South Asia

Organized Panel Session

3 - The New Enterprise of English: Teach For India and New Pedagogical Regimes

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Maple, Lower Ground Floor

Post the 1990s, with the restructuring of the Indian economy and new avenues of employment opening up, there was a new demand for English medium education across social classes. This demand for English medium education differed from earlier historical aspirations for the language as it intersected with rising discourses of globalization facilitated by a changing nation-state.

For the first time, government schools across major cities in the country introduced English as a prominent medium of instruction alongside the regional medium of instruction from the first grade. This transition was hindered by the inadequate institutional and pedagogical resources of existing government schooling systems. In order to address these inadequacies, NGOs came to be relied upon to fill this pedagogical void. One government NGO that sought to address these pedagogical deficiencies was the Teach for India programme. It is an off-shoot of the Teach for America programme.

Through this paper, I discuss how a global vision of educational reform gets translated into the local government classrooms. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Delhi, I examine how separations of 'English-medium' and 'Hindi-medium' create class-based inequities between children studying in the same school. The school site in this process gets distinctly bifurcated into two socio-cultural spheres: a traditional sphere adhering to an older, bureaucratic regime, and an enterprising sphere where private philanthropic initiatives such as TFI seek to infuse new logics of aspiration and academic mobility through English based pedagogical practices.

Vidya K.S

Tata Education and Development Trust, India

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