Krishna Kumar responds:

My plea was that the politically incorrect stance of the Melur principal should be analysed before it is dismissed. Prof. Sinha’s suggestion that teachers should be “sensitised” indicates the tendency to assume that they are ignorant of their own role. To suggest that they should “even become activists if they are to address the concerns raised by Leela Dube” misses the point of her contribution to our understanding of education. Her anthropological work reminds us that patriarchy is a deeper structure than we seem to recognise when we discuss education as a means to weaken it. Clubbing girls with other categories of social disadvantage, as Prof. Sinha does, shows precisely this kind of inadequate recognition of the force of patriarchy as a principle of social order. I am glad she agrees that there is a conflict between the socialisation of girls and the aims of education. The hope that teachers can resolve this conflict indicates both an underestimation of the sharpness of the conflict and an exaggerated sense of the teacher’s agency in our system. If teachers are to play a role in discouraging child marriage, a logical step would be to give them a statutory role in the administrative and legal machinery put in place against the practice. My article tried to show how peripheral the school at present is to society, its problems and practices. Teachers’ status as minor cogs in the system’s wheel is an aspect of their peripheral existence.

(The writer is Professor of Education at Delhi University and a former Director of NCERT.)

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 1:47:55 AM |

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