The February 2017 Student/Country Focus is provided by Deepa Idnani from India.
Deepa in Oxford
Deepa Idnani is working as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Education, SPM College, University of Delhi, India.
Greetings from India!
In India, I attended a Christian missionary school and completed a masters in Political Science and Education as well as a MPhil. In 2015-16, I was awarded the Commonwealth Scholarship for my Doctoral work at the UCL Institute of Education, London. As an international student, IOE events provided an amazing forum for understanding cross cultural perspective and contexts. In addition, being able to experience and participate at UCL in different clubs and societies added a new facet to my personality.
With the passage of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, free and compulsory education is a fundamental right for children between the ages of 6 and 14 in India. After the completion of secondary education students can choose among the three different streams: Science, Commerce and Humanities.
At the undergraduate level there are different courses ranging from Science, Commerce and Humanities Pass & Honors to professional courses like Engineering, Medical, Law, Commercial Accountancy (CA & ICWA) etc. The courses offered are highly selective but based on ‘affirmative action’ for different sections of society.
To me, universities generally are seen as places of learning and research, but within them, there is also a ‘critical space’ for freedom and reflection which has been part of my ethos and helped nurture my aspirations and dreams. In London, the rich and diverse libraries and the accessibility of resource materials facilitate researchers' interests and help us venture into different domains and set our own boundaries.
My research explores the student - teacher relationship focusing on ‘teacher’s authority’ in a secondary school in India. This ethnographic work provides deep insights around teachers’ and students’ everyday lived reality in a school, from a Weberian lens. I have presented my research at international forums like the European Sociological Association, British Educational Research Association and at the University of Cambridge which helped me develop a new model and push the frontiers of knowledge in my area of research.
In 2017, I published Right to Education and Schooling (in the IOE Library) which explores critical thinking around the Right to Education Act (RTE) in India in its different facets ranging from its historical antecedents to contemporary times. The various provisions of the Act have been discussed, apart from its implementation and the challenges faced. The book draws from a range of empirical studies which will help in improving good practice among practitioners and researchers.