The Government of Rajiv Gandhi has shown exceptional determination and consistency in its efforts to remodel education. The New Education Policy, announced in 1986, found its first major manifestation next year, when linkage between a much-delayed payrise for college and university teachers and retrogressive changes in their service conditions provoked an all-India teachers' strike. Since then, a whole series of innovations have been implemented, or announced. Model Navodaya schools for a minority in the countryside is accompanied by an emphasis upon vocational, non-formal or audio-rural 'distance* education method for the less-fortunate 39 out of 64 million new entrants. Plans are well-advanced to entirely scrap the present structure of affiliating universities. In its place instead, we are going to have 'autonomous* departments in universities and 'autonomous* colleges under a centralized Accreditation and Assessment Council. National qualifying tests have been introduced for research scholars and college teachers, the UGC is trying to impose a 40 hour week in colleges, huge sums are being spent on orientation/refresher courses, and a highly anti-democratic Hospitals and Other Institutions Bill banning strikes remains pending before Parliament.
In the present special number of Social Scientist, ten contributers take a close look at various aspects of Indian education and the ways in which it is being restructured. We begin with Badri Raina offering a brief historical survey. An interview with MMP Singh, President of the Delhi University Teachers* Association, reviews government policies and the phases, perspectives and responsibilities of the all-India teachers* movement. This is followed by an analysis, of the implications of the 'autonomy of which so much is being heard nowadays, and a case-study of an orientation course by two teachers, who recently had the *priviledge* of the attending it. Alok Rai, and Kamal Datta expose the perspectives before humanities and science teaching. The elitsit implications of the New Education Policy on school education are examined by Geetha Nambissan and Poonam Batra. Two activists from the Ekalavya group of Madhya Pradesh present fascinating details about the functioning of village schools, and review the possibilities and limits of the work of volunteer groups. The biases of the 'objective' type examinations are brought out by K.