Pro-poor? Class, gender, power, and authority in faith-based education in Maharashtra, India

Religious and secular ideologies are hotly debated within Indian educational circles, partly in response to neo-liberal trends in educational provision, which have encouraged non-state providers, including religious organisations, to increase their involvement. The paper explores similarities and differences between educational providers affiliated with different faith traditions in Maharashtra, with respect to their educational activities and the extent to which their ethos and practices are pro-poor. Drawing on six illustrative case studies of Hindu, Christian, Islamic, and Buddhist religious education providers, it concludes that although all have a stated commitment to enhancing the welfare of the poor, the ways that this is expressed in their educational activities are strongly influenced not only by their religious ideology but also by their class and gender positions.

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