The Shadow Spaces of India’s Higher Education: The Rising Coaching Industry
In this seminar, anthropologist Jakob Williams Ørberg (Aarhus University) explores the role of coaching in the educational lives of India’s aspiring youth.
The shadow education sector of private tuition and coaching is gaining ground across the globe, and especially in Asian countries. This sector offers students at primary and secondary levels opportunities for focused repetition of school curricula, as well as studies that go beyond what is usually taught in the class room. In India, tuition focused directly on admission exams for top schools in medicine, engineering and accounting is gaining ground and for many students supplanting secondary education entirely.
Based on his ongoing fieldwork among Indian engineering students, Ørberg shows how the rise of the coaching industry raises new questions about quality and equality in admission processes; about students’ conceptualization of their studies and educational trajectories; and about the very meaning of educational qualifications in contemporary India. Increasingly, the educational institutions’ control of student entry is contested and undermined by the students’ systematic preparation through coaching; and the study method of students upon entry is influenced by methodologies and knowledge foundations acquired through coaching. Rather than being a mere ‘shadow’ of the formal sector, coaching is in fact co-constitutive of Indian higher education itself.
We will serve Christmas-themed refreshments and wine.
Jakob Williams Ørberg is an anthropologist working at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University.