Student researchers using data from a household survey assessing children’s basic skills are being invited to share their findings to win a place at an international conference in Pakistan.

The People’s Action for Learning (PAL) Network has teamed up with the REAL Centre at the Faculty of Education, Cambridge, to launch the 2019 Student Paper Competition in recognition of the outstanding contributions of Master’s and PhD students using Citizen-led Assessment (CLA) data.

The PAL Network is a south-south partnership of 14 countries working across three continents to assess the basic reading and numeracy competencies of all children, in their homes, through annual citizen-led assessments.

The aim of the programme is to find out whether all children are acquiring basic skills – the building blocks of future progress in school – in countries where the information would not otherwise be available. Inclusive and equitable data produced by the assessments is used to inform citizen-led action to improve learning.

The PAL Network is inviting current and recently-graduated Master’s and PhD students to submit their empirical work as an entry into the 2019 Student Paper Competition (deadline 30 November 2018).

Selected authors of the two winning papers will win a fully-funded trip to present their research at the PAL Network biennial conference on 5-6 March 2019 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The conference, titled Ensuring all children learn: lessons on inclusion and equity from the South, is also supported by the REAL Centre.

Dr Ricardo Sabates of the REAL Centre encouraged researchers to enter the student paper competition. He said: “We would like to recognise the talent of early career researchers who use CLA data to investigate educationally relevant topics. These assessments are a powerful tool to help us build a reliable picture of children’s learning and then support citizen-led improvements.”

•    Competition entrants should submit a 500-word abstract and full paper (length 6000 words excluding tables, figures and references). Please include your name, your affiliated university, CLA data used and contact details.
•    Winners must commit to attend the PAL Network meetings at the conference.
•    Submissions should be sent to: and, Please use the subject line Student Paper Competition.
•    Entry deadline for the competition is 30 November 2018. The winners will be announced by 15 January 2019.