- Hardcover: 223 pages
- Publisher: SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd; Second edition (4 March 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0761933166
- ISBN-13: 978-0761933168
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,05,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Political Agenda of Education: A Study of Colonialist and Nationalist Ideas Hardcover – 24 Mar 2005
The most pertinent addition in the second addition is a section on education of girls with regard to equality…. Through reading the book we gain insight into Kumar’s viewpoint on the political agenda of the Indian education system. The book explores the general political situation, and presents a dichotomy with regards to the views of the colonialists and nationalist…. The book is an invaluable source for anybody who is interested in the formation of the education system in India as it makes an updated contribution to the filed.(Contemporary South Asia)
Meticulously researched, this book offers insight into the important links between our history and education system. It makes essential reading for educationists, policy-makers as well as scholars seeking answers to many persistent questions and problems pertaining to Indian education.(Contributions to Indian Sociology)
About the Author
Krishan Kumar is a distinguished author and Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
A common view often heard in India blames the British of designing an education system that systemically produced clerks to support the British Empire in India. Krishna Kumar challenges this view and calls it theoretically feeble and historically untenable and launches an enquiry to understand why colonial education had the effects it had. In his analysis of early colonial educational enterprise, he describes the varied goals or aims that education was meant to achieve - from a pursuit of order to developing a moral agenda for the creation of a civil society under the British empire in India. Initial reports from British administrators offer interesting insight to understand the ideological roots of colonial education. Krishna Kumar says it was a complex idea, constituting elements of several different kinds - liberal-economic and political doctrines, paternalism and evangelicism.
Another interesting insight that is offered is the relationship of the nationalist movement and its educational agenda (as promoted by Indian intellectuals and reformers) with that of the colonial agenda. Krishna Kumar states that the central theme of colonial discourse on education, of a morally superior teacher and a society whose character was in need of reform, was a contribution of both movements. He further states that the English education as a means of modern western knowledge suited the Indian intellectuals and leaders well, who were in search of an education discourse for India in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and that it reconfirmed the social distance between the masses and the upper caste families and bestowed upon them a moral superiority and a certain legitimacy.
Krishna Kumar then begins an enquiry to the question: what is worth teaching and the context of the mid-nineteenth century choices made by the English administrators regarding the curriculum. He also closely examines the position of the teacher in the colonial education system and brings significant insight into some of the problems in education that we face today. The section begins with a historical understanding of the traditional education system, where the goals of schooling were significantly different from that of the modern colonial system as was the teachers' position. Drawing from various reports, Krishna Kumar establishes the goals of the Indian traditional education system, where the teaching was a specialized activity with the teacher having complete autonomy over the classroom, the curriculum and over each child's individual progress. He then contrasts it with the goals of the colonial education system and draws out the reasons for the change in the teacher's position as well as of a curriculum that was based of facts and rules and governed by inspectors and prescribed texts and examinations.
In the second half of the book, Krishna Kumar analyses the dynamics of the freedom struggle and the quest in it for equality, self-identity and progress. The pursuit of these three value orientations, says Kumar, permit us to see how the prominent discourses on education combined discrete value positions to develop distinct configurations. For understanding these three complex non-mutual categories, Kumar looks at various efforts in the nationalist movement to understand the impact they had on education.
He looks at Phule's struggle against Brahmanical dominance and Ambedkar's leadership in welding the cause of the oppressed castes to better understand the question of equality within the bourgeois-liberal framework. He also discusses issues of positive discrimination and girl's education to locate equality within the educational agenda for India. He goes on to further probe the quest for self identity and the role that education played in the revivalist streak of politics in the freedom struggle like the transformation of Hindi into a class dialect of the educated. He also looks at the term `progress', defined in terms of industrialization and modernization as means of production. He argues however that the right of the state to define a secular `national identity' did not succeed in an educational sense and that no attempt was made to alter the epistemological basis of colonial education. Lastly, in a telling way, Krishna Kumar concludes that after half a century of independence, cultural revivalism has resurfaced and that our modernized industrial base has served this revival. He warns us of this pursuit that he says has little patience for equality and justice and that the challenge to alter this equation still exists.
This is an excellent book for understanding the connection between education and its political leverage. A must read for those helping shape a more vibrant education system revival.
Review by Parth Sarwate