School of Education Studies (SES) School Seminar on
Authentic, Indigenous and Global: Politics of Curriculum and Citizenship Education at the Turn of Twentieth Century India by Manish Jain
With downfall of the erstwhile ‘socialist’ states and increasing penetration of contemporary globalisation, there has been a significant interest in citizenship education with increasing emphasis on its global character. In contemporary period, this has coincided with the growth of populist nationalist politics across different nation-states. In the first two decades of this globalised world, India has been ruled by two ‘Hindu nationalist’ governments in 1999-2004 and 2014-19.
This paper examines the antecedents of the contemporary politics of citizenship and citizenship education in India by revisiting India at the turn of twentieth century when a coalition government led by a ‘Hindu nationalist’ political party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ruled India during 1999-2004. During this period, a National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE) was developed which significantly reduced history and increased citizenship education. Most critical analysis of NCFSE focused on revisions and deletions in history, communalization of education and ideology of Hindutva, and attributed Hindutva’s rise to the cultural dissonances and anxieties about identities created by globalization.
In this paper, I use the lens of citizenship to undertake a historical examination of NCFSE by paying attention to both the colonial antecedents of education, curriculum, and textbooks in postcolonial India and the specific context of NCFSE to notice its continuities and disjunctions with preceding curriculum discourse. I point out how the discourse of ideal citizenship simultaneously deployed the tropes of authenticity, indigenousness, nation and global citizen in the context of neoliberal reforms and increasingly repressive state. This discussion is used to make some brief remarks about the conceptual and methodological issues to think about global citizenship education and curriculum in a postcolonial context.
Dr. Manish Jain is an Associate Professor at the School of Education Studies, Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD). Before joining AUD, he has been a school teacher and a faculty member at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. His research interests lie at the intersections of history, politics and sociology of education. He has been a member of various textbook, syllabus, and teacher education reform committees in India. Manish writes in both Hindi and English and has co-edited School Education in India: Market, State and Quality (2018, Routledge).