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Nidhi Singal


  • Reader in Education
  • Fellow, Hughes Hall
  • External Director of Studies (Education) St. Catharine's College

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

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Vice Chair, British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE)
  • Fellow, Cambridge Commonwealth Society

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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 critically examining 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.

Nidhi was invited by the Ministry of Norway to be part of the Working Group for the Oslo Education Summit and worked with the team to produce the background paper Towards a Disability Inclusive Education. She has also worked as a consultant for a range of international organisations such as, CBM, Handicap International, SightSavers, assisting them in developing research projects, programme evaluation and policy work. Her work has been acknowledged and used by the World Bank and the Department for International Development (UK). Currently, she is the External Examiner for Masters Programmes at the University of East Anglia. Nidhi has examined various doctoral theses at universities in the UK and Overseas. She has delivered various keynotes and invited seminars in different international settings. 

Nidhi is an active Fellow of her College, Hughes Hall, and has served as the (Acting) Vice President in 2013. In 2014, she was appointed a Trustee of the Cambridge Trust, the biggest student grant making body in Cambridge. Before coming to Cambridge, Nidhi trained as a clinical psychologist (University of Delhi) and worked with children and young adults in a range of clinical and educational settings in India.

Academic area and links

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Research Topics

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

Current Research Projects

Course Involvement

List of Publications (only those since 2010)

Papers in peer-reviewed journals 

Singal, N., Pedder, D., Malathy, D., Shanmugam, M., 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).

Singal, N. and Muthukrishna, N. (2014). Education, Childhood and Disability in Countries of the South: Re-positioning the Debates: an introduction. Childhood, 21(3) 293-307.

Pant-Robinson, A. and Singal, N. (2013). Guest Editors for the Special Issue: Researching ethically across cultures: issues of knowledge, power and voice. Compare, 43 (4).

Pant-Robinson, A. and Singal, N. (2013). Research ethics in comparative and international education: reflections from anthropology and health. Compare, 43 (4), 443-463.

Singal, N. and Jain, A. (2012). Repositioning youth with disabilities: focusing on their social and work lives. Comparative Education. 48 (2), 167-180.

Singal, N. (2011). Guest Editor for the Special Issue: Disability, Poverty and Education: Implications for policies and practices. International Journal of Inclusive Education.15 (10).

Singal, N. Jeffery, R., Jain, A. and Sood, N. (2011). The enabling role of education in the lives of young people with disabilities in India: achieved and desired outcomes. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 15 (10), 1205-1218.

Singal, N., Bhatti, F., and Mailk, R. (2010). Counting the invisible: understanding the lives of people with disabilities in Pakistan. Disability & Rehabilitation, 33 (11) 908-921.

Singal, N. (2010). Doing disability research in a Southern context: challenges and possibilities. Disability & Society, 25 (4), 415-426.

Miles, S. and Singal, N. (2010). The Education for All and Inclusive Education debate: Conflict, contradiction or opportunity? International Journal of Inclusive Education, 14 (1), 1-15.

Book chapters

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.

Hammad, T., and Singal, N. (2014). Disability, gender and Education: Exploring the impact of education on the lives of women with disabilities in Pakistan. In Rao, S. and Kalyanpur, M. (Eds) South Asia and Disability Studies: Redefining boundaries and extending horizons. Peter Lang. 197-223.

Singal, N. (2013). Entry, engagement and empowerment: Dilemmas for inclusive education in an Indian context. In L. Florian (Ed) The Sage Handbook of Special Education. Second Edition. Sage Publication. 203-216.

Singal, N., Bhatti, F., and Januja, S. with Sood, N. (2012). Increased expectations, unrealised gains: educationl outcomes for young people with disabilities in India and Pakistan. In C. Colclough (Ed.) Education Outcomes and Poverty in the South: A Reassessment. London: Routledge.

Singal, N., and Jeffery, R. (2011). Inclusive education in India: the struggle for quality in consonance with equity. In A. J. Artiles., E., B. Kozleski and F. R. Waitoler (Eds.) Inclusive Education: Examining Equity on Five Continents. Massachusetts: Harvard Education Press.

Singal, N. (2010). Negotiating a contested terrain: Including children with 'special educational needs' in the Indian education system. In R. Rose (Ed.) Confronting Obstacles to Inclusion- International responses to Developing Inclusive schools. London: Routledge.

Professional publications

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.

Singal, N. (2014). School and disability in rural India: need to support entry, engagement and empowerment.

Writing for research outreach

Singal, N. and Hayes, J. (2017). Evidence on disability and education: accessing, using and communicating research. The Impact Initiative for International Development.

De, A., and Singal, N. (2016). The paradox of disability and education in India. The Impact Initiative for International Development. 

Singal, N. and Sabates, R. (2016). Access and learning are equally important for children with disabilities. Global Partnership for Education.

Singal, N. (2015). Future directions in Disability and Education: Rights, Resources and Research. UKFIET: the Education and Development Forum.

Singal, N. (2014). Education of children with disabilities: Counting and accounting go together. ASER Report.

Singal, N., Aslam, M, Saeed, S., Usma, M. (2014). Findings on Disability/Health Functioning. ASER Report.

Singal, N. (2013). Education of children with disabilities: Need for greater reflection. Yojana, A monthly magazine published by the Ministry of Information, Government of India. April, 27-30.

Singal, N. (2013). Inclusive education is not enough: we need empowering, quality education for all. Working out our future together. Four steps towards ending global poverty. Published by the Humanitarian Centre and Cambridge University Press.

Singal, N. (2010). From entry to participation: education of children with disabilities. Id21 Insights Education 8- Inclusive Education, published by Institute of Development Studies.