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Research Group: Education and the Urban – Research

The Changing Urban, Educational Aspirations and Opportunities: Perspectives from the Margins of Delhi City

Geetha B. Nambissan

This project maps the rapidly changing urban and educational landscape in the city of Delhi. It attempts to understand the implications of theses changes on the aspirations and strategies of social groups on the margins of the city. These are the groups that experience economic and social vulnerability because of poverty as well as marginalized identities of caste, ethnicity and minority status including segregated spatial locations where they reside. Gender also mediates marginality and influences opportunities for better life chances.

Urban Marginality, Aspirations and Experiences of Dalit Youth in Jaipur

Geetha B. Nambissan

This study looks at the perceptions and experiences of Dalit youth in Jaipur in relation to urban marginality because of their spatial location in a relatively segregated and stigmatised city space. It expands on an earlier study I undertook on the same group, but focuses specifically in teasing out the relation between education and the urban among social groups in one of the smaller cities of North India - Jaipur.

Inner city schools and the education of poor Muslim and Catholic children in colonial and postcolonial Kolkata

Indra Sengupta/ Akash Bhattacharya

Research questions: What is the relationship between urban spaces and pedagogy? How does the location of inner-city schools in densely populated, non-residential areas, drawing in children from poorer backgrounds living in such densely-populated, business areas affect classroom pedagogy? What kinds of differences in policy and practice of education of the urban poor existed between schools run by the government and private actors such as Catholic missions? How can one trace a history of education of the poor and the marginalised in cities from colonial times to the decade or so after independence from colonial rule?
The project is conceived of as a historical micro-study of two sets of schools, the first run by Catholic orders and date back to the middle years of the twentieth century and the second consisting of state-run schools set up by the municipal corporation of the city of Kolkata from the 1920s onwards for the education of poor children. With the help of official sources (records of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Department of Public Instruction of the Government of Bengal), mission records, printed texts, and oral narratives, we shall attempt to understand the interrelated nature of city space, education and social exclusion and inclusion.  

Urban Dislocations and Educational Strategies: Metro Rehabilitation Colony, Bengaluru

Shivali Tukdeo

Displacements, eviction and rehabilitation have become common aspects of urban development initiatives. Focusing on re-structuring of the city of Bengaluru over the last decade, this project pays greater attention to two rehabilitated colonies in the city. Metro train has been a signature feature of the post-2000 development in Indian cities starting with initial operations in Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and moving gradually to other cities. Capital intensive projects such as the metro rail highlight the linkages between public transportation, infrastructure-driven development and new ways of accessing and connecting to the city.
As the metro construction was underway the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) proceeded to acquire land in the city. Two settlements, centrally located and densely populated, were cleared out and rehabilitated to the periphery of the city. For the resdents of these Bastis the dislocation meant two contrasting pieces of reality: loss of their social world and livelihood opportunities and acquisition of certain material resources as part of compensatory processes. How do families start-over in the ever changing city like Bangalore? How do they plan for educationof their children? Our field engagements began with the attempts to make sense of the political economy of urban dislocation and the place of education in re-settling. As interviews with residents of the two sites show, there is an intensification of the need to acquire good education. Resources of diverse kinds are deployed for educational access leading us to understand the imprints of privatisation, expansion of early childhood education and the limits of access to good education for the marginalised.

Discourses of public education in an industrial city: Bombay, 1900-1945

Nandini Manjrekar

Bombay (now Mumbai) was India's foremost industrial city in the early twentieth century, largely owing to the concentration of textile mills located in the city. Many scholars have drawn attention to the ways in which the mills came to constitute the city in many respects, and influenced policies related to its growth. The project will aim to explore the various discourses around education of children of the industrial workforce, in particular the setting up of schools in the mill district, also called Girangaon, by the Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC). Schooling in the BMC schools offered medium of instruction in nine languages, a striking reflection of the diversity of the workforce migrating from various regions of the country for employment in the city's mills. Many of these schools still exist, although in much altered form, having survived the impact of de-industrialisation in the area following the historic mill strike of the mid 1980s and the gradual closure of the mills since the 19990s. While there is a large body of scholarship on the Bombay mills and their relation to the city, worker organisations, welfare and rights, as well as the social and cultural lives of workers living in the area, the dimension of public schooling policies in the area has not been studied through a historical lens. The study is an archival project, drawing on available educational records of the BMC and other organisations invested in workers' welfare in the city of Bombay.