. The stories of state-run schools that are in absolute shambles are legion, and have been documented by thousands of researchers, journalists, and social workers. More than seventy years after independence, the effective countrywide literacy rate is less than 50%; in some districts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Madhya Pradesh, female literacy rates still hover at 10%. The best public universities have been gutted; all that is left is a shambolic display of awards of “excellence”, a word as shorn of content as any. In one instance the award has been to an institute of higher education that does not even exist.” – “The Undeveloped Heart: Gandhi on Education” by Vinay Lal (Professor of History & Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles UCLA), 15 October 2019

“In North India it is still common to reprimand a child: study or else you’ll cut grass; the prospect of manual work invoked as a threat. Education was valued because it could widen the distance from the labouring multitudes.” – Author and diplomat Pavan K. Varma in Being Indian: Inside the Real India (2005), p.104

“Nearly one in every twelve humans is a young Indian for whom meaningful education is of critical importance. […] If knowledge is the core of education and if education lays the very foundation of a nation, the author [Ganesh Devy] argues that it is of critical importance that the plight of educational institutions and the need to generate knowledge appropriate to India are addressed without any delay.” – Book Review: The crisis within by Ganesh [G.N.] Devy (Privy Trifles for The Book Shelf, 24 June 2017)

“Due to the pandemic, the school has been closed. However, teaching has not really stopped. Teachers make short videos and send them to the students’ parents. Whenever the students watch the videos, they respond on the WhatsApp group.” – B Ramdas, co-founder of Viswa Bharati Vidyodaya Trust (VBVT) in “The story of YouTube channel Kaathadi and how it’s empowering tribal communities in TN” by Megha Kaveri featuring “Kaathadi”, an innovative YouTube channel accessible to all learners ( Education, 18 July 2020)

“At the core of any higher education policy lies the notion of a university [distinguished] from its medieval forerunners by envisaging for it an autonomous sphere in relation to the emerging nation-state. Universities are thus required to be ‘incubators of ideas and innovations’.” – Suranjan Das, Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University Kolkata (The Telegraph, 30 September 2020)

“A sustainable improvement in the quality would happen only when there is an effort to improve quality along with inclusion. This cannot be achieved by creating a few centers of excellence.” – V. Santhakumar (Azim Premji University) in: “Only small, consistent steps can improve the quality of education in India” (Economics in Action, 11 October 2019)

“[The] morungs of the Nagas, the dhumkuria of the Santals and the gotuls of the Gonds [are] equivalents to schooling systems in mainstream societies.” – Subhadra Mitra Channa in Anthropological Perspectives on Indian Tribes, quoted by Richard Kamei in “Uncivilising the Mind: How anthropology shaped the discourse on tribes in India” (Caravan Magazine, 1 March 2021)

“On a very small scale compared to the widely promoted homogenising mega-schools, [alternative schools] respect diversity and are sensitive to the socio-cultural and political context of the children. […]
The National Education Policy of 2020 is silent on the crucial question of integrating Adivasi knowledge. It appears to encourage multilingual education but calls for ‘philanthropic’ (read: corporate) investment, focused on producing workers for the market rather than implementing the Right to Education Act (2009). […]
The notion of ‘mainstreaming’ needs to be challenged not just because Adivasi culture is being crushed, but also because Adivasi values and ways of life offer insights that the ‘mainstream’ needs.” – Felix Padel & Malvika Gupta in “Are mega residential schools wiping out India’s Adivasi culture?” (The Hindu, 13 February 2021)

“In contemporary practice, the tribal memory is greatly undermined. There is general insistence that tribal children attend schools where non-tribal children attend schools, that they use medicines manufactured for others and that they adopt common agricultural practices. All because the world has very little time to listen patiently to the tribals, with their immense knowledge and creativity. We have decided that what is good for us is good enough for them. In the process we are destroying a rich vein of our cultural heritage.” – Ganesh [G.N.] Devy quoted by Ivy Imogene Hansdak (Inaugural Speech for the National Conference “Tribes In Transition-II” 2017)

“The educational establishment has entrenched interests within it for whom the improvement of Adivasi education is not a priority and who may even look down upon them as second-class citizens.” – Amman Madan, Rama Sastry and B Ramdas in “Social Movements and Educational Change: A Case Study of the Adivasi Munnetra Sangam” (The Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 54, Issue No. 5, 02 Feb, 2019, Social Movements and Educational Change)

“The concept of public education is based on the objective of inclusiveness. What are the consequences of this overnight switch to a digital mode when a large segment of population remains digitally excluded? […] The path we now follow focusses only on people who are digitally privileged. People without access to resources, data and devices have been left in the cold.” – K.S. Madhavan in “Kerala: Path we’ve taken favours privileged” (Times of India, 3 June 2020)

“Literacy rate among the [Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups] has gone up significantly over the past. From a single digit literacy rate, the figures have increased to 30 to 40 % in many of the PVTGs. However, as is the case with entire India, female literacy rate is still considerably lower compared to male counterpart.” – “The Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups of India — Privileges and Predicaments” (published by the Anthropological Survey of India AnSI)), quoted by Shiv Sahay Singh in “Vulnerable tribes: lost in a classification trap” (The Hindu, 8 April 2017)

Tagore’s Santiniketan, “an Abode of Learning Unlike Any in the World” – West Bengal

Sanchari Pal, The Better India, August 31, 2016 | To read the full story and view more photos in high resolution, click here >> Located about 158 km northwest of Kolkata in Bengal’s rural hinterland, Santiniketan embodies Rabindranath Tagore’s vision of … Continue reading

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In support of language diversity and cultural diversity – Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources

Today, our world is experiencing a rapid decline in cultural diversity and the eradication of indigenous peoples and their lifeway. One in five people in the world speak the same language: Mandarin Chinese. Spoken by the largest single ethnic group … Continue reading

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Two novels on West Ghat tribal cultural heritage: Changing perceptions of land and its ownership – Kerala & Tamil Nadu

Two novels that capture local history in English translationEach novel is written from a different angle, yet both chronicle the lives of people attached to their land and customs while facing the pressures imposed by mainstream society: one by male Malayalam writer ‘Narayan’ who … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Assimilation, Childhood and children, Colonial policies, Constitution and Supreme Court, Customs, Economy and development, Education and literacy, History, Literature - fiction, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Nilgiri, Quotes, Rural poverty, Seasons and festivals, Social conventions, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Storytelling, Tips, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged , | Comments Off on Two novels on West Ghat tribal cultural heritage: Changing perceptions of land and its ownership – Kerala & Tamil Nadu

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights & Human Rights Day (10 December)

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little … Continue reading

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Proper coverage of “deprivation”: Ethical considerations for students of Indian journalism

Asian College of Journalism: Covering Deprivation During the second term, all students take a required course— the only one of its kind taught by a journalism school anywhere in the world — Covering Deprivation. “Deprivation” refers to the inability of … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adverse inclusion, Childhood and children, Commentary, Democracy, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Literature and bibliographies, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), Press snippets, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Storytelling, Video resources - external | Comments Off on Proper coverage of “deprivation”: Ethical considerations for students of Indian journalism