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REAL: Access Teaching and Learning

teacher and student in class

Teachers are central to all education systems, yet they often lack the specific training and skills needed to support disadvantaged learners, and are neither properly incentivised nor sufficiently accountable.

Research in this area will identify ways to support learning for children from disadvantaged backgrounds through the provision of quality teachers, the use of effective teaching strategies, the contribution of private and other non-state providers and the adoption of innovative and alternative models of education.


Children learning maths in RwandaLeaders in Teaching in Rwanda

Mastercard Foundation’s Leaders in Teaching Initiative, launched in Rwanda in 2018, aims to transform teaching and learning in secondary education across Africa so that young people acquire the skills and competencies needed to succeed in work and life. The initiative aims to work closely with local and national stakeholders in African countries and supports teachers and school leaders over the lifespan of their careers, preparing them to deliver quality and relevant learning. As Learning Partners, the REAL Centre, in conjunction with Laterite in Rwanda, aim to develop robust evidence on how the Initiative is working overall to improve teacher quality and student learning in secondary schools, particularly for those most at risk of not learning.


Girls learning in rural IndiaAccountability from the Grassroots in India

This research project aims to understand whether, and how, school accountability for learning can be improved from the grassroots.

In order to address this objective, we use the case of a community-based intervention in rural India, which aims to engage with local school actors (teachers, headteachers, administrators and school management committees) and provide them with knowledge and resources to implement activities in line with the goal of improving children’s foundational learning in the classroom.


Early childhood education in IndiaEarly childhood education in India

This project focuses on the supply, demand, and impact of different forms of early childhood education (ECE). We analyse a unique, mixed-methods longitudinal survey following 12,000 children across the Indian states of Assam, Rajasthan, and Telangana. Conducted by ASER Centre and Ambedkar University, with support from UNICEF, the data comprise 12 survey waves carried out between child ages 4–8. With household interviews, multiple learning assessments and detailed information on ECE centres, primary schools, villages and households, these data enable unique analysis of conditions in the country with the world’s largest youth population.


Ghana classroomUnderstanding the Impact of Complementary Basic Education in Ghana

As part of a collaborative project funded by the Department for International Development, this research project explores the experiences and transitions of children who have been exposed to the Complementary Basic Education (CBE) Programme in Ghana. The project also aims to assess changes in competencies in literacy and numeracy which are the result of the CBE programme. The project has a strong gender component.


Improving Ethiopia's Education SystemImproving Ethiopia’s Education System

Part of the DFID-funded Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) programme, the large-scale research programme of around £4 million over five years will aim to assess rigorously the implementation and impact of activities associated with a major education quality reform programme in Ethiopia, with a focus on the most disadvantaged.


Class outside, woman teaching a boyTeaching Effectively All Children (TEACh): India and Pakistan

Focusing on India and Pakistan, this project aims to identify which aspects of teaching are most important for improving all children's learning, and so inform governments on the strategies needed to support children who face multiple disadvantages. The research pays particular attention to children with disabilities who are most likely to be excluded from learning.


Children in Rural IndiaResponsive Models of Child Development in India

This research tackles the problem of scaling quality early childhood care and education (ECCE). It analyses the contexts, practices and costs of ECCE for disadvantaged families/communities in two states of India, Tamil Nadu and Bihar. The study focuses on the experiences and negotiations of families within government and non-government ECCE Centres. Drawing on ethnographic approaches, it maps the practices of ECCE with key stakeholders within both informal and formal settings. The study will reveal social, historical and political factors critical to the development of contextually responsive models of ECCE. In particular, it seeks to bring to the fore the voices of marginalised families and communities in considerations of ECCE expansion and reform.


Girl walking through fieldReaching marginalised secondary school girls through Camfed's programme in Tanzania

The REAL Centre is partnering with Camfed, a non-governmental organisation that aims to provide good quality education to marginalised girls. The REAL Centre will provide an evidence base on what works to support marginalised girls’ secondary education, with a focus on Camfed’s programmes in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. In particular, analysis of the cost of sending a marginalised girl through secondary school and improving her learning will be undertaken. This aims to inform targeted financing mechanisms that ensure that no girl is left behind, in the drive for quality education for all.


Young girl readingEnsuring Equitable Learning by 2030

This research project focuses on disparities in learning outcomes in poor countries. We analyse nationally representative household surveys to inform policy on the causes of these disparities and identify appropriate ways to address them.  


Men and child learningCountry-level theories of change: From Assessment to Action

The project aims to support the PAL Network and its members in developing their theories of change, identifying variations between contexts, and to document case studies of approaches being used for assessments to lead to action.


Secondary School girl studentsSecondary Education for Children with Disabilities

The objective of this research project is to provide an analysis of current educational provision at secondary level for Children With Special Needs (CWSN) in India, advise on relevant national and international experience in secondary education (Classes IX and X; ages 15 and 16) and highlight costed policy options for the future provision of secondary education to CWSN.


man teaching a girlEvaluation of the Activity Based
Learning Programme, Tamil Nadu, India

Tamil Nadu’s Activity Based Learning programme represents a significant departure from conventional pedagogical practices in Indian classrooms. This project, comprising a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, is focused on undertaking an evaluation of the programmes pedagogic features, impact on student outcomes, and political economy. 


Speed schools Improving access to education in Ethiopia:Longitudinal tracking of Speed School Children

This research project in Ethiopia tracks children who attended Speed Schools and their families to measure impacts of the project on primary school completion, learning outcomes and poverty. Children who have dropped out of school are also tracked, together with a control group to compare outcomes for children who attended Speed Schools to those who did not. We aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of whether public schools into which Speed School graduates are re-integrated are able to sustain improvements over time.


girl helping her friend feel brailReach Forward: Making Educational Research Count for Children with Disabilities in Malawi, Kenya and Uganda

The Reach Forward Project aims to address the exclusion of children with disabilities in Malawi, Uganda and Kenya from quality education. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the capacity of partners in the South to set their own research agendas and inform the development of effective education systems.


children reading books outsideRole of Inclusive Schooling in Enhancing the Wellbeing of Children with Disabilities in Karnataka, India

The research was carried out in government schools in rural Karnataka, India, to investigate the impact of mainstream schools and other educational provision on the learning experiences and social outcomes of children with disabilities. Using a community based approach, this primarily qualitative research undertook a systemic examination of the experiences of children with disabilities and their parents as they negotiated schooling processes.


africian children outside smilingResearch Consortium on Educational Outcomes and Poverty (RECOUP)

Poverty often leads to inferior educational outcomes. Those outcomes in turn play a major role in determining the future incidence and extent of poverty. RECOUP studied the mechanisms that drive this cycle of deprivation, identifying the policies needed to ensure that educational outcomes benefit the disadvantaged.