Organizational Perspectives on Accountability and Learning (OPAL): School Management Models and the Social Impact of Schooling in Mumbai and Kathmandu

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: School of Management

Abstract

The project will investigate how the accountability of schools differs according the school management model and whether accountability is linked to differences in learning outcomes. Recently, a great deal of attention from international development donors has focused on new models of school management (e.g. community-managed schooling or privatization), however there is insufficient data on the extent to which these management models are linked to differences in perceived accountability and/or students' learning. Furthermore, the exclusive focus on cognitive outcomes does not capture schools' social contribution in terms of social inclusion and participation.

We propose to take a more sophisticated approach to accountability than previous research by examining the perceived accountability of multiple stakeholders: parents, teachers and school management. We also take an expanded view of accountability, drawing upon the concepts of social return impact and blended value accounting to consider how the outcomes of education can include increased social inclusion by addressing marginalities along the lines of caste and gender in addition to cognitive outcomes

The project will involve quantitative data collection on the perceived accountability of various school stakeholders (i.e. parents, teachers, and management), cognitive learning outcomes, and children's well-being and social inclusion. These data are collected using established research instruments that have been employed in international contexts. Data from the quantitative component of the study will be used to examine how different models of school management are related to perceived accountability, student learning outcomes and social value (i.e. inclusion and cohesion).

Additionally, we will undertake in-depth qualitative case studies on a subset of schools, which will provide insights into the engagement between different stakeholders and the perception of accountability relationships. The qualitative studies will provide a foundation for the generation of theories to explain quantitative findings and contribute to theoretical understandings of accountability and organizational relationships in education.

The project brings together management and education researchers from the University of Bath, Tata Institute for Social Sciences (Mumbai), Tribhuvan University (Nepal) and Roskilde University (Denmark). Through its quantitative and qualitative components will provide a robust body of evidence to examine how models of school management relate to perceived accountability, cognitive learning outcomes and the social contribution of schools.

Planned Impact

The project will influence the activities and decisions of several key stakeholders, specifically:

-Educational practitioners (teachers) and educational leaders (managers) in urban areas of low-income countries (i.e. Mumbai, India and Kathmandu, Nepal).

-Policymakers on education in developing countries (i.e. India and Nepal) as well as policymakers in regional organizations (i.e. SAARC).

-Policymakers on education and international development for bilateral and multilateral development donors (e.g. DFID, USAID, UNDP, EuropeAid, the World Bank, etc).

-Staff and decision-makers at international non-governmental organizations (e.g. Save the Children, Oxfam, Plan, ActionAid, etc).

Impact is maximised by involving key stakeholders at all stages of the research cycle (i.e. planning and instrument preparation, implementation and data collection, and analysis and dissemination) through consultations with a steering group of stakeholders. This steering group will be composed of individuals representing the stakeholders identified above and will provide input to the meeting at two meetings as well as interim webinars. The specific interests of stakeholders will be represented in a series of stakeholder-generated questions added to the primary research instruments as described in the Pathways to Impact document.

Impact will be supported by a targeted programme of research communications throughout the research cycle. Targeted communications will include policy briefings and press releases and meetings convened with policy makers and the national and international levels. Additionally, the project team will publish articles in the local press summarizing key findings, produce briefings for school leaders, teachers and parents in each location, and organize dissemination events for local stakeholders (i.e. educators, NGO staff, local government staff, etc). Communication will be supported by Bath's Institute for Policy Research (IPR) and will include updates via social media and a blog that is regularly updated by the research team.

Publications

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Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
ES/P005489/1 01/10/2017 31/10/2019 £568,408
ES/P005489/2 Transfer ES/P005489/1 01/11/2019 14/09/2021 £188,973
 
Title Social Learning Outcomes Artwork 
Description The team commissioned original artwork that measures social learning outcomes. Each piece of artwork depicts a school social setting, and students are asked to identify aspects of the social interaction, such as diversity and inclusion, cooperation, marginality and exclusion, and aspirations. The scenes are culturally and conceptually appropriate for classrooms in South Asia. 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact The artwork was created with inputs from the project teams and policy makers, and they were used in a first round of pilot testing. We assume this will ensure maximum relevance and impact when data are collected. 
 
Description Please see submission for: ES/P005489/2, this grant was transferred.
Exploitation Route Please see submission for: ES/P005489/2, this grant was transferred.
Sectors Education

 
Description An emerging impact is the influence on education policymaking and funding in developing countries, particularly in high-density urban areas. This impact was started by constituting a project steering group and setting the date for its first meeting. The group membership include officials from the Indian civil service the Nepali Ministry of Education, the Department for International Development (UK) and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. In 2018, the first steering meeting took place in the United Kingdom. The members were asked to provide inputs and feedback on research instruments in order to ensure their relevance to the contexts and potential for impact. Additionally, in 2018 meetings with school leaders were convened in Kathmandu and Mumbai. This group can be re-convened to present project findings and lessons for school leadership. In February 2019, the project team met with staff at the UK Department for International Development and presented our ongoing work. We plan to use this as a basis to maximise our impact for professionals in the international development sector. In late 2019 team members from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences attended a workshop entitled "Raising Learning Outcomes in Diverse Indian Contexts" in New Delhi, India, in which grantholders from other projects in the Researching Learning Outcomes funding stream synthesized recommendations for Indian policymakers. This event included attendees from the Indian Administrative Services (IAS), and resulted in a policy brief entitled "Raising Learning Outcomes in Diverse Indian Contexts." In early 2020, the project also contributed preliminary findings to a Policy Briefing on accountability in education produced by the impact initiative. Additionally, in early 2020 the group presented preliminary findings at a workshop held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, with attendance from staff in South Africa's Department of Basic Education. This workshop was funded externally through the University of Bath's International Relations Office, with a goal of synthesizing research across two projects in the RLO funding stream.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Education
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description University of Bath International Relations Office Funding 2019/2020
Amount £12,200 (GBP)
Organisation University of Bath 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2019 
End 05/2020
 
Title Learning Outcome and Accountability Research Instruments 
Description The project team has created a set of quantitative instruments to measure student learning outcomes in Mumbai and Kathmandu. These comprise the following: 1. A student learning outcomes assessment. This instrument measures student cognitive abilities on literacy and numeracy. It also includes a measure of social learning outcomes, i.e. the ability to recognize diversity, potential for collaboration, different forms of inclusion and aspiration. The social learning outcomes are assessed by asking questions about drawings/artwork of social situations. 2. A student questionnaire. This instrument measures home assets, home language, and other basic aspects of home life. It is administered with the learning outcomes assessment. 3. A parent home questionnaire. This instrument measures home social background and aspects of socioeconomic status, including parental education and income. It also measures aspects of parental views on accountability by asking about their interactions with and participations in the school. 4. A teacher questionnaire. This instrument measures basic aspects of socioeconomic status and views on accountability in education, including items on interactions with headteachers and with parents. 5. A headteacher questionnaire. This instrument measures basic aspects of socioeconomic status and views on accountability, including items on interactions with teachers, parents and the government. These instruments have been tested in a pilot phase in late 2018. The team plans to release them publicly at the conclusion of the project. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Policymakers from the Indian Administrative Services and the Nepali Ministry of Education were involved in the creation of the tool. This has ensured their relevance to policymakers, and the team anticipates that findings will have maximum impact. 
 
Title Database on School Populations in Mumbai and Kathmandu 
Description This database includes all schools in Mumbai and Kathmandu, and includes information on school location, funding models (public/private funds), fees charged, management models and governance, and contact information. It will be used to generate a sample of schools for participation in the study, and to generates weights for survey response data. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The database underpins our sampling of schools that participate in data collection. It is therefore necessary for any further impacts that will occur, but is not a form of impact in itself. 
 
Description OPAL Collaboration Agreement 
Organisation Roskilde University
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The institutions listed above have signed an academic collaboration agreement in relation to the award. This collaboration agreement sets out the responsibilities of each party in relation to data collection and reporting, and it specifies the processes of payment and reporting. The collaboration agreement was initiated by University of Bath prior to the start of the grant, and was reviewed and negotiated with the partners over a period of approximately two months. The University of Bath contributed its expertise in research contracts that resulted in the draft grant and coordinated the negotiation project.
Collaborator Contribution The partners contributed by specifying their own institutional requirements, with some flexibility provided by both sides. The partners also facilitated approval within their institutional contexts and requirements, and provided information on legal signatories.
Impact The collaboration agreement has been essential to starting work on the award, which has now advanced to the stage of planning data collection. The collaboration has also enabled recruitment of high-level policymakers in India and Nepal for participation in the impact advisory group.
Start Year 2017
 
Description OPAL Collaboration Agreement 
Organisation Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The institutions listed above have signed an academic collaboration agreement in relation to the award. This collaboration agreement sets out the responsibilities of each party in relation to data collection and reporting, and it specifies the processes of payment and reporting. The collaboration agreement was initiated by University of Bath prior to the start of the grant, and was reviewed and negotiated with the partners over a period of approximately two months. The University of Bath contributed its expertise in research contracts that resulted in the draft grant and coordinated the negotiation project.
Collaborator Contribution The partners contributed by specifying their own institutional requirements, with some flexibility provided by both sides. The partners also facilitated approval within their institutional contexts and requirements, and provided information on legal signatories.
Impact The collaboration agreement has been essential to starting work on the award, which has now advanced to the stage of planning data collection. The collaboration has also enabled recruitment of high-level policymakers in India and Nepal for participation in the impact advisory group.
Start Year 2017
 
Description OPAL Collaboration Agreement 
Organisation Tribhuvan University of Nepal
Country Nepal 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The institutions listed above have signed an academic collaboration agreement in relation to the award. This collaboration agreement sets out the responsibilities of each party in relation to data collection and reporting, and it specifies the processes of payment and reporting. The collaboration agreement was initiated by University of Bath prior to the start of the grant, and was reviewed and negotiated with the partners over a period of approximately two months. The University of Bath contributed its expertise in research contracts that resulted in the draft grant and coordinated the negotiation project.
Collaborator Contribution The partners contributed by specifying their own institutional requirements, with some flexibility provided by both sides. The partners also facilitated approval within their institutional contexts and requirements, and provided information on legal signatories.
Impact The collaboration agreement has been essential to starting work on the award, which has now advanced to the stage of planning data collection. The collaboration has also enabled recruitment of high-level policymakers in India and Nepal for participation in the impact advisory group.
Start Year 2017