Participation of All Children:

Participation by itself has little meaning. It is the ideological framework surrounding participation that defines it and gives it a political construct. For example, work participation within an authoritarian frame would give participation a very different form from participation within a democracy. Today, the participation of ‘civil society’ has become part of the rhetoric in developmental circles, but the nature of that civil society and the object of that participation have been moulded by a specific interpretation of what it means to be a citizen. Today, civil society participation has come to mean NGO participation, and attempts to enable the participation of individual citizens, for example, in local governance is posing a major challenge. 

India is one of the largest and oldest democracies in the world; this curriculum framework is built on an understanding of this foundation. Education defines the fabric of a nation, and has the capacity to provide each child a positive experience of democratic functioning. Like the texture, colour, strength, and nature of each thread that is woven into a tapestry, each Indian child can be enabled to not only participate in a democracy, but to also learn how to interact and form partnerships with others to preserve and enhance democracy. It is the quality and nature of the interrelationships among individuals that determines the socio-political fabric of our nation. However, children are often socialised in to discriminatory practices. Children and adults learn from what they experience at home, the community and the world around them. It is important to recognise that adults socialise children within the dominant socio-cultural paradigm. This paradigm would include the role models that children see the mass media including television. This experience conditions their perceptions of caste and class, gender, democracy and justice. These perceptions, if and when reinforced by repeated experiences of the same kind, are converted into values. At a community level, when a group of people have the same experience and therefore share the same values, these values get converted into culture, and sometimes even ideology. This is a spiral, and each time the cycle is repeated the values and culture get reinforced unless there is a variation in the experience. The counter - experience needs to be strong and real enough to transform the earlier perceptions. Children cannot wake up one fine morning when they are 18 and know how to participate in, preserve and enhance a democracy, especially if they have had no prior personal or even second - hand experience of it, nor any role models to learn from. 

The participation of children is a means to a much larger end, that of preserving and adding a new vibrancy to our culture of egalitarianism, democracy, secularism and equality. These values can be best realised through an integrated and well-designed curriculum that enables children’s participation. The existing environment of unhealthy competition in schools promotes values that are the antithesis of the values enshrined in our Constitution. A positive ‘experience’ of democracy and democratic participation must be provided both within and outside the school. This experience must actively engage children and young people in ways that encourage values of inclusion, eventually leading the way to the realisation of the vision of a participatory democracy. 

Enabling democratic participation is also a means of empowering the weak and the marginalised. If India is to realise her dream of a nation based on egalitarianism, democracy and secularism, where all her citizens enjoy justice, liberty, equality and fraternity, enabling the participation of children would be the most fundamental step in this process. Enabling learning through participation in the life of a community and the nation at large is crucial to the success of schooling. The failure to provide this will result in the failure of the system, and hence needs to be treated as the utmost priority. It is not only as essential as the teaching of mathematics and science, but takes on even greater importance as an indispensable component of all disciplines. It is a running theme, and has to be integrated into all learning processes and arenas, and given top priority in the development of all curricula and syllabi.
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Clear CTET - Coaching Institute for CTET, DSSSB and KVS: Participation of All Children
Participation of All Children
Clear CTET - Coaching Institute for CTET, DSSSB and KVS
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