Policy in Action- Education
The Centre for Policy Research turns fifty this year. Fifty years in the service of Indian policymaking, of keeping a robust conversation between the government, policymakers and the Indian populace alive – this is indeed a moment of pride and reflection for us. As we celebrate this special milestone, we present some snippets of our impact on the Indian policy sphere over the years in various areas of research.
This edition of Policy in Action is dedicated to our work on Education in India. Since its inception, CPR has emphasized on a deep association with educators, often consulting and bringing-in top faculty from across the country and world. It has also been home to several stalwarts of the education field such as Dr. Meenakshi Gopinath, Pratap Bhanu Mehta and many more.
A major part of CPR’s work and research on Education coincided with the passage of the Right to Education (2002). Our work largely spans the areas of higher education and School Education. Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s education work at CPR was focused on Higher Education and culminated in a book he co-authored with Devesh Kapur in 2017. Mehta was also a member of the Knowledge Commission in 2005.
In our research on School Education, our work has been on governance and reforms with a focus on improving learning outcomes. The Accountability Initiative’s work with the PAISA (Planning, Allocations and Expenditures, Institutions: Studies in Accountability) studies and Kiran Bhatty’s social audits have been significant and policy-informing. In terms of reforms, the Accountability initiative, Avani Kapur, Yamini Aiyar, and others have been at the forefront of field-defining case studies and research looking at school education reforms from various states across India.
Here’s a snapshot of our key work and impact in the area of Education over the years:
- The PAISA studies of the Accountability Initiative conducted in-depth research on various education-related government schemes and public welfare expenditure in India. Some key studies, especially on elementary education, include, the PAISA District Surveys: Mid Day Meal Scheme (2012), Do Schools Get Their Money? among others. Avani Kapur co-authored a working paper on How Much Does India Spend Per Student on Elementary Education?, which sought to fill the gap on estimated expenditure on elementary education by providing a methodology and estimates on government and private expenditure for the year 2011-12. The Budget Briefs of the Accountability Initiative have analysed various government schemes like Samagra Shiksha, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, to name a few.
- In 2016, Kiran Bhatty was part of a team that conducted a pilot study on out-of-school children in India. The study was undertaken to unpack and understand this phenomenon through an intensive micro-study of enrolment and attendance of all children in a single Gram Panchayat (GP or Panchayat). The study highlighted the need to examine the issue of the out of school child in greater detail, especially its links with irregular attendance and school functioning as it illuminates not just the gap in universal provision of elementary education, but also one of the reasons for poor learning outcomes.
- In collaboration with the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), the Accountability Initiative conducted a study on teachers’ time allocations and perceptions. Two hundred teachers from 39 government and municipal schools in Delhi, were surveyed between December 2017 and April 2018 to unpack their work and role related perceptions and to map the time spent by them on various school activities.
- Researchers from CPR – Kiran Bhatty, Mridusmita Bordoloi, Avani Kapur, Mohammad Hamza , and Anupriya Singh contributed a background paper to the Global Education Monitoring Report that was published by UNESCO. The report looked at non-state provisioning of education in India – at the level of schools and of supplementary services – particularly from the lens of regulations that exist and the extent to which they are being applied.
- In 2020, a research team from the Accountability Initiative completed a study on State Education Finances: A Deep-Dive into School Education Finances in Eight States. The Report looked at eight state budgets since FY 2014-15 to understand the changing trends of school education financing in the country and offered a comprehensive background for decision makers for education financing in the future.
- Yamini Aiyar, Vincy Davis and Ambrish Dongre authored a working paper in 2015 that analysed the attempt by the Government of Bihar (GoB) to adopt an alternative pedagogy tool in government schools to improve the quality of learning as part of a larger reform effort called the ‘Mission Gunvatta,’ initiated in the 2013-14 academic year.
- In 2016, Yamini Aiyar and Sharanya Bhattacharya co-authored a journal article in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) which probed into an administrator’s perspective in resolving the implementation problem at the last mile. This was based on detailed primary fieldwork in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh along with some quantitative surveys conducted in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh.
- Yamini Aiyar, Vincy Davis, Gokulnath Govindan, and Taanya Kapoor authored a working paper titled Rewriting the Grammar of the Education System: Delhi’s Education Reform (A Tale of Creative Resistance and Creative Disruption) in 2021. This paper sought to unpack multifaceted challenges of introducing change and transition in low-capacity settings, documenting the process of implementing an education reform in Delhi, India.
- Kiran Bhatty conducted a study titled Open Government in Education: Learning from Social Audits in India (in 2021) that reviewed two of the ten sites where social auditing were implemented to learn from different stakeholders about its various achievements and challenges. The study argued that for such citizen-led monitoring to take place, tools and processes of engagement as well as platforms for citizen-government interaction are required. Bhatty’s analysis underscored the importance of citizens having direct access to information and to platforms that allow them to dialogue with the State, which in turn must pursue strategies that facilitate access to information and citizen engagement.
To know more about CPR’s work on Education, you can visit our website at https://cprindia.org/researcharea/education/
Stay tuned for our next pop-up edition of Policy in Action, coming soon!