Social inclusion by making education appropriate to children’s cultural context: A comparison between in India and Brazil

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Higher education can be used for the social and economic mobility of underprivileged sections. This is achieved usually by providing admission to a set of students from these sections in universities and other institutes of higher education through the reservation or a quota of seats.

India has been using this reservation policy for many decades. It has helped a section of students from the so-called backward communities, scheduled castes and tribes to enter the institutes of higher education and a sub-set of them to get jobs which require such education. Many among them would not have received admission in universities and other such institutes in the absence of such a reservation policy. […]

In summary, this approach to use higher education to achieve social inclusion is necessary and to be continued. However it is not adequate in India. That is the reason for thinking about an additional model. 

The Second Model

Before writing about this one, let me briefly summarise two experiments that have been going on in Brazil during the last decade. Universities there have come out with a special teacher-education program for the indigenous people. (This would be equivalent to a special B Ed program for the Scheduled Tribes in India). This cannot be a typical teacher-education program.  The school education for indigenous children, if it is to be effective and useful, should be appropriate to their social and cultural context. […]

Source: Social Inclusion through Higher Education: Need for an additional model and how Academic Brahmanism may subvert it in India – Economics in action
Date Visited: 10 November 2020

[…] I view myself as a teacher/academic whose job is to enable students to make sense of their real world. As a researcher, I belong to the school of thought, which stresses more value in understanding an issue. As a participant in public discourse, my objective is to communicate even with those who don’t agree with my views. […]

India’s political transformation has been slow and hence it has enabled the sustenance of regressive elements. Elite control/capture still persists in parts of the country. Sections of non-elites are not mobilised politically. The competitive politics is yet to become intense in a few states. Even when there is competition at the national level, a substantial section of voters in rural areas do not experience it in their democratic choices. The size of the middle-class continues to be small in most parts of the country. All parties have played a role in the stagnation of the political development in the country. […]

Enhancing human development (as an instrument for empowering people) does not seem to be its focus as evident from its much celebrated Gujarat model. The BJP will fail (even if it may continue as a national party) if it is espousing the upper-caste patriarchal values, as these would not enable building a strong and vibrant India.

Source: “Why am I not against the BJP?” by V. Santhakumar (Azim Premji University) (Economics in Action, 30 January 2021)
Date visited: 3 April 2021

Casteism is the investment in keeping the hierarchy as it is in order to maintain your own ranking, advantage, privilege, or to elevate yourself above others or keep others beneath you.” – Book review quoting Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson | Learn more >>

Instead of “aa se aam”, children in the tribal regions of Chhattisgarh will soon be learning “aa se aak patta (peepal or sacred fig leaf)”. In around 19,000 anganwadis across the state, the Chhattisgarh government is going to start teaching pre-school children in 10 different tribal languages. […]

“We first made a linguistic map of each district and the languages spoken in the region; then we made a linguistic map of the state. The ten languages we have included in this program are Gondi, Halbi, Madiya, Bhatri, Dhurva, Dorli, Singrauliya, Sargujiya, Sadri and Kudukh,” said Siddharth Komal Pardeshi, Secretary, Women and Child Development Department. […]

For the first time, we don’t have to train our frontline workers. All the anganwadi teachers are well versed in their regional language. They connect to the people in those languages. In fact, we have been taking their help to design the books and teaching material.” […]

“There is no script in most Adivasi languages, they are phonetically driven. In 2018, a dictionary in Gondi was released by Kannada University in Hampi. There is a need to preserve these languages and to ensure that children who have grown up speaking such languages don’t feel left out at schools,” Dada Jokal, an author of several books in Gondi and who now teaches school teachers the language, said. […]

In schools, teachers often have a hard time connecting with students because of the language divide. I had an interesting case, when a primary school teacher approached me that the children just kept repeating what he said, without understanding a word. They would keep repeating his questions at him, thinking that was their lesson. This is because of language barriers, which other linguistically prosperous states have understood and exploited,” Dada Jokal said.

According to education expert Ujjwala Shankar, the idea of ensuring pre-primary and primary education in one’s mother tongue is necessary for many reasons. “When the course imparted is in a language that the child is already familiar, the interest to learn more increases,” she said.

Source: Chhattisgarh: Tribal languages to be a medium of education in pre-school by Gargi Verma, Indian Express (Raipur), 17 February 2020
Date Visited: 10 November 2020

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