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Starting and Sustaining Voluntary Teacher Forums: Experience From Tonk, Rajasthan.

"This paper explores what it takes to start and sustain Voluntary Teacher Forums, , providing teachers in the government school system with much needed opportunities for collaboration and peer learning, based on the experience from Tonk, Rajasthan"

Click here to download a copy of the Report.

Click here to read the Hindi version.

Teacher Absenteeism Study

"Government school teachers demonstrate exemplary commitment; actual teacher absenteeism substantially lower than general impressions"
Teacher Absenteeism is as low as 2.5%.

The study by the research group at Azim Premji Foundation concludes that the general impression and claims of teacher absenteeism in government schools are vastly exaggerated. The qualitative part of the study explores the background and reasons as to how, many teachers overcome multiple hurdles in their daily work life, and demonstrate exemplary commitment. The new research study by the research group at Azim Premji Foundation found that in government schools, teacher absenteeism (absence without legitimate reason) is as low as just 2.5%. This is vastly different from the popular narrative on teacher absenteeism, which often refers to numbers ranging from 20% to 50%. This study makes it clear, along with other similar studies that have been done in the past, that the issue of teacher absenteeism is not as big a problem as it is often made out to be.

The Key Findings were

  • The findings of the study show that ‘teacher absenteeism’, i.e. absence without legitimate reason or truancy is only 2.5%. This aspect needs due attention in the larger teacher accountability discourse
  • While the overall teacher absence – i.e. instances of teachers not being physically present in the school was 18.9%, the reasons are less about the delinquency of teachers but rather about the systemic issues that require them to undertake other official activities, apart from legitimate leaves
  • In spite of exhibiting characteristics such as difficulty of access, poor school infrastructure or even high pupil-teacher ratio our ethnographic case studies found the schools studied to have an engaged cadre with no visible concerns of teacher absenteeism as expressed by education officials or community
  • These cases stand counter to the widely received stereotype of disengaged and frequently absent teachers. Given a certain kind of enabling and positive work environment that facilitates collegiality and trust, many teachers show commitment and motivation and hold themselves accountable without external supervision and monitoring

Click here to download a copy of the Report.

Multiple projects using a comparative subnational framework are being planned across different policy & governance domains.
Focus Project Title Lead Researcher / Team
Policy & Governance Explaining Village-level Variation in Education: A Quantitative-Qualitative Study in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka (3-year project) Suraj Jacob & Balmurli Natrajan
Maternal Health in Assam and Meghalaya – A Comparative Perspective (2-year project) Sreeparna Ghosh, Suraj Jacob, and Arima Mishra
The Institutional System in School Education: A Study of Monitoring, Regulation, and Activism in Rajasthan in a Comparative Framework (2-year project) Rahul Mukhopadhyay, Sujatha Rao, Rishikesh B. S., and Suraj Jacob
Pathways to Political Power: An Inter-State and Intra-State Comparison of Karnataka and Odisha (2-year project) Narayana A., Suraj Jacob, and Sailen Routray

Village Level study of land in Karnataka
Focus Project Title
Policy & Governance Mapping institutions involved in Land Governance
Studying E-governance in Land Records Management
Studying Land Tenure systems and Rights
Conducting an Ethnography of Land Administration
Conducting an Ethnography of the Office of the Village Accountant
Several projects related to “Right to Education” through the Hub for Education Law and Policy: On awareness, Impact Analysis, RTE admissions online.

Focus Project Title Lead Researcher / Team
School Choice Does school choice help rural children from disadvantaged sections improve their learning outcomes? D D Karopady
Azim Premji Foundation entered into an MoU with the government of Andhra Pradesh in 2004 to carry out joint research in the state on education related topics. Under this, the Foundation launched the Andhra Pradesh School Choice (APSC) research to assess if joining a private school improved the learning of a child compared to a government school, after minimizing the impact of other influencing factors. This is the largest research study in India (and perhaps the world) involving a sample size of over 10,000 children and a rigourous Randomized Control Trial (RCT) design.
Click here to read DD Karopady’s article in on the research findings in Economics and Political Weekly ( EPW).

Focus Project Title Lead Researcher / Team
Early Childhood Care and Education An Evaluation of the Non-formal Pre-School education in Medak District Research Centre
Devaki L.Priya Iyer, Sukanya Mohanty
and Andhra Pradesh Team
Umamaheswarea, R Jaggena
The first six years of a child's life lays the foundation for lifelong learning and development. The present study has been taken up in response to the need for generating a data-based understanding on pre-school education. The key objectives of the study are as follows:
(i) To assess the extent to which Anganwadi centers provide the entitlements on food, nutrition and pre-school education
(ii) To identify gap areas in implementing the pre-school education component of the ICDS program
(iii) To study the relationship between classroom processes, resource utilization and the ability to use concepts of shape, color, number and language.

Focus Project Title Lead Researcher / Team
Teacher Professional Development A Study of School Leadership in Government Schools in Karnataka Saswati Paik,Sujatha Rao, Swati Chanda
This is a grounded, longitudinal study of school leadership in seven districts in Karnataka (India), with particular focus on government schools. The objectives of the research are to understand:
(i) the construct of school leadership in Karnataka, and how leadership gets enacted in schools
(ii) the role of structured leadership development programs in developing effective school leader

Focus Project Title Lead Researcher / Team
Teacher Professional Development Teacher Professional Development in Whole Class Technology Integration Meera Gopi Chandran, Santhosh.S , Manjunatha.M , Suneetha. P; In collaboration with DSERT Karnataka.

The research on Teacher Professional Development through Whole Class Technology Integration is being conducted in 12 government schools in Karnataka, among 24 teachers of Math and Science of grades 5 through 7. The 3 year long research has the objective of studying the processes involved in the integration of digital technology in classrooms towards a nuanced understanding of teacher professional development. The research repositions technology integration not as a goal but as a point of entry while retaining the primacy of the teachers’ role in the classroom.

Focus Project Title Lead Researcher / Team
Nutrition Do we know what they eat, and why? A Study on School-level Dietary Adequacy and Impact of Cultural Beliefs in Remote Rural Areas in Southern India Shreelata Rao
What is the current nutritional intake of children in Grades 1-5 in terms of both macro- and micro-nutrients, and what is the educational and clinical impact?
What are the household characteristics, both in terms of (i) economic and social status; and (ii) traditional and cultural practices that determine nutritional choices, and how rational are these choices (as judged by whether they contribute to a well-balanced diet)?
Are there deficiencies that can be addressed on the short-term by supplementation or fortification?
Are there locally available solutions (short- or long-term) that can be mainstreamed into the everyday lives and diets of the children to address significant nutritional deficiencies?

Focus Project Title Lead Researcher / Team
Reconciling the Census of Nagaland Reconciling the Census of Nagaland with Local Sources of Demographic Information Ankush Agrawal and
Vikas Kumar
The study attempts to look at the factors explaining the decline in population in Nagaland after abnormally high population growth in the state. To examine the extent and mechanism of manipulation of Census data in Nagaland.• To look at the driving force behind manipulation of the 2001 Census.

Focus Project Title Lead Researcher / Team
Decentralization and Health Decentralization and Decision Space in the Health Sector in Karnataka Shreelata Rao
The study aims to:
1. To measure the degree to which decentralisation and devolution have been operational at district level and below under NRHM in six districts of Karnataka state
2. To identify the constraints faced by the authorities in the course of decentralisation process
3. To study the effect of high or low decision space on health outcomes (Key health indicators)
4. Areas that need to be strengthened to enhance implementation effectiveness at the district level and below (recommendations at the policy and program levels

Click here for report on Karnataka’s Roadmap To Improved Health

Focus Project Title Lead Researcher / Team
Rural-urban conundrum Rural-urban conundrum: a treatise on the small farm dynamics Seema Puroshotam
The proposed study aims to understand : (i) what available approaches have to offer in explaining a small farm, as a reliable livelihood option and small farmer as an identity in India. (ii) To synthesise and evolve an integrated and dynamic framework for explaining the Indian small holder.

Focus Project Title Lead Researcher / Team
Local Health Traditions Policy lessons of and for revitalization of Local Health Traditions in India Arima Mishra, Harilal Madhavan (Azim Premji University) and Devaki Nambiar (Public Health Foundation of India).
  • What constitutes ‘local health traditions’ (LHT) in the policy framework in various Indian states? What parameters are currently used, if any, to classify a medical/therapeutic tradition as ‘LHT’? What are the standards of inclusion and exclusion?
  • Does/could the state have a role in revitalizing local health traditions (would state interventions thwart the autonomy, vibrancy of LHT as community driven initiatives or would it lead to a fruitful state-community venture in inclusive evidence and policy)?
  • What does revitalization entail? (greater state legitimacy/acknowledgement of the use of parallel therapies, policy support in terms of research and practice of LHTs, integrating it with the formal health system, limiting it to first level of care or any other?)
  • What are specific experiences, interpretations, models and lessons of revitalization across and at the intersection of multiple perspectives – governmental agencies and departments, non-governmental organizations and formations, LHT and non-LHT practitioners, as well as communities or users?

Focus Project Title Lead Researcher / Team
Social capital on websites Social capital on websites: understanding collective architecture from social spiders and their webs Divya Bellur Uma

Social capital refers to the relationships, norms and networks that facilitate collective action for mutual benefit . the present research study would examine social spider webs as animal architecture that facilitates social capital. The study attempts to:

  • Characterize the architecture of the web
  • Examine the mechanics of the silk
  • Examine if there is task differentiation in web building
  • Understand the coordination of web construction through social networks

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