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Max Weber Foundation Transnational Research Group - India

“Poverty Reduction and Policy for the Poor between the State and Private Actors: Education Policy in India since the Nineteenth Century”


In order to generate innovative results within a time frame of five years, the TRG has concentrated primarily on a series of specific projects within the wider framework of its overall topic of Poverty Reduction and Policy for the Poor between the State and Private Actors: School Systems and Mass Education in Colonial and Post-Colonial Contexts. The sub-projects of the TRG have adopted a multi-perspective and interdisciplinary approach. Inter- and transdisciplinary discussions will also be pursued through joint workshops and conferences. The expertise of the TRG –partners lies primarily in disciplines such as educational sociology and economics, educational history, and cultural, religious and social history.

The Transnational Research Group has designated seven research areas for which PhD and postdoctoral grants have been awarded and for which postdoctoral applications for funding or research collaboration in any other form are invited:

  1. Nineteenth and twentieth-century global educational reform movements and their impact on universal schooling in India.
  2. The quest for universal elementary/school education, the private sector and edu-business.
  3. Caste discrimination and education policy.
  4. Industrial restructuring, informalization, and their consequences for access to elementary education.
  5. Adult education and the popularisation of practical scientific knowledge.
  6. Industrial and technical institutions and the resignification of manual labour.
  7. The impact of schooling on life histories.

Key Moments of Education Policy towards the Poor

Since 1 November 2014, the TRG has developed a collaborative project entitled “Key Moments of Education Policy towards the Poor” as part of its overall research agenda. As a collaborative format, the “Key Moments” project foregrounds issues of policy at both the all-India and provincial/state levels. It seeks to develop a new chronology of educational developments in modern India that particularly affect the disprivileged. The main objectives of the project are:

  • To supplement individual case studies and facilitate exchange and collaboration within the TRG, and with other researchers, under a common topic; for this purpose, several workshops and an international conference are envisaged;
  • To identify, in the process and as a result of the project, key moments of education policy directed at the ‘poor’ in the 19th and 20th centuries;
  • To create an open electronic resource depository consisting of a multilingual collection of digitalized documents on “Key Moments of Education Policy towards the Poor”, including (1) Official reports and publications from the central as well as provincial/state levels; (2) reports and publications by social reform movements, and non-state educational bodies; (3) Media coverage of key policy debates.

Identifying “Key Moments” of Education Policy towards the Poor

Thematic Pillars (sub-projects)

Envisioned Results