This book examines the elementary education 'system' i.e. the institutional structures, processes and dynamics that frame it. It unravels and analyses the inability of the system to achieve high quality education for all. Though the contexts of social inequity, poverty and illiteracy in which schools are situated need to be keep in view, the authors argue that the institutional structures, processes and dynamics play a critical role in terms of the extent to which quality and equity in education are promoted, or the existing social context is reproduced. Therefore, the education system needs to be scrutinised in detail.
A range of institutions at the apex and field level that frame elementary education in India are examined through an in-depth investigation across two states encompassing management processes, pedagogic ideas and practices, issues related to equity and financing of education. This investigation facilitates the location of core issues that lie at the heart of the inadequacies that pervade the elementary education system, i.e., hierarchical and 'command style functioning', rigidities and the play of patronage and rent-seeking; a lack of a meaningful discourse about education and learning; poor capacities in the pedagogic sphere as well as management; inadequate interventions to reduce inequity; and the existence of policies that reproduce inequities rather than countering them. The book makes the case for institutional reform for real change and improvement.
Based on rigorous fieldwork, this book will be of particular interest to those in education, public policy and administration, sociology, politics, South Asian Studies, and research methodology.