How does a state with a primarily agrarian economy evolve into a ‘higher education hub’ with a concentration of over 3000 private colleges and an enrolment of more than 1.4 million students?
Taking from David Harvey’s thesis of neoliberalism as creative destruction I show how higher education in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh has played a primary role in advancing privatisation, capital accumulation and uneven development of the region. I also show how the growth of private markets in higher education occurs through ‘traditional’ social structures of caste and caste-based affinities.
Thus in the Indian context, ‘creative destruction’ does not imply the disappearance of old modes of production but rather bolsters and consolidates conservative social structures within the new globally integrated higher education market.
I argue that is it impossible to grapple with the contradictions and new possibilities of Indian higher education without an understanding of the regionally specific histories that constitute the sector.
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