Underprivileged children’s trials and tribulations of learning a new language

Before delving into the associated aspects, it is imperative to ascertain what “underprivileged” means. According to Merriam-Webster, the term underprivileged refers to the population deprived of their fundamental rights due to economic or social conditions. India is on a fast path to development. With the advent of new policies explicitly dealing with the issue of children’s education to ensure maximum participation and emphasis on local/regional language, India is bound to overcome the problem of the underprivileged being left out of the loop of education. (more…)

COVID-19 and Education: Impact and Future Preparedness

When Nelson Mandela famously said: “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world,” little did we know that a day would come when this essential weapon would be at a treacherous risk. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting people worldwide irrespective of nationality or race, the education system has faced the most significant blow the generation has ever witnessed. It has impacted about 80 percent of the young learners worldwide, with 1.53 billion learners out of school due to the massive interruption to access to education. As online education overthrew conventional school education, even the mere experience of an online classroom setup remains a distant dream for many. (more…)

Policy Advocacy: A collaborative and democratic approach to solving societal issues in India

Policies are clear plans about how a social, political, or economic vision will be achieved and how ideas will be implemented as actions. Policy advocacy can be defined as efforts taken by organizations or groups of individuals to promote a governmental policy and champion it with the help of resources such as groundwork, detailed research, social media marketing, public education, lobbying, and litigation. Policy advocacy can be symbolic and a representation of true democracy being practiced in a free nation. Policy advocacy is initiated by citizens, acting individually or as a collective (Reid, 2001) often represented by nonprofit organizations (Reed, 2006). To elaborate on the tools for policy advocacy, organizations can resort to building public favor by addressing the policy and whether it needs to be implemented, improved, or prevented. In a country like India where a myriad of marginalized groups exist, steering government policies towards the right direction becomes an important job for the Non-Governmental Organisations/Civil Society Organisations and various other organizations who work with the people on a grassroots level. The first step would be to detect the loopholes in a particular policy- this can be achieved by doing subsequent research and collecting data. The research would just not be limited to finding faults but it would also help generate solutions to bridge the gaps. The next and the most important step is to involve stakeholders of the society who are directly affected by the policy decisions and also the ones who would actively contribute to correct the policy to achieve its goals (for the betterment of the society). The final step lies in execution which requires lobbying and providing the decision makers with solutions through findings accompanied by the voices of the concerned citizens who were mobilized by the organizations.  (more…)

Deciphering the Status of the Electoral Bonds Scheme

As the country geared up for the State Assembly Elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, and Puducherry recently, a new wave of political rebuttal surfaced after the Supreme Court reserved its order on a plea that demanded a stay on the sale of electoral bonds. An electoral bond is a promissory note that can be anonymously bought by any Indian citizen or company incorporated in India from select branches of the State Bank of India to be donated to any eligible political party of their choice. Since its inception in 2018, the electoral bonds scheme has stirred a debate among the transparency activists who fear the scheme to turn into a scam; only this time it would be completely legitimized. (more…)

Matters of Legislation: Dynamics between the Centre and the States

Did you ever raise an eyebrow over the fact that India with its strong federal structure is not a federation? For a sovereign nation to be called a federation, the legislative powers between the Centre and the States need to be divided in an independent manner such that they remain within their sphere. Unlike the American Federation, India was called a Union of States as its formation was not the result of an agreement by the States and no State can secede from it. According to BR Ambedkar and the Drafting Committee of 1947, the indestructibility of our federal nation made it a Union. (more…)

Gender Studies in School Education: Redefining the Policy Approach

The sorting of bodies into binary categories has been used for labor division and for identifying key differences in personality traits over the past centuries most of which has led to adverse consequences for gender identities. Gender studies, therefore, as an academic discipline aims to demystify these categories and introduces fluidity as an important aspect of gender. Most importantly, gender as a lived experience affects an individual’s social location and opportunities, therefore, its consequences demand careful examination. Gender can be defined as “both a term that refers to relationships of power, and a category of analysis and knowledge as an analytical tool”. Gender as a field of study is thus meant to teach us how to use such information for analysis to expand our understanding and execute inclusive policies.  (more…)