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Contested Politics of Educational Reform in IndiaAligning Opportunities with Interests$
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Manisha Priyam

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198098874

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198098874.001.0001

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Theory and Practice of Educational Reform in India

Theory and Practice of Educational Reform in India

A Review

(p.27) 1 Theory and Practice of Educational Reform in India
Contested Politics of Educational Reform in India

Manisha Priyam

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines two distinct methodological approaches inspired by economics and sociology in the study of policy reforms in India, particularly educational reforms. In the analysis done using the concepts of formal political economy and rational choice, a series of dilemmas mark the working of existing policies—teacher accountability cannot be enforced due to teacher-politician linkages, patronage opportunities, and political power of unions. Educational decentralization and appointing para-teachers on contract is seen as one way of breaking the centralized power of teachers. It argues that this is a technical view to policy reforms—more grounded approaches are needed to understand the contested process of policy change, especially as they are implemented at the local level. It outlines the methodology by which schools, decentralization, teachers and their unions can be examined at the local level, and a ‘bottom-up’ view of policy implementation obtained. The research design enables viewing educational reform as a complex chain of policy decisions and its implementation, including both central and more local variables within the Indian federal system. Viewed in this manner the picture of change that emerges is that of an interactive and contested process.

Keywords:   teacher accountability, patronage opportunities, political discretion, teacher unions, educational decentralization, village education committee, para-teachers, local state, policy implementation studies, educationally backward states

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