Indian Social Studies Curriculum in Transition: Effects of a Paradigm Shift in Curriculum Discourse


  • Ashwani Kumar Mount Saint Vincent University



Critical Social Studies, Curriculum Reform, National Curriculum Frameworks 2000 and 2005, Traditional Social Studies Instruction


This study analyzes the effects of a recent shift in curriculum discourse in India on social studies curriculum and teaching. It compares the National Curriculum Frameworks of 2000 and 2005 with particular reference to social studies curriculum and teaching and reports the results of interviews and a focus-group discussion conducted with three social studies schoolteachers to understand the effects of a national level curriculum change on the lived reality of the classroom. Findings indicate that the National Curriculum Framework 2005 and textbooks developed from this framework provide space for teachers and students to engage in dialogue about the conflicts and problems of society. Such a shift indicates a transition which could well be compared to the transition of social studies in the U.S. from “traditional social studies instruction” to “social studies for social change,” theoretically speaking. Notwithstanding the changes at the level of the curriculum, the interviews and a focus-group discussion with teachers suggest that the dominance of a behavioristic-positivistic examination system continues to encourage atheoretical, apolitical, and ahistorical teaching.

Author Biography

Ashwani Kumar, Mount Saint Vincent University

Faculty of Education, Assistant Professor