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Education: Politics and Politicization


Education is essential for the development of any country. It is the key to economic growth, social progress, and a better quality of life for all. By investing in education, countries can create a brighter future for themselves and their people, nevertheless, the politics and politicization of education need introspection.

Education is essential for the development of any country. It is the key to economic growth, social progress, and a better quality of life. Education helps to create a more skilled and productive workforce which leads to higher levels of economic growth and prosperity. A study by the World Bank found that every additional year of schooling for a child can increase their lifetime earnings by 10%. Education helps to promote social progress by reducing poverty, inequality, and discrimination. It also helps to build a more cohesive and democratic society. A study by the Brookings Institution found that every additional year of schooling for a child can reduce their risk of poverty by 12%. Education helps to improve the quality of life for all citizens by providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives. A study by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics found that countries with higher levels of education have lower rates of infant mortality, maternal mortality, and HIV/AIDS infection.

Education is a powerful tool that can be used to improve the lives of the people.

Education is a powerful tool that can be used to improve the lives of all citizens. By investing in education, countries can create a brighter future for themselves and their people.

There’s a difference between politics and politicization in relation to education.  Neither individual nor institution whether it is educational or social or cultural can be separated from politics.  Politics refers to power hierarchies at work in all human activities. In educational institutions political awareness in students and teachers is essential to decode the power play at work at all levels of social and economic activities. 

How politics can influence education?
  • Curriculum and instruction: The government can influence what is taught in schools by setting curriculum standards and providing funding for specific programs. For example, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 required states to develop standardized tests in reading and math and to use the results of those tests to measure the performance of schools and teachers. This had a significant impact on the curriculum in many schools, as teachers focused on teaching the material that would be covered on the tests.
  • Funding: The government provides the majority of funding for public schools. This means that the government has a great deal of influence over how schools are run and what resources they have. For example, the government can decide how much money to spend on teachers’ salaries, textbooks, and school buildings. This can have a major impact on the quality of education that students receive.
  • Governance: The government also plays a role in the governance of schools. In many countries, the government appoints school boards, which are responsible for making decisions about the schools in their district. This means that the government has a say in matters of who is in charge of schools and how these schools are run.

In addition to these direct influences, politics can also influence education in more indirect ways. For example, the political climate can shape the public’s opinion of education, which can then influence how much support schools receive. Similarly, the political party in power can have a say in the appointment of key education officials, such as the Secretary of Education in the United States.

The politicization of education has been a tool in the hands of the ruling class to impose its views on people through institutional machinery.

But politicization is a different ball game. Politicization refers to the interference of political ideologies in the affairs of the institutions especially by the ruling and dominant political power.  Any such interference results in the forceful imposition of a particular political position on the affairs of the institutions like governance, curriculum design, etc. So politicization would result in producing docile, uncritical students who cannot question powerful ideologies for fear of being victimized.  The politicization of education has been a tool in the hands of the ruling class to impose its views on people through institutional machinery. Whether it is textbook revision or matters related to the funding of education, politicization is detrimental to the overall health of educational practices.

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The politicization of education in India has been a long and ongoing process. It began soon after independence in 1947 when the new Government began to formulate education policies that would reflect its own ideological and political goals. These policies have been shaped by a number of factors, including the country’s history, its religious and cultural diversity, and the changing political landscape.

One of the most significant ways in which education has been politicized in India is through the issue of secularism. The Indian Constitution guarantees secularism, but there has been a long-standing debate about how this principle should be interpreted and implemented in education. Some groups have argued that secularism should mean that all religious groups should be treated equally in schools, while others have argued that it should mean that religion should be kept out of schools altogether. This debate has often been heated and politicized, and it has had a significant impact on the curriculum and teaching methods in Indian schools.

Another way in which education has been politicized in India is through the issue of language. The country is home to a wide variety of languages, and there has been a long-standing debate about which language should be the medium of instruction in schools. Some groups have argued that the Official language of the Government of India, Hindi, should be the only medium of instruction, while others have argued that regional languages should be given equal status. This debate has also been heated and politicized, and it has had a significant impact on the education system in India.

Also Read: Implementation of NEP 2020 in Higher Education: Challenges & Way Forward

In addition to these two major issues, education has also been politicized in India through a number of other factors, such as the caste system, the role of women in society, and the economic development of the country. The politicization of education has had a number of negative consequences, including the decline in the quality of education, the rise of communalism, and the marginalization of certain groups of students. However, it has also had some positive consequences, such as increased awareness of social issues and the promotion of social justice.

The politicization of education is likely to continue to be a major issue in India in the years to come. The country’s diverse population and its complex political landscape will continue to make it difficult to develop a truly secular and inclusive education system. However, there are also a number of groups working to promote educational reform, and there is hope to overcome politicization of education in the future.

The politicization of education has had several negative consequences. It has led to a decline in the quality of education in India, as schools have been forced to focus on political issues rather than on teaching. It has also led to increased social and religious divisions, as different groups have sought to use education to promote their own agendas.

Despite these challenges, there are still some efforts being made to depoliticize education in India. The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005, for example, emphasizes the need for education to be secular and unbiased. However, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will be successful in the long term.

The politicization of education in India has increased significantly in recent years. This has been due to several factors, including the rise of Hindu nationalism, the increasing role of the state in education, and the growing influence of political parties and student organizations.

NEP has been criticized by some for its promotion of Hindu nationalism and its over-emphasis on Sanskrit and other classical Indian languages.

One of the most significant examples of the politicization of education in recent years has been the introduction of the National Education Policy (NEP) in 2020. The NEP has been criticized by some for its promotion of Hindu nationalism and its over-emphasis on Sanskrit and other classical Indian languages. Critics have also argued that the NEP will lead to the marginalization of minority groups and that it will stifle academic freedom.

Another example of the politicization of education in recent years has been the controversy surrounding the removal of chapters on Mughal history from school textbooks. The removal of these chapters has been seen by some as an attempt to whitewash history and promote a Hindu nationalist view of India.

The politicization of education has also been evident in the increasing number of political protests on college campuses. In recent years, there have been protests against the government’s policies on a variety of issues, including Kashmir, the Citizenship Amendment Act, and the National Register of Citizens. These protests have often led to clashes between students and the police, and they have raised concerns about the safety of students and the freedom of expression in college campuses.

The politicization of education is a serious problem that has had a number of negative consequences. It has undermined academic freedom, disrupted the educational process, and promoted intolerance and discrimination. There are several steps that can be taken to address this problem, including strengthening academic freedom, promoting tolerance and understanding, and depoliticizing the educational process.

In addition to the above, here are some other recent examples of the politicization of education in India: The government’s decision to rename universities after Hindutva icons. The introduction of “patriotic” education programs in schools.The harassment of students and professors who express dissenting views.The increasing use of social media to spread political propaganda.

The politicization of education is a serious threat to the future of India. It is important to take steps to protect academic freedom and to ensure that education remains a place of learning and intellectual inquiry.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are of the author solely. TheRise.co.in neither endorses nor is responsible for them. Reproducing this content without permission is prohibited.

About the author

Prof. Ashok Kumar is former Vice-Chancellor of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya University, Gorakhpur (U.P.) & CSJM University, Kanpur, (U.P.), Nirwan University, Jaipur, Rajasthan, and Shri Kallaji Vedic University, Nimbahera, Rajasthan. He is President of the Social Research Foundation, International Society of Life Sciences.


Ashok Kumar

Prof. Ashok Kumar is former Vice-Chancellor of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya University, Gorakhpur (U.P.) & CSJM University, Kanpur, (U.P.), Nirwan University, Jaipur, Rajasthan, and Shri Kallaji Vedic University, Nimbahera, Rajasthan. He is President of the Social Research Foundation, International Society of Life Sciences.

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  • Anonymous

    the history books we studied at school were written from an invader’s point of view. we hardly ever read about leaders indigenous to this land. there are tons of great men and women who fought for swaraj were not given a place in our history books. some were given few lines only. we did not learn about the genocide caused by mughal invaders. you talk about hindu nationalism and its effects on education. so is it our fault that certain community of our country identify themselves with looters. the very first page of any history book in india starts with a myth ‘ the aryan invasion theory’. these distorians and their lack of sense in scientific mode of history made us believe that there is nothing worth mentioning about the indigenous people of this landmass. so you think we must read about rapists rather than an emperor who worshipped shakti…nice logic. the list is long trust me. go find a goof history book and read it.. make sure it is not written by distorians like romila thappar or irfan habib.

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