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Girls learning in rural India

Accountability from the Grassroots in India

The project explores the potential of community based accountability relationships to raise children’s foundational learning outcomes, with a focus on the most disadvantaged primary-school learners: namely those who are from poorer households and, within these, girls. We ask both whether and how changes occur when school actors are supported to view their accountability as being primarily to their local community and their goal as being to raise all children’s learning.To do this, we evaluate a grassroots intervention that supports school actors to work directly with their communities to develop a shared understanding of children’s learning levels, collaborate in planning how to raise them, and facilitate action both inside and outside the classroom.

In addition to analysing changes in children’s learning, we will examine the intervention’s capacity to create changes in school-community relations, and teachers’ attitudes perceptions, and actions in the classroom.
The findings from this project will be relevant to academics who study school accountability systems, including educationalists and development economists who focus on this issue from somewhat different perspectives.

The intervention itself and the methods we apply to evaluate it are likely to produce research outputs that will enhance the field and specifically contribute to the literatures on different types of school accountability, inequalities in learning outcomes, and policies that can produce school improvement.

The research findings will be of interest to a range of research users, especially government policymakers who will benefit from the insights into the effectiveness of community based interventions and accountability systems.

Research team: 

Principal Investigator: Dr Ricardo Sabates

Lead Co-Investigator in India: Dr Suman Bhattacharjea


Dr Ben Alcott, Dr Rukmini Banerji, Professor Pauline Rose, Dr Wilima Wadhwa, 

India partners:

Pratham Education Foundation

Wrigley Company Foundation




January 2018 – December 2020



Nanda, M. (2018) What Ensures Good Quality Research Data? FERSA University of Cambridge Blog

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