Education in urban areas

Authored by: Nalini Juneja

The Routledge Handbook of Education in India

Print publication date:  September  2021
Online publication date:  September  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367466770
eBook ISBN: 9781003030362
Adobe ISBN:


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The assumption that ‘all is well’ in education in urban contexts, except for a small segment referred to as the ‘urban deprived by the SSA, continues to influence research as well as the availability of data on towns and cities in India. However, as seen in this chapter, the concept of the ‘urban deprived’ is imported and ill-fitting when viewed in the historical context of development of education in cities under colonial rule in India – and which continues to shape education in cities today. The remarkable diversity of schools masks the disparity of their availability, accessibility, and affordability, while contributing to stratification and inequity in education. The unregulated right to choose, enjoyed by some, adds to the risk of children’s lives and lungs as a result of accidents and toxic fumes caused in the process of mass transportation across large cities. Devolution, of responsibility for post-primary education to private schools in presidency cities, under British rule, continues, as seen in this chapter, to affect children’s access to free primary education on the one hand, and the perception of municipal primary schools as failing on the other. Master plans made land available to schools, both government and private, in cities, but these continue to be at risk due to tendencies of segregation and greed. So forces counter to them, inspired by a clause supporting city master plans, engineered the inclusion of the poor into private schools by inserting a similar clause in the 2009 historic legislation for the right to education in India.

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