Friday, October 16, 2009

Kumar Rana on "Home Task"

Kumar Rana at the Pratichi Trust Annual Symposium, Shantiniketan, August 2009

'' 'Home Task' is the required period of intensive study time at home for primary school-aged children in India. As far as I know, India is the only nation in the world that mandates that her primary-aged school children must engage in extensive amounts of time devoted to their studies outside of the classroom setting. Here in West Bengal, as in most Indian states, this mandatory requirement is routinely adhered to. 

Sadly, the lack of proper 'Home Task' facilitation for poorer students throughout India is one of serious concern, leading to huge disparities between the social classes. Students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are unable to receive assistance 'memorizing their textbooks' and doing other exercises because their families are unable to afford private tutoring, in stark contrast to their wealthier peers whose parents can afford such expenditures. 

This constrained context for economically disadvantaged children produces a clear case of class division that can only be eradicated through radical and systemic change. This change must include a major overhaul in the curriculum and syllabus of primary school education in India that will close disparities between rich and poor students. We intend to publish a study and recommendations in December, with the formal assistance and release by Professor Sen, to address this most serious disparity facing the economically disadvantaged children of India."

- Kumar Rana