Secularism is perhaps the most debated concept in the country today. While it has been dissected, analyzed and digested over and over in different contexts, there is one area that has received less attention than others—secularism and public schools. If public schools are secular, why then do their assemblies follow the prayers of a particular religion? Isn’t this a violation of our constitutional rights?
Be wary of schools for they do not inculcate the spirit of liberty, fraternity and equality;be wary of schools because they operate on a model that inhibits freedom, encourages competition at the cost of cooperation and gives unequal opportunities to students; be wary of schools because they restrict movement of children, their ability to communicate and learn from each other in the name of discipline. These are some of the arguments put forward by the author. She argues that unless schools become sites where dominant frameworks are challenged and stereotypes are broken, they will remain spaces one needs to be wary of.
When candidates are chosen as teachers, what qualities exactly do schools look for in them? Do they choose prospective teachers based on their general knowledge? Or because they display skills that tell the school that this candidate can work with children? From her personal experience the author tells readers why the way schools select their teachers is very disturbing.
The only way to have truly inclusive schools is to ensure that education equips children and adults with the kind of critical thinking that is necessary to dispel false beliefs. This will help teachers tackle difficult questions about caste and gender issues.
Aditi Dhammachakra A recent report by Human Rights Watch has brought to light everyday instances of discrimination against Dalit, Adivasi, and Muslim children in primary schools. The report reminds us that caste and tribal status is invoked repeatedly in schools Read More …
What are truly secular schools? Can religious practices such as prayers that are conducted in schools be allowed to continue? In such a scenario, how can we bring about educational reform? How can we create more inclusive schools, since most of the times, the sources of exclusion are religion, caste and gender? This article puts forth some arguments on this sensitive subject.
R S Prasad
The practice of asking teachers to surrender their certificates that is followed by some schools is an issue that needs to be debated seriously. This sends out wrong signals to teachers and does not create an empathetic and nurturing space for them. Principals and managements of schools must explore more positive ways of engaging with the teacher.
In our ongoing debate on the RtE Act, Simantini Dhuru goes on to explain why the Act may not change the state of government schools.
So far a majority of our articles on the RtE debate have featured the alternative school stand, this times article looks at the debate from the other side. Padma Sarangapani responds to some of the issues raised by the alternative school network.
Read the continuing RtE debate in Teacher Plus. This is the perspective of yet another person working with an alternative school.