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Multiculturalism , Community Knowledge and Critical Pedagogy : South Asian Perspective

May , 14, 2012 , Han yang University Seoul,South Korea

There is no human activity from which every form of intellectual participation can be excluded
Antonio Gramsci

Is it not true that the literates are unknown about the complete truth of human knowledge? Is it not true that our knowledge is incomplete with out

Indian culture is the constituent of many races, languages and religions. The caste system in Indian society has created many distinct identities among different social groups. People maintain their caste symbols through their own caste myth, epics, customs and folklore. Therefore culture in India is diverse and complex in its structure and function


Mother tongues 1576 Other Mother tongues 1796 Languages 122 Scheduled languages 22

India constitute 16 % of world population The Census of India (1961) recorded 1652 mother tongues with a much larger number of dialects which have been classified into 300 to 400 major languages But only 22 of these are official languages (Constitution of India) along with English (the associate official

22 major languages ( 21 modern Indian languages and Sanskrit as classical language) 184 languages with having more than 10,000 popn( 1991) 24 scripts used for writing Indian languages: 11 major scripts are used to write the major languages; 13 minor scripts are used for writing some minor and tribal languages. North East India, have chosen Roman script.

Mostly oral in nature Functional in domestic and community domain Expressed in their own language Two context of oral tradition Sacred ( mythic/ritualistic) Entertainment ( songs/tales/proverbs / epics etc)

Each of the community member irrespective of age and sex are the owner of oral tradition Priests : sacred narratives/ myths/mantras/ chanting Professional epic singers (cast bard) Amateur singers/storytellers among the community Even in modern society their oral tradition is still in living tradition, we dont try to find them.

623 tribal communities, with a total population of 84.3 million. This constitutes 8.2% of the total population (1028.6 million) (Census of India, 2001). The majority of these 80 million people live in rural, often remote, and economically underdeveloped areas.

1 .Urban puraRoyal- 2.written 3.power 4.sound economy 5.mobility 6. rapid change7.Language Sanskrit

8.Upper caste /class scripted knowledge

1.Rural- Palli people 2.oral 3.subjugation 4.poor economy 5.static 6. less change 7.Language regional / local, ethnic minority languages 8. experiential /oral knowledge

Cycle of Oral , written and oraland live performance Rich experiential knowledge in practice High philosophy of culture where life is transcendental Adaptability of new with old and Coexistence of past and present

Children's song Lullabies, play song, labour song, forest songs Ritual songs , love songs, songs in social and religious ceremony Prose and Poetry Narratives : Tales, legends and myths Epics/caste genealogies Proverbs and sayings

An integrated worldview where man, nature and spirit are inseparable They form the epistemic world associating the visible with the invisibles Life and plant are interchangeable( reflected in folktales and myths) Belief on life after death(Duma) underworld and rebirth of ancestor( past connected to the

Dance and music Art and craft Weaving clothes, beads and making ornaments Play and group dance



Caging the tiger/ fishing / Catching the animals/birds and hunting Processing the forest products Melting the iron/ preparation of liquor Using herbal medicine


as a large family Village headman as the organizer Village priest as the protector of the subjects Village shaman as the mediator of the Goddess and the human being Customary law


are secluded from the sacred centers They live in a secluded place Visible social barrier ( well, tank, temple) Traditional culture has perpetuated this in the society This inequalities has to be broken by


has the roots of social justice Therefore it is created by those who are marginalized and the oppressor s It believes in humanization( reflected in folk tales ethics and morals) It is a shared knowledge It is intergenerationally transmitted through collective memory

From Colonial to Democratic Multicultural Education

Current education represents the colonial western model. Those who are educated in this system are also the victim of Native Colonialism Due to colonialism, war and authoritarianism, many local cultures have been eroded and thus the knowledge system of the country has been destroyed by the outsiders. You are a human ,I am a human why do you threaten me ?( Kirpi Melaka a nonliterate girl from Kondh tribe) She has not studied in any

Dream Basic Education Vocational skill Spiritual and moral education Self sufficient Head, hand and heart Village self rule

Reality Much emphasis on Higher education Reading and writing skill No vocational skill Head only, no hand, no heart

For us Village is college Society is university A farmer is a professor of agriculture An old woman is a store house of knowledge

But the gap is that

Our college could not represent the villages Our University could not meet the social needs of the society.

1.The world is swiftly changing towards Globalization 2. Three is a need to counteract the deepening social inequalities and increasing marginalization and violence. 3. Need to recognize that diversities between individual and communities is a valuable resources that is different from social inequality

4.Need to educate individuals for a better citizen 5.Addressing increasing broader spectrum of issues 6. Co existence of advantages and disadvantages resulting from the impact

For Paulo Freire Education means A critical understanding of reality Making a commitment to Utopia and changing reality Training those who will make change Dialogue


on the relationship among culture ,power and domination Culture has to be viewed as a domain of struggle where the production and transmission of knowledge is always a contested process ( Joe Kincheloe)

Do we know that these colonial mind set .. Influence the school ? Curriculum and content ? Teachers attitude ? School management ? Classroom behaviours ? Learning of children ? if this is so , how can we get

Ensures ethnic identity Explores local knowledge that is unwritten Unravel the secrets of the universe Maintain bio diversities for a sustainable development Create a world of shared understanding of life by mutual respect and togetherness Higher human values like gender equity, community living, customary law, integrated worldview, maintain natural law, respect individual freedom

Study coexistence of races, languages and values due to Inter-state migration suggest solution for social harmony,influence educational policy Eco pedagogy by accepting the indigenous knowledge , and fighting global disaster Human Rights Peace and conflict resolution Equality of opportunity by ensuring

Believe that only objective knowledge given in the classroom through curriculum is not enough Students are subjects and cannot be the object of learning active participation of teachers and students can only make learning meaningful teachers should be ready to learn from the learners and end the hierarchy, and establish mutual learning process

Teacher is a researcher of his own school and community environment No school is possible without a community communitys culture matter in student centered pedagogy Learning is a joint productive activity Community has a lot to contribute in connecting re al world of the children with the curricular learning.

The teachers says Situation - 1 This children dont know the book language .How can I teach them ? Situation 2 I dont know the language of the children . How can they learn ? Am I really capable to teach them ? Now.. If the children dont know the school language , are they responsible or the school is responsible?

Do the state curriculum and text books responsive to the educational needs of tribal children? Does the teacher training module contain tribal education as the special focus?How many sessions for tribal education in the module) What are the training needs of tribal area teachers? What are the learning needs of tribal children? What are the hopes and fears of children

Do the teachers have training on importance of mother tongue in early primary classes? Do the teachers have training on acquisition of second language acquisition skill? Do the attitude and behavior of teachers affect the schooling of tribal children? Do our teacher- training Institutes have adequate academic facilities to impart tribal education below the district level?

Am I really powerful enough to address the tribal children in the classroom, if I dont know the language of the children? Why the tribal children are non responsive, in spite of my efforts? Is the training which is imparted is sufficient or suitable to me to make the tribal children effective and responsive in the tribal area schools? Knowingly or unknowingly, do my behaviour, language hurts the children, and discourage them to come to school?


a teacher do I know the socioeconomic and cultural background of the students? Am I concerned with the community as a part of knowledge and resource provider? As a teachers how do I connect me with the system , whether as a passive teaching machine or an active thinker of the politics of education. Is the current curriculum help to meet the basic needs of the most marginalized person of the village where I teach ?

That starts from the situation of the tribal culture; connected to life experience Strengthening self esteem and expanding the existing knowledge and skill system of the community/ learners Creating a community based pedagogy Practical use of knowledge Devising an interactive and reflexive learning teaching process by the teachers

It is not a good enough explanation to say that the decisions were taken at the state level. If we are to ensure participation of children of all groups in our secular education,, we will have to discuss our curricular choices with

bottom up approach - student and community must understand the type of education they require to meet their realities of life. State ideology must be democratic and should not consider teachers and students as the objects of learning and finishing the school syllabus. schools should be made free for innovation and multiple experimentations to meet the context sensitive issues of multiculturalism.


have to take part in the critical political discourse to restore democracy and not just domesticate the given knowledge of the text book to the students considering them as the objects of learning . Students are intellectuals and they equally share the knowledge while learning and teaching


should be a joint productive

activity It should be meaningful It should be connected to the realities of life It should eliminate discrimination by respecting the students irrespective of race, gender, religion and language It should be the blend of theory and practice

Asian world is still not isolated the mind from the matter. Sacred trees are still in some where in South Korea and China and India and Thailand. We are not detahced from the nature and our environment . Our environment is simply not the objects but it is the bearer of knowledge for us

One faith : We belong to the earth Another faith : The earth belong to us. We cannot create another earth at the cost of our resources, we cannot create unrest in the name of power game, we must foster the sustainable world in peace and mutual harmony.

If I have to search the South Korean Knowledge system where from should I get it ? From the written canons? From the existing community knowledge that is unwritten ? From the urban western educated intellectuals From the socio- historical processes in which Korea has witnessed the dehumanization across the decades and urges for a value base Korea epistemology that will contribute to a greater mankind?

Understand the Korean knowledge system from the existing community from its cultural resources ( both traditional and modern ) Restore ecology of the land through restoring the knowledge of ecology through eco pedagogy Research and documentation of Korean oral tradition and folklore from the rural communities and study the continuity and change.


the family history of the people affected as well as the social history of colonization from the collective memory and understand the gain and loss that has taken place so far. Creating a pedagogy of democratic values where the future generation have an equilibrium between the technologized world

Documentation of traditional Korean knowledge system to understand the sociohistorical dynamics of the people ( what do they know, what do they think of their own self and about the others, what is their cultural attitude to the nature and culture. What they have gained and lost in their culture. Study on modern multicultural

I am thankful to Prof Cha for his affectionate invitation to me to come to the great cultural land of Korea and share my thoughts with you all. I am also thankful to the teaching staff, and the students of the department who have been very kind enough to provide me all sorts of support. I wish that Odisha and Korea will have a long term relationship to foster knowledge and wisdom.

Thank You