Although major progress has been made with regard to school education in India in the last two decades, access to quality education is still highly uneven. Hence, it can not be assumed a priori that school education is capability-enhancing. It certainly is for some children, but for many others it remains a dispiriting experience. This article discusses two examples of educational activism: forms of public action that seek to turn the vision that education can be liberating and capability-enhancing for all children into a reality. On the basis of fieldwork in two Indian states, the article documents the objectives, activities and modes of mobilizing people, as developed and employed by the MamidipudiVenkatarangaiya Foundation in Andhra Pradesh and the Pratichi (India) Trust in West Bengal. What these movements illustrate is that education can, indeed, be empowering and capability-enhancing - also for the poorest and most marginalized sections of society - but that, in a context of entrenched social inequalities, collective social and political action are required in order to develop this potential.

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The European Journal of Development Research
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Majumdar, M., & Mooij, J. (2016). Cultivating capabilities through activism: Examples from India. The European Journal of Development Research, 28(4), 646–659. doi:10.1057/ejdr.2015.31