The high schools of Nagercoil, South India : an anthropological study



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Studies of the process of modernization have indicated that formal educational systems play an essential role in the preparation of a people for a more 'modern' life. In India the formal education system is part of the legacy of European missionaries and British colonization. This research looks at the system of high school education in the south Indian town of Nagercoil from these two perspectives: the missionary-colonial heritage and the trend towards modernization. The thesis governing this research is that formal education in Nagercoil is conservative in content, structure and value orientation, but that this conservatism is countered in a 'hidden curriculum' which encourages the growth of some of the attributes considered necessary for the process of modernization to occur: literacy, mobility, a sense of identity and openness to new experience.