Over the last decade, trans-national and local advocacy networks have been projecting the low-cost unregulated schools market in India as a cost-efficient, high-quality and equitable solution for education of the poor and as a site for viable business options. The actors in this market include individual ‘edupreneurs’ and, more recently, corporate groups, which have entered the schools business in developing countries. What we are witnessing is the construction of narratives of ‘good education’ for the poor in extremely minimalistic terms, validated through ‘research’ and disseminated by powerful networks. The attempt is to evolve globally scalable models that will deliver ‘high quality’ education at the lowest of costs, yet ensuring profits. This paper, maps some of these trends highlighting the manner in which private actors are attempting to change education policy in India by constructing new narratives, networks and practices around schooling. The paper argues that these trends have serious implications for social justice in education for the poor.
Geetha B. Nambissan is Professor of Sociology of Education Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her research interests focus on the sociology of school education and include the exclusion, inclusion and the education of marginal groups, the middle classes and educational advantage and the social and educational implications of private schools for the poor. She has published widely in these areas. Her publications include Education and Social Justice in the Era of Globalisation: Perspectives from India and the UK (Routledge, 2011 co-edited) and Sociology of Education in India: Changing Contours and Emerging Concerns (OUP, 2013, co-edited). She is currently part of a Transnational Research Group (TRG) on Poverty Reduction and Policy for the Poor between the State and Private Actors: Education Policy in India since the Nineteenth Century. She is on advisory board of the Journal of Education Policy..
The talk is organized by, The Public Accountability and Governance in Education [PAGE] project at CPR, and The Forum for Deliberations on Education [The Forum]. It is the second in the series by The Forum.