skip to primary navigation skip to content

Nidhi Singal


  • Professor of Disability and Inclusive Education
  • Vice President, Hughes Hall

E-mail Address


(+44) 01223 767608




  • PhD, University of Cambridge
  • MPhil in Education, University of Cambridge
  • M.A. Applied Psychology, University of Delhi
  • B.A. (Honours) Applied Psychology, University of Delhi

Back to top


Nidhi’s core areas of research interest lie in addressing issues of educational inequity among marginalised groups in Southern contexts. She has worked extensively with children and young people with disabilities in South Asia and Africa. Her research has focused on the experiences of children with disabilities attending a range of different educational arrangements, the quality of teaching and learning in these settings, and the impact of schooling on short and long term outcomes. Another important dimension in her work has been the development of culturally sensitive approaches in educational research. She is particularly interested in examining critically power relations in North-South research partnerships, the ethics of research dissemination, and the impact of educational research on policy making for children with disabilities.

She has extensive experience of working with key international agencies such as, World Bank, UNESCO-IIEP and UNESCO, alongside disability specific international non-governmental organisations’ such as, Humanity and Inclusion and Light for the World assisting them in developing research projects, programme evaluation and policy work. Her work has been contributed to key developments in the field of disability and education. For the first Global Disability Summit, co-hosted by the Department for International Development (UK) , International Disability Alliance and Government of Kenya, she led the drafting of the International Statement of Action, “Accelerate Equitable and Quality Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Disabilities” , which has been signed by 31 donor agencies, international NGOs, research organisations and global education networks.

In 2021, Nidhi was appointed Deputy Chair of the UNPRPD Partnership Advisory Group, hosted by UKRI. Among other current engagements, she is a member of the Technical Advisory Council of the World Bank’s Inclusive Education Initiative; is on the Advisory panel for the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative’s disability and gender report; and contributes to the IIEP-UNESCO/UNICEF Foundations of Disability-Inclusive Education Sector Planning Course. Previously, she has worked with the International Commission on Financing Global Education, as the Disability Expert on The Education Workforce Initiative. She was part of the Technical Advisory Review Team for the Global Education Monitoring Report on Inclusive Education (2020) and was commissioned to write a background paper.

Nidhi is the Vice President of Hughes Hall, the oldest graduate college of the University. In 2014, she was appointed a Trustee of the Cambridge Trust, the biggest student grant making body in Cambridge. She is also a Trustee of UKFIET

Academic area and links

Back to top

Research Topics

  • Disability, poverty and development
  • Qualitative educational research in Southern countries
  • Southern perspectives on inclusive and special education

Current Research Projects

  • Evaluation of the Girls Education Challenge Fund II: Disability project
  • Teachers with disabilities in primary schools in Ethiopia, Cambridge Africa Alborada Fund
  • Teacher effectiveness in secondary schools in Africa, MasterCard Foundation
  • Evaluation of the Inclusive Education Resource Centres in Ethiopia, World Bank

Course Involvement

  • Doctoral supervisions 

Nidhi has a vibrant group of post graduate students working on two intertwined but distinct areas of: inclusive education- focusing on examining quality of classroom processes and introduction of new schooling reform efforts; and those working specifically on deepening scholarship in disability and education. Her research group have been central in collectively launching the Cambridge Network for Disability and Education Research (CaNDER) and the South Asian Approaches to Researching Education (@SaareNetwork)- both are key international networks drawing together diverse stakeholders from the Global South.

List of Publications 


Swartz, S., Singal, N., Arnot, M. (2023). Educational Research Practice in Southern Contexts: Recentring, Reframing and Reimagining Methodological Canons. Routledge.

Rose, P., Arnot, M., Jeffery, R. and Singal, N. (2021) Reforming Education and Challenging Inequalities in Southern Contexts: Research and Policy in International Development. Routledge.

Singal, N., Lynch, P., and Taneja-Johansson, S. (2019) Education and Disability in the Global South. New Perspectives from Asia and Africa. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Robinson-Pant, A. and Singal, N. (2018) Researching Ethically across Cultures: issues of knowledge, power and voice. London: Routledge. Edited collection (originally a special issue).

Singal, N. (2013) Disability, Poverty and Education. London: Routledge. Edited collection (originally a special issue).

Papers in peer-reviewed journals (only those since 2015)

Molina, E., Carter, E., Luna Bazaldua, D., Pushparatnum, A. & Singal, N. (2024). Teaching for All? Measuring the Quality of Inclusive Practices Across Eight Countries. Compare.

Lynch, P., Singal, N. & Francis, G. A.(2024). Educational technology for learners with disabilities in primary school settings in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic literature review, Educational Review, 76:2, 405-431, DOI: 10.1080/00131911.2022.2035685

Khalid, A. and Singal, N. (2022). Parents as partners in education during COVID-19-related school
closures in England: challenges and opportunities identified by parents with Pakistani and Bangladeshi
, Journal of Family Studies, DOI: 10.1080/13229400.2022.2098804 [Open Access]

Carter, E., Kangabe, B and Singal. N. (2022). Head teacher and government official’s perceptions of
teaching quality in Rwanda.
Educational Management Administration and Leadership. [Open Access]

Taneja-Johansson, S., and Singal, N. (2021). (Special Issue Editors) Pathways to inclusive and equitable quality education for people with disabilities: cross-context conversations and mutual learning, International Journal of Inclusive Education, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2021.1965799 [Open Access]

Singal, N., Mbukwa-Ngwira, J., Taneja-Johansson, S., Lynch, P., Chatha, G., and Umar, E. (2021) Impact of Covid-19 on the education of children with disabilities in Malawi: reshaping parental engagement for the future, International Journal of Inclusive Education, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2021.1965804

Carter, E., Onwuegbuzie, A., Singal N. and van der Velde, L. (2021). Perceptions of teaching quality in Rwandan secondary schools: A contextual analysis. International Journal of Educational Research, Volume 109.

Taneja-Johansson, S., Singal, N. and Samson, M. (2021). Education of Children with Disabilities in Rural Indian Government Schools: A Long Road to Inclusion, International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, DOI: 10.1080/1034912X.2021.1917525 [Open Access]

Ware, H., Singal, N. and Groce, N. (2021). The work lives of disabled teachers: revisiting inclusive education in English schools, Disability & Society, DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2020.1867074 

Robinson‐Pant, A. and Singal, N. (2020). Beyond authorship and accountability? The ethics of doctoral research dissemination in a changing world. British Educational Research Journal, 46 (4), 859-877.

Malik, R., Raza, F., Rose, P. and Singal, N. (2020). Are children with disabilities in school and learning? Evidence from a household survey in rural Punjab, Pakistan, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, DOI: 10.1080/03057925.2020.1749993

Singal, N. (2019). Challenges and opportunities in efforts towards inclusive education: reflections from India. International Journal of Inclusive Education (Special Issue celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Salamanca Statement). Available online. 

Singal, N., Sabates, S., Aslam, M. and Saeed, S. (2018). School enrolment and learning outcomes for children with disabilities: findings from a household survey in Pakistan. International Journal of Inclusive Education, Published online: 15 Oct. .

Singal, N., Pedder, D., Malathy, D., Shanmugam, M., and Manickavasagam, S. (2017). Insights from within activity based learning (ABL) classrooms in Tamil Nadu, India: Teachers perspectives and practices. International Journal of Educational Development. Available on-line since Dec. 2017

Oliver, C. and Singal, N. (2017). Migration, disability and education: reflections from a special school in the east of England. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 38 (8), 1217-1229.

Singal, N. (2016). Education of children with disabilities in India and Pakistan: Critical analysis of developments in the last 15 years. Prospects, 46 (1), 171-183.

Singal, N. (2016). Schooling children with disabilities: parental perceptions and experiences. International Journal of Educational Development, 50, 33-40.

Singal, N., Salifu, E.M., Iddrisu, K., Casely- L. & Lundebye, H. (2015). The impact of education in shaping lives: reflections of young people with disabilities in Ghana. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 19 (9), 908-925.

Hammad, T. and Singal, N. (2015). Education of women with disabilities in Pakistan: enhanced agency, unfulfilled aspirations. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 19 (12).

Book chapters (only those since 2015)

Singal, N. (2021). Addressing dilemmas of difference: Teachers’ strategies to include children with disabilities in rural primary schools in India. In Edited book: Reforming Education and Challenging Inequalities in Southern Contexts. Routledge.

Singal, N. (2017). Education in disability and poverty debates. Editors Hughes, M. T., Talbott, E. (Eds) The Wiley Handbook of Diversity in Special Education. Wiley Blackwell. 167-182.

Singal, N. and Muthukrishna, N. (2016). Reflexive re-storying of Inclusive Education: Evidence from India and South Africa. In Grech, S. and Soldatic, K. (Eds) Disability in the Global South: The Critical Handbook. Springer.

Professional publications (only those since 2015)

Singal, N. and Ware, H. (2021) English language teachers with disabilities: an exploratory study across four countries. British Council. 

Kurian, N., and Singal, N. (2022). Conducting rigorous and ethical educational research with young people in sub-Saharan Africa: A review of the literature. Leaders in Teaching Research and Policy Series.

Molina, Ezequiel, M., Pushparatnam, A., Melo, C., Wilichowsk, T., Mijares, A. T. T., Ding, E., Beth, J.,
Carter, E and Singal, N. (2021). Teach Primary (Second Edition). Washington, DC: The World Bank.
License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 4.0 IGO

Singal, N. et al., (2021). Revisiting Equity: COVID-19 and Education of Children with Disabilities. Qatar: WISE.

Singal, N., Spencer, C., and Mitchell, R. (2021). Primary Schooling for Children with Disabilities: A Review of African Scholarship. Research Report. Cambridge Network for Disability and Education Research.

Lynch, P., Singal, N., Francis, G. (2021). EdTech for Learners with Disabilities in Primary School Settings in LMICs: A Systematic Literature Review. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo. 4348995.  

Singal, N., Ware, H., Khanna-Bhutani, S. (2017). Inclusive Quality Education for Children with Disabilities. Report prepared for the World Innovation Summit For Education (Doha).

Disability Working Group (2015). Towards a disability inclusive education. Background paper for the Oslo Summit on Education for Development. 

Singal, N. (2015). Developments in education of children with disabilities in India and Pakistan since 2000. A peer-reviewed background paper for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2015. Paris: UNESCO.

Writing for research outreach (only those since 2018)

Singal, N., Taneja-Johansson, Poudyal, N.  (2021). Reflections on the gendered impact of covid-19 on education of children with disabilities in Nepal. UNGEI.

Singal, N. and Gitonga, A. (2019). Turning Global Disability Summit promises into reality. The Impact Initiative.

Singal, N. (2018). Making girls with disabilities count in the inclusive education agenda. United Nations Girls Education Initiative.

Singal, N. (2018). Disability and Data: Need for Numbers and Narratives. Washington Group on Disability Statistics.

Singal, N. and Baboo, N. (2018). We must commit to inclusive education for children with disabilities. Here's how. Devex. Opinion Piece.

Singal, N. and Malik, R. (2018). Disability data for effective policy design: reflections from the TEACh project in Pakistan. Washington Group on Disability Statistics.

Ware, H. and Singal, N. (2018). Research for Change: Inclusive Quality Education for Children with Disabilities. FERSA Research Blog.