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Nidhi Singal


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

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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 has extensive experience of working with international organisations such as, World Bank, CBM, Humanity and Inclusion, assisting them in developing research projects, programme evaluation and policy work. For the 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. 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. Among other current engagements, she is a member of the Technical Advisory Council of the Inclusive Education Initiative

Nidhi is an active Fellow of her College, Hughes Hall. In 2014, she was appointed a Trustee of the Cambridge Trust, the biggest student grant making body in Cambridge. She is also a Trustee (UK Board) of the Light for the World. 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)


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 

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).

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. (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.

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., 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, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

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.

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

Writing for research outreach

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.

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.