Changing Urban Education Trends : Case Study of a ‘Small Town’ in Madhya Pradesh
This paper looks at the shifts in education over the last three decades in a small Madhya Pradesh town called Pipariya. Pipariya is unique due to its location and rich history of social movements. Decades of neo-liberal reforms have not urbanized Pipariya and it remains bereft of any infrastructural development, industry, and private or government-run health and education facilities. However, privatization policies in education have impacted Pipariya’s school system in multiple ways, including the decline of the best government schools and the opening of private schools, which resulted in the middle classes exiting state institutions. The paper explores the changing educational and occupational aspirations of the people of the town. Choices for marginalized communities are limited to competing for a few lower-level teaching, banking, and bureaucratic jobs. The privatization of education is, therefore, widening the social and economic divide and increasing inequalities. The paper also explores how the town has emerged as a supplier of students to the expanding coaching industry in the state and beyond.