Seminar on 'Sociology of Education in India: Looking Back and Looking Ahead' March 9-10 2006
<b>(JNU)Sociology of Education in India:
Looking Back and Looking Ahead</b>
Zakir Hussain Centre for Educational Studies, School
of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Seminar in Honour of Professor Karuna Chanana
March 9-10 2006
A two days long brain storming seminar in honour of
Prof. Karuna Chanana, one of the leading Sociologists
in the area of Sociology of Education, brought issues
related to the institutional domain and discipline,
changing contexts, knowledge construction and learning
processes, identity exclusion and inclusion,
contemporary concerns, equity and discrimination and
The seminar had Eight sessions chaired by renowned
Sociologists of the country- Prof. Yogendra Singh,
Prof. T.K.Oomen, Prof. Andre Beteille, Prof. Ratna
Naidu, Prof. S.L. Sharma, Prof. Avijeet Pathak, Prof.
Mohin Anjum et.al. The session started rather with an
emotional note highlighting Prof. Karuna Chananas
contribution towards the discipline and as an
academician of repute.
In the first session, both Prof. Chitnis and Prof.
Karuna Chanana presented paper on institutional domain
and disciplinary trajectory. They identified several
problems that academia is facing, institutional
constraints of Sociology of Education, intellectual
fragmentation and social and intellectual changes.
Prof. Suma Chitnis, in her paper among other points,
emphasized the need for network and voluntary work in
academics. She also mentioned about the academic
contribution towards the policy and programme
implementation. Education is instrumental in bringing
radical change in society. She said that School and
education should work towards social justice.
Prof. Chitnis emphasized the importance of funding on
institutions and disciplines and she also argued that
the importance of the disciplines also depend on the
national standing of the faculty.
Session II was chaired by Prof. S.L. Sharma and had
papers that addressed the issue of privatization of
education at University, IITs and general education.
Session III was chaired by Prof Avijeet Pathak. The
session has thrown insights on the several
socio-psychological aspects of knowledge construction
and learning process. Prof Krishna Kumar delve into
the psychology of children and the context in which
the child learn. He mentioned the illusion that with
the advanced tools of storage and transmission of
information that we process, a democratic distribution
of knowledge is possible for the first time in the
history of the world. Techno-knowledge is possible for
the first time in the history of the world.
Techno-hallucination also hampers our capacity to
notice how division of labour, and the allocation of
work-related identities, are changing in a manner
which gives overwhelmingly greater leverage to
employers than labour can expect to have in this phage
of economic development. Observing the current state
of professional work culture and skills that the
education institutions needed to impart, Prof. Kumar
argues that the average worker of the globalizing
economy is moderately skilled, highly replaceable, and
endowed with a view of life in which periods of
employment are sporadic and they are not expected to
lend a lasting identity. He deplored the fate of
education in the present days saying education too is
adjusting to this ideal by casualizing its main
workforce, namely the teacher. He emphasized that
redefining aims of education in this era as judging
how the labour in different spheres, including
education, will respond to politics and technology
associated with globalization.
Session IV on Identity, Exclusion and Inclusion:
Education of the Minority and Women was chaired by
Prof. T.K. Oomen. The papers range from Minority
education, Gender and class in educational
Session V was chaired by Prof. Andre Beteille. The
session addressed the contemporary concerns/ issues of
higher education. In his introductory remark Prof.
Beteille highlighted how Universities survived but
always in changing form. This change, according to him
is nothing new. This shifting is occurring always.
Taking the example of Oxford University, he mentioned
that it changed its focus from theology to modern
disciplines. One should not think the boundaries of
any disciplines will remain the same all the time, he
Dr. G. Nagaraju had a very interesting presentation on
Globalization and Organization of Information
Technology Education. His presentation explored
several sociological factors that are associated with
IT. He mentioned IT education excludes certain
sections and include certain sections. He also
emphasized the point that IT education has negative
impact on other basic research and education such as
physics, chemistry, mathematics etc. He touched upon
certain interesting aspects of Andhra society of how
IT influences the status of bridegroom, why girls
prefer to join IT education in comparison with other
education, regional disparities and caste disparities
in accessing IT education.
Prof. Dhruv Raina emphasized on the preservation of
ideals of knowledge. Dr. Leena Abraham deplored the
gradual disappearance of the research Universities and
institutions. She attributed several factors to it
such as hierarchization of Universities and
institutions and subservient of university education
to the market demand.
Session VI was on Equity and Discrimination:
Education of the Schedule Castes. The session was
chaired by Prof. Mohini Anjum. Dr. Ravinder Kaur spoke
on reservation in IITs. Dr. S. Srinivas Rao
highlighted the discrimination faced by both teachers
as well as students in the IITs. Prof. Wankhede and
Prof. Padma Valaskar also highlighted the
discrimination in the Indian education system.
The concluding session was chaired by Prof. Ratna
Naidu. The session made reflection on the views of the
several speakers in the seminar. The seminar had
several enthusiastic participants from all generation
of sociologists as mentioned by Prof. Suma Chitnis.
Prof. Karuna Chananas contribution towards shaping up
the sociology of education in India as a discipline
and her role as a leader, guide and philosopher were
highlighted. The brain storming seminar which spanned
two-days was a success.
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