Researching Accountability in the Indian System of Education (RAISE)

The RAISE research project is funded by the ESRC/DFID Raising Learning Outcomes programme and focuses on accountability towards ‘disadvantaged’ learners in primary education in India. These learners are disadvantaged by a range of structural inequalities, which are often cross-cutting, such as gender, location, caste, and class.

RAISE views accountability in education as systemic and relational: children’s learning outcomes are shaped by particular norms and interests, modes of participation and regulatory roles of actors at multiple scales of the education system. Taking key quality and equity provisions in India's Right to Education Act (RTE), the project investigates norms around access, participation and monitoring held across the scales of families, schools, communities and the educational bureaucracy. It follows a sequential mixed methods approach to track how specific policy initiatives stemming from RTE directives are understood across these four system scales in the project sites of Bihar and Rajasthan.

The study shows how system actors’ practical actions converge and diverge with goals for learning - as understood both by the RTE and the actors themselves - and identifies impacts on children's learning outcomes that are differential, often inequitable and tend to reproduce disadvantage.

The project brings together academics at the Universities of Leeds and Cambridge in the UK and Azim Premji University in India and NGO-based researchers, and is hosted by Vidya Bhawan in Udaipur, India.


The project’s approach to analysing multi-scalar accountability relations challenges existing understandings of systemic reform. It provides empirical evidence and learning for policy that have direct application for improving quality and equity in elementary education in India. RAISE was featured in a policy workshop at national level in December 2019 led by the RLO’s Impact Initiative.

Publications and outputs

Dyer et al. (2019) ‘Relational systems of inclusion and exclusion: a cross-scalar analysis of educational access and participation in India’, UKFIET The Education and Development Forum. 

Dyer, et al. (in progress) Accountability Relations and Collective Responsibilities in Education: Contestations of the Social Contract in India’s Right to Education.