The governance of families in India: education, rights and responsibility

R. Maithreyi, Arathi Sriprakash*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the shifting relations between the family and the state in Indian education policy. It charts how family resources, responsibility, and participation have been variously called upon by the state across three historical conjunctures of education reform: the decades of post-independence planning for school expansion and nation-building after 1947; the global development era of economic liberalisation and decentralisation in the 1990s and early 2000s; and the present turn to a rights-based approach in the context of intensified educational marketisation, as marked by the 2009 Right to Education Act (RTE). Across these periods, we identify an enduring paternalism of welfare governance alongside strategies for devolving state responsibility in matters of school education. The analysis situates the conditions of family responsibility for education under the contemporary RTE, in which parents are expected to be ‘morally’ compelled to meet the state's education goals. Through this analysis, we bring to the fore the politics of family governance in education policy, a politics that is largely overlooked by, despite being central to, research on education and international development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-369
Number of pages18
JournalComparative Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Provisional acceptance date added to record, based on publication information.

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Comparative and International Research in Education


  • Governmentality
  • marketisation
  • neo-liberalism
  • participatory development
  • Right to Education


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