Our faculty, students and researchers work together everyday to contribute to a better world by grappling with urgent problems we are facing in India. We conduct rigorous work to produce high quality learning resources and publications to contribute to public discourse and social change. Here, we feature a sample from our work for everyone to access. You can explore featured resources, policies, and the latest publications from the University.
To explore all the work of our University, please visit our publications repository.
in International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague; Wiley
India’s 2009 Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act presents an idealised social contract which assigns roles to multiple actors to uphold a mutual duty, or collective responsibility, to secure children’s access to a quality school education. This article explores how the social contract assumed by the RTE Act misrepresents the conditions required to enact mutual responsibilities as well as actors’ agreement to do so. Qualitative data from Bihar and Rajasthan show how state actors, parents, community groups and teachers negotiate and contest the RTE Act norms. The analysis illuminates the unequal conditions and ever-present politics of accountability relations in education. It problematises the idealisation of the social contract in education reform: it proposes that if the relations of power and domination through which ‘contracts’ are entered into remain unaddressed, then expressions of ‘mutual’ responsibility are unlikely to do other than reproduce injustice. It argues that policy discourses need to recognise and attend to the socially situated contingencies of accountability relations and that doing so would offer an alternative pathway toward addressing structural inequalities and their manifestations in education.