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Education in early postcolonial India: expansion, experimentation and planned self-help

Sherman, Taylor C. (2018) Education in early postcolonial India: expansion, experimentation and planned self-help. History of Education, 47 (4). pp. 504-520. ISSN 0046-760X

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Identification Number: 10.1080/0046760X.2017.1413214


After independence India’s leaders, including its first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, committed the country to democracy with universal franchise and to pursuing a socialistic pattern of society. As part of these interlocking projects, it was widely recognised that India’s educational systems needed reform. However, with scarce resources, Indian policy-makers faced the dilemma of whether to improve the existing system, which served a narrow, urban elite, or expand it to the entire population, as the Constitution promised they would. This overview of education policy in the first two decades after 1947 finds that at the Centre, Indian planning did not monopolise control over education. Rather, India’s was a socialism of scarcity, which relied on self-help efforts by the people to build the institutions of the welfare state. However, by relying on communities to use their own resources to build local schools, this DIY socialism entrenched existing inequalities.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: International History
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2017 15:54
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2024 17:06

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