An important element of our research consists of primary education, covering both institutional aspects of the school system as well as social forces surrounding the idea and practice of basic education. In particular, teacher autonomy and effort, the role of teachers’ unions in expanding educational opportunities of the underprivileged, the disturbing growth of supplementary tutoring even to learn the basics, curriculum overload, and the importance of the Integrated Child Development Scheme and the school meal programme in combating child hunger in school constitute some of our core research activities
This section contains published reports of research-in-action projects undertaken by Pratichi over the two decades of its existence
The State of Primary Education in Jharkhand (2004)
This rigorous inquiry was focused primarily on Dumka district and yielded findings that were more of a suggestive rather than definitive nature. However, the intensive quality of the investigations, the methodology adopted by the research team for relating the delivery of primary education to class, caste, gender and other social factors, and corroboration with wider public discourse (media reports, government and other reports, interviews with people other than selected respondents, etc.), forms the basis for certain overall inferences about the state of primary education in the state of Jharkhand as a whole.
Cooked Mid-day Meal Programme in West Bengal – A Study in Birbhum District (2005)
This evaluation study was taken up by the Pratichi research team in order to draw a broader picture of the impacts, constraints and possibilities of the Cooked Mid-day Meal Programme in Birbhum district of West Bengal, where the implementation of the programme had been on course in 300 primary schools. The indications are quite explicit in suggesting a very positive impact of the programme not only on attendance and partial elimination of hunger but also on the overall governance of the primary schools.
Hormo Jivi Bhalai Pontha (Towards Better Health and Life) – A Report on the People’s Health Initiative by the Adivasis of Jharkhand (2005)
The Pratichi (India) Trust, in collaboration with the Ayo-Aidari Trust and supported by the Asia Development Research Institute (ADRI) in Patna, sponsored and took part in a research-based public-action initiative in the area of public health, based in seven remote villages of the Gopikandar block in Dumka district of Jharkhand. The project involved setting up a free public health centre in a previously unserved area, establishing a supportive network with the closest public health facilities, building the capacity of local people to independently determine their needs, identifying public resources to satisfy such needs as well as facilitating the assertion of people’s rights to avail such resources and helping people free themselves of the expensive private health options provided by local quacks. This report encapsulates the story of the project: its history, its functioning, and its success.
The Pratichi Health Report I – The Delivery of Primary Health Services: A Study in West Bengal and Jharkhand (2005)
This report presents the findings of Pratichi’s first investigation into the basic health services in the two districts of Birbhum in West Bengal and Dumka in Jharkhand. The research team concentrated on the corresponding state of affairs in the two contiguous districts of eastern India, a comparison of the circumstances prevailing in both these places and the vitally relevant policy issues that the conclusions threw up.
Public Private Interface in the Primary Schooling System: A Study in West Bengal (2006)
This inquiry into the phenomenon of the emergence of private schools as an alternative to government sector schools in different parts of West Bengal, particularly in the urban areas, was based on research carried out in the rural and urban settlements of Bolpur-Sriniketan, Dubrajpur and Nalhati I blocks of Birbhum district. The main findings with regard to patterns of schooling at the primary level in the studied rural and urban areas (including the extent of private schooling), differences in identities of populations opting for different kinds of primary schools, differences between the different kinds of primary schools (in terms of infrastructure, student-teacher ratio, attendance, quality of teaching and learning, governance, etc.), reasons behind choosing of particular kinds of primary schools and the general perceptions of people regarding private schooling seem to have considerable policy relevance even now.
Public Delivery of Primary Education in Kolkata: A Study (2006)
This project was envisioned and carried out on the basis of an invitation from the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) to conduct a study of the overall quality of schooling provided in the schools run by it. The brief report critiques the state of affairs in the primary schools of Kolkata followed by significant suggestions for improvement meant to provide crucial directions for future policy and practice.
The Pratichi Child Report I – A Study on the Delivery of ICDS in West Bengal (2008)
The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is the largest child development programme in the world involving a number of services aimed at improving the nutritional status of children and pregnant and lactating mothers. The Pratichi Research Team carried out an inquiry in the delivery of ICDS in West Bengal. Work on this project started in 2006 and the final report was published in 2008. The publication of this report activated public debate and discussions in the state regarding the neglect of children in general and those from underprivileged backgrounds in particular.
The Pratichi Education Report II – Primary Education in West Bengal – Changes and Challenges (2009)
The first set of surveys conducted by the Pratichi research team in 2001-02 involving a number of somewhat arbitrarily chosen schools in six districts of West Bengal yielded enough data for it to arrive at a credible assessment of the key challenges affecting primary school education in these parts as well as possible remedies for the same which culminated in Pratichi’s first Education Report. Seven years later, in 2008-09, the same schools in the same districts were resurveyed to compare and examine the nature of the progress or stagnation in primary education vis-à-vis the earlier picture — and the conclusions constituted this second report.
Status of Elementary Education in Bihar (2010)
This inquiry involved working in six villages selected in each of the five districts of Bhojpur, Bhagalpur, Gopalganj, Madhubani and Katihar in Bihar – totaling 30 villages – for collecting relevant data on village characteristics, the 31 schools in these 30 villages, and household information on educational practices from 900 households of the studied villages. The Pratichi (India) Trust and the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), Patna had jointly undertaken this study between July and October 2010 not only to ascertain the prevailing status of elementary education in Bihar but also to identify some of its crucial deficiencies and suggest ways for remedying the adversities.
Non-Communicable Diseases: A Preview from West Bengal (2012)
This study was carried out with support from the Department of Health & Family Welfare, NRHM, Government of West Bengal. The report presents an analysis of the chronic illnesses – especially non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that can be avoided through reasonable action – eating into the health of the denizens of West Bengal.
The Sarva Shiksha Mission in North Bengal – Progresses and Challenges (2012)
This project originated from an animated discussion on some apposite suggestions of certain members of the state’s Department of School Education and the Pashchim Banga Rajya Sarva Shiksha Mission (PBRSSM). While highlighting the impacts of Sarva Siksha Mission on the delivery of education in the state – both through infrastructural expansion and creating critical demand – the report also points to the greater need of certain significant modifications.
Functioning of the Cooked Mid-day Meal Programme in West Bengal – Report of Monitoring of the Programme in Kolkata, Murshidabad, Malda and Jalpaiguri (2013)
This project was undertaken to monitor and inquire into features crucial to the apt implementation of the CMMP – like the type of kitchen sheds used for cooking, the kind of service providers given charge of the school meals and their modus operandi, the availability and quality of storage facilities and water, the quality and regularity in the supply of rice, the hold-up in the payment of conversion costs and so on – in selected districts of West Bengal. The findings contained in this report strengthen the argument that the so-called small details of tasks quintessential to the process of serving hot meals to children in school that are more often than not taken for granted must be supervised meticulously to enable children to benefit from their rights to education and a decent life.
Secondary Education in West Bengal: Prospects and Challenges (2013)
This study, in association with UNICEF Kolkata, aspired to address the knowledge gaps in the general awareness that appear to prevail regarding the possibilities and problems of secondary schooling in West Bengal. The research team used a number of methods to inquire into the various aspects relevant to government school education at the secondary level: the demand for and supply of schools, the curricula, the human resources, the quality of teaching and learning, the educational facilities and infrastructural necessities, the socio-economic factors governing the length and breadth of the children’s careers in school, the gender and ethnological disparities, et al. The report contains the team’s findings. Though the report clearly depicts that all isn’t well with secondary education in this state also attempts to proffer some concrete suggestions for remedial action.
Status of Elementary Education in the States of Assam, Jharkhand, Mizoram, Odisha and Tripura with Special Reference to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 (2013)
This report is an outcome of a collaborative project undertaken by the Pratichi Institute and UNICEF in order to firstly understand the various factors and their inter-relations as also the role of various agencies in the delivery of elementary education in the five states of eastern India and then to not only identify the lacunae but also laud the positive achievements for modification and adaptation in policies and implementation schemes.
Status of Child Protection at Juvenile Justice Homes in West Bengal (2014)
Pratichi Institute and Railway Children in collaboration with the State Level Inspection and Monitoring Committee of Homes constituted by the Government of West Bengal, conducted a study on the status and condition of the children vis-à-vis their entitlements under various programmes and statutes in Shelter Homes under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. The report uncovers the pitiable condition of the grossly neglected children who are provided shelters in state supported Juvenile Justice Homes and attempts to probe into the atrocious ignorance as well as the social insensitivity towards these children with some suggestions for remedial action.
The Pratichi Child Report II: ICDS in West Bengal and Bihar (2015)
This inquiry into child development under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in West Bengal and Bihar was conducted jointly by Pratichi Institute, Kolkata and the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), Patna. Revisiting the insights presented in the first Pratichi Child Report published in 2008 and extending the same further through inter-State and intra-State comparisons, this collaborative venture focused on the analysis of the extent to which the ICDS has made a difference to the lives of the children in Bihar and West Bengal and more importantly of the considerable ground that still needs to be covered. This report presents to the public the findings of the combined study. The report in the form of a publication was released by Professor Amartya Sen on 9 February, 2015 at the Press Club of Kolkata.
Education through Creation: A Research Study Report on Library as a Resource for Harnessing Spirit of Enquiry among Children (2017)
This investigation into the impact of the school library on student achievement was conducted in selected areas of Himachal Pradesh. In this qualitative study the research team attempted to explore the functioning of school libraries, from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders like parents, teachers and children. The aim was to identify the factors that promote and impede reading at home and school, and also to develop an understanding of the ‘reading culture’ in the local community.
Wheeling Education: An Assessment of the Sabooj Sathi (Bicycle Distribution) Scheme for School Students of West Bengal (2019)
Pratichi Institute had been invited by the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes Development and Finance Corporation to undertake a study of the effectiveness of the Sabooj Sathi scheme all over West Bengal in five phases. The first two phases of the study had already been undertaken in the previous year. The third phase of the study of this project was initiated in June 2019 and the fieldwork was undertaken in June and July 2019. The data analysis was carried out in July 2019, and the rough report was prepared by August 2019. During September and October 2019, editing and reworking of the report was done. It was finalized and submitted in November 2019.
Formative Study to Enhance the Understanding about Reasons for Smooth Transition among Boys and Girls to Secondary Schools – West Bengal Report (2017)
In this study, commissioned by UNICEF India, the Pratichi Institute researchers look into the why-s and wherefore-s involved in the ease or hardship of continuum that the boys and the girls of West Bengal encounter while moving from the primary to the upper primary level of schooling and thereafter to the secondary and higher secondary phases of education. They attempt to examine whether the policy vision and actions are adequate and effective enough to ensure that young boys and girls complete their school life without getting forced to drop out or being pushed out of the system prematurely. Their findings constitute this report.
Banglar Awas Yojana – an Analytical Report of the Scheme Implementation in Nadia District (2018)
This project involved an evaluation of the Banglar Awaas Yojana – Amar Bari Amar Ghar – a West Bengal government initiative akin to the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Rural. The assessment was undertaken on request from the Nadia Zilla Parishad for evaluation of the implementation of this scheme in Nadia district. The objectives of the study were – (a) to assess the completion rate as against the target, (b) to assess the quality of construction, (c) review the implementation of convergence of the schemes aligned with the housing, finally (d) to assess the extent of exclusion of eligible beneficiaries. The report was submitted in June 2018.
Tripura Human Development Report II (2018)
The Pratichi Institute was involved in the preparation of the second Tripura Human Development Report for over two years – through 2015, 2016 and 2017. The research team endeavoured to measure advancement or regression or even inertia in the condition of people of Tripura by examining issues like whether they had enough to eat, decent housing, apt healthcare facilities, suitable employment opportunities, proper access to education, entitlement to a meaningful community life, the right to vote and the freedom of choice. The initial draft of the report was presented to the different departments of the Government of Tripura and their comments resulted in several rounds of editing. In the latter half of December 2017, we received the final comments from the Government of Tripura, along with a request for the preparation of the final version of the report.
Foundations of Multilingualism in Formative Years: School Education in Himachal Pradesh (2019)
This study attempts to explore the ways by which primary school children of Himachal Pradesh are expected to learn languages – namely Hindi and English – within the formal setup of their schools. While Hindi is the language that is rooted within children’s familiar and familial zones, English is a foreign language. However, the demand for learning English is very high. It emerged from classroom observations that textbooks were the sacrosanct resource for teaching and learning of English and Hindi in primary schools – although they were of questionable quality. A set of recommendations that emerged from teachers’ interviews highlight the importance which the teaching community attributes to the use of local dialects, and a variety of reading formats which should be used in classrooms to promote the quintessence of multilingualism.
Primary Education in Kolkata: Overlapping Barriers and the Need for Collective Efforts (2020)
This study on ‘public’ schools, under Kolkata Primary Schools Council (KPSC) and Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) was actually derived from the larger framework of the on-going project – “Achieving Quality of Education through Enhanced Teacher Capabilities”– steered by Pratichi (India) Trust and funded by the Tech Mahindra Foundation (TMF). It draws on the collaborative spirit of many school teachers in the city of Kolkata. The Pratichi research team has striven to show that while public schools are essential for equity goals as they cater mainly to underprivileged children, there is need for major improvement in the quality of education these schools provide.
Living World of the Adivasis of West Bengal: An Ethnographic Exploration (2020)
Pratichi Institute in collaboration with the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, had undertaken the work of preparing a detailed report on the socio-economic, political and cultural profile of the 40 notified Adivasi tribes of West Bengal that constitute 47 per cent of the overall Scheduled Tribe population. The report of this unique ethnographic study – Living World of the Adivasis of West Bengal: An Ethnographic Exploration – was completed and formally released by Professor Amartya Sen at a function organised at the Vidyasagar Hall of Asiatic Society on 19 February 2020.