Citizenship in a democracy involves many intellectual, social and moral qualities . . . . . a democratic citizen should have the understanding and the intellectual integrity to sift truth from falsehood, facts from propaganda and to reject the dangerous appeal of fanaticism and prejudice . . . . . should neither reject the old because it is old nor accept the new because it is new, but dispassionately examine both and courageously reject what arrests the forces of justice and progress . . . . . ~ Secondary Education Commission (1952)
The Common School System implies that the conventional notion of quality of education, meant for a school system rooted in inequality and exclusion, is examined afresh and reformulated. The curricular changes also have to take into account the recent developments in learning theories and powerful concepts such as construction of knowledge by children. Further, the paradigm shift in the global economic order during the 1990s has raised public expectations for an appropriate response from the school system, both to resist its anti-people ideological content and to ensure that knowledge is used for advancing the cause of human welfare, rather than of the market and the finance capital. While formulating this response, we have to keep in mind the obligations flowing out of the Constitution to create a democratic, secular, egalitarian and enlightened society. This is where the Common School System provides the essential framework for reconstructing India’s curriculum and the way it is transacted at various stages of education. What follows in this section is a critical appraisal of the present curriculum in India from this standpoint in order to delineate the future agenda of reconstruction.