Education rarely has a lurid moment – what political scientists call a focusing event (like current farmer’s unrest) – that, while horrific, can draw attention to an issue and mobilize action. Even if we do, it seldom points directly at issues of socioeconomic class and inequality. Rather, moments of educational inequity happen quietly, day after day, in places like classrooms and school-board meeting rooms, often at the hands of people who mean no harm.
If there’s a silver lining for education in the simultaneous crises of pandemic and state apathy, maybe it’s an increased public willingness to take a closer look at our education systems and the countless inequities they inherit, reproduce, and create. Of course, not everyone will want to look. Some will, though, and perhaps they will see just how defining those inequities are and what we could do about them. Institutional racism doesn’t just affect adults but children in K-12 schools as well. Anecdotes from families, research studies, and discrimination stories all reveal that economically weaker children face bias in schools.
For example, there are two popular boards offering Secondary and Sr. Secondary Education in India: NIOS open board and others CBSE / ICSE which are class-room boards. Though there are several state boards that do not make national presence, offering regular studies. The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), formerly National Open School, is the board of education under Government of India and was established to impart affordable / worthy formal learning?
The private schools, employers and training businesses will always downplay importance of free or self education to safeguard their own profiteering models. While in 360 days each year, our smart digital governments are only focused on its “election victory machines“, and must support its bhakts and some greedy capitalist funders by just outsourcing its social responsibility for extending privilege to outputs of CBSE / ICSE brands, thereby encouraging mild economic racism for bumper votes ROI helping spread its own brand of “imperial tentacles”!
A good teacher recognizes that social & economic racism exists in our school system. Good teacher agrees that to do nothing about that racism in our school system is to be complicit. Good teacher makes a commitment to fight against elite supremacy in school systems by working with communities and by allowing their work to be led by those communities. It teaches how those communities have in the past advocated for themselves and how they continue to advocate for themselves. In many ways, it’s this banality that feels so dangerous. It’s that so much of the problem lies in plain sight and still can be so difficult for many of us to see. Hopefully the circumstances of the moment will help us see those problems, and their solutions, more clearly. Not only in terms of Online learning, e-Learning, digital education, mobile app, etc – which are just intermediary tools.