Some time during the Emer gency in India, the late J.P. Naik presented at a seminar in Pune his new programme of educational reform. Inspired by Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and his action programme for ‘conscientization’ of the oppressed in favour of social change, Naik proposed substitution of ‘literacy’ by ‘poliracy’ (political literacy) as the necessary input for the achievement of what, as a sincere liberal, he called ‘social justice’. Nothing reveals better than Naik’s own writings do the fate of the reformists’ optimism about a liberal-democratic transformation of the pre-Independence system of education in India. Shortly before his ‘poliracy’ thesis, Naik had called the Indian education system an ‘elusive triangle’ of equality, quality and quantity. This triangle, he thought, could crystallize into reality only through an adequate conscientization of the ‘unequals’ through a mass poliracy programme. The state as the leading agent of educational transformation had failed him, and Basic Education had visibly become a non-starter. M.K. Pandhe’s Political Content of Education (1977) is a significant collection of the papers presented at the Pune Seminar. A.B. Shah’s Naik Festschrift collection, The Social Context of Education, came one year later.
THE ‘ELUSIVE TRIANGLE’
Elementary Education in India: Myth, Reality, Alternative by John Kurrien Vikas Publishing House, Delhi, 1983, 247 pp., 125.00
The Crisis and Collapse of Higher Education in Indiaby J.D. Sethi Vikas Publishing House, Delhi, 1983, 233 pp., 125.00
Administration of Education in Indiaby P.D. Shukla Vikas Publishing House, Delhi, 1983, 216 pp., 95.00