Singular consciousness and pedagogy of the frontiers

Educating the young minds should not be left to a one sided inculcation of a singular-ultra national consciousness that does not reflect reality nor shape the future of the young in India.

Academics and educationists in the Northeast region of India have for long unequivocally stated that the history of the region has been almost left blank in most prescribed syllabi for schools, colleges and universities across India. They have even argued that this trend of neglect in educating the nation has been partly responsible for the near total absence of the region in the minds of the general populace across the Indian subcontinent.

When one further examines the issue, the matter is much more complex and it is related to bigger questions pertaining to not only the overall educational policy adopted by the country but also the inherent distortion in the so-called national consciousness of independent India.

While accepting the principle that education is one of the most important mechanisms for the advancement of human beings or rather liberating oneself from the inherited ignorance, there have been numerous issues dogging policy implementation related to education and even the onerous objective of unifying diverse ideological traditions.

While laying stress on awakening a child to inculcate an existent value system and enabling him or her to nurture dreams for livelihood, it has been generally agreed that professional training is one of the many requirements for imparting knowledge. If one considers the child to be the future of a nation state that encompasses diverse value systems derived from variegated cultural moorings, there is no second answer to the fact that every child deserves quality education.

This will determine not just the quality of life but also help build credible national character. This is why policy planners have taken the Right to Education Act 2009 very seriously. However, along with the introduction of the Act also came the difficulties of implementing the same due to numerous hurdles created by those who are considered responsible authorities.

When societies are burdened with challenges like lopsided development, inequality, poverty, regional disparity, conflict and armed opposition/resistance, it remains to be seen how successful respective state governments implement the policy. This is why there is a need for a serious deliberation facing the challenges of education in India. Under such circumstances, there is also the need to look at how the dynamics of imparting education in the Northeast unfolds when afflicted by socio-political turmoil for decades.

The impact of political violence and socio-economic crises has tremendous impact on the students in particular and education in general. Now, is the time to actually assess how political violence had affected the entire education system in the region for decades.

Emphasis should be given to how the states have responded to such crises rather than keep on parroting the need for special national exposure. Or for that matter, the oft repeated cliché on how private institutions have fared much better than the state run educational institutions in the Northeast region. Educating the young minds should not be left to a one sided inculcation of a singular-ultra national consciousness that does not reflect reality nor shape the future of the young in India.

First Published:June 9, 2020, 7:51 a.m.