Wednesday 6 December, 3:30-5pm GMT
Location: Jubilee G36, University of Sussex / Zoom
Although India reports almost full enrolment in elementary education, many children who are enrolled do not attend regularly and reported learning levels remain consistently low. This paper reports on qualitative research that addresses the misleading in- or out-of-school binary of national accounting to investigate interrupted learning and fragile attendance. We are adopting a process tracing approach that is anchored around attendance monitoring, asking: who does what with the results of this monitoring and how do interpretations and actions affect children’s learning? The field location is in Adivasi (tribal) belt of Southern Rajasthan, in a sample of three government elementary schools (Grades 1-8). To connect with learners, the team has generated profiles of children and their families to understand lives and livelihoods outside school, and how these shape patterns of attendance. In schools, we are investigating how attendance is monitored and explained by teachers, and what they do with the trends they see; then we are tracing the figures submitted from schools through the tiers of the educational bureaucracy to identify how these messages about attendance are interpreted, and how they link to children’s learning and concerns for education system improvement that drive policy and programming – notably, the national Shala Darpan programme. The research aims to make a contribution to understanding accountability in education systems and to methodological work on process tracing as an approach to learning for policy.