Theme: Urban Education

Plenary 1: Urban Education: What we know and what we don't

The Plenary Session on Urban Education will include:

  • Welcome, overview and discussion of Conference goals. Dr T Padmini, University of Mysore and Pratham Mysore
  • Presentation of ward census from 6 cities. Rukmini Banerji, Pratham/ASER
  • Overview of Deep Dive sessions. Session moderators

Deep Dive 1: Access, retention and equity

Barriers to access are different in urban than in rural areas. Specific barriers may vary depending on the socioeconomic characteristics of the population being served: they may be physical, economic, social, cultural or linguistic, among others. Different kinds of barriers may operate differently across sub- populations, age groups, and urban contexts. At the same time, the enormous expansion in private sector provisioning has meant that a variety of schooling options are available to children in urban areas. This session will focus on the issue of equitable access to quality education in urban areas.


Deep Dive 2: Learning outcomes in urban India

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009) guarantees eight years of quality education to all children. Although data is increasingly available on the learning outcomes of children in rural India, little evidence is available on scale for urban India. The diverse nature of urban contexts requires data disaggregated at least at the city level. However, on the one hand, the technical complexities involved in generating sample-based estimates are considerable in urban areas; and on the other hand, the diverse governance structures are often such that there are neither producers of nor “takers” for city-wide evidence on children’s learning outcomes.


Deep Dive 3: Stakeholder Participation in urban schooling

In recent years the concept of ‘community participation’ has gained currency as a means of decentralizing control over schools and increasing their accountability to the local community. To this end, the Right to Education Act (2009) mandates the establishment of a School Management Committee in every school. In urban areas, however, the concept of ‘community’ is difficult to define in the specific context of school level participation. Given that there are many different kinds of schools in urban areas, the "community" living in proximate areas may not have a stake in the school, and members of school committees may not have the time or the ability to ‘participate’ regularly or in substantive ways. What is the nature of the ‘community’ in urban areas, and do existing mechanisms for stakeholder participation – whether parents, teachers, school officials, local municipal corporators, MLAs, political and social leaders or others – serve the purposes for which they were established?


Deep Dive 4: Education, skills and employability

For India to take advantage of the so-called ‘demographic dividend’, young people graduating from schools and colleges today need the skills necessary to make them employable and productive. However, an increasingly vocal chorus of voices across the country centres on the complaint that students fresh out of school or college lack these basic skills and abilities, requiring companies to invest massively in retraining programs to ensure an adequate supply of trained manpower to fuel the country’s economy. Initiatives that combine basic education and skilling require information about what skills and abilities are available among urban youth as well those that are needed by potential employers. This panel will examine the key issues related to youth, education and employment in urban India.


Deep Dive 5: Generating Data: Methodologies for Citizen-led Research

Deep Dive 6: Sharing Data: Strategies and Platforms for Data Access