Ph.D in International Education Policy – University of Maryland, College Park, USA. Dissertation Title: “Education, social movements and social change: A Brazilian case study” May 2006. M.A. in Social Work – Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. May 1998
Feminist and rights-based approaches to education and development specifically looking at knowledge/power analyses; the relationship between social movements and education; anti-privatization advocacy and activism; popular education and critical pedagogies
My dissertation focused on the activities and ideologies that have enabled the Movimento Trabalhadores Rurais sem Terra (MST, Landless Workers Movement) in Brazil to challenge biased and discriminatory policies of rural education and development and reconstitute state and public discourse on these issues. I was first drawn to the MST because of the ways in which they had applied popular education practices and critical pedagogy to organise, mobilise and educate the rural landless. Then I learned about the scope of the educational system that they had managed to create over the course of 25 years. The movement has created primary and secondary schools, literacy programs for youth and adult education, agricultural education programs, a teacher training institute and most recently the Florestan Fernandes university. What was most interesting to me, however, was the fact that these educational interventions were supported and recognized by the government. This was what I decided to explore in greater detail. How had the movement engaged with the state in order to expand and improve the provision of education for landless rural communities? And what were the implications in terms of the limitations and possibilities of the MST in terms of ‘opening up’ new educational and political possibilities for a radical democratic society?
At the Centre for Civil Society I would like to explore similar questions in the context of the struggles for housing, water, electricity, and access to public education by social movements in the underserved townships and informal settlements in and around the city of Durban. I would also like to make analytical and strategic connections between contemporary South African and Indian social movements.