Akshara Foundation – Research Fellowship Programme

Akshara Foundation was set up with a mission to ensure Every Child in School and Learning Well. Our work at Akshara Foundation is to universalize equitable access to quality preschool and elementary education for all children through multiple innovative models – a high level of social empathy and a clear belief that we now have the unique opportunity to bridge the gaps. Since its inception in March 2000, Akshara has touched the lives of over 700,000 children in the state of Karnataka, India. Akshara is an implementing, advocacy and research organsiation focusing on elementary education in government schools and preschools. Akshara is into programme-focused research since we strongly believe in evidence based, measurable and scalable solutions for policy implications.

Programmes/ Themes:

Research in Early Childhood Education around the world suggests that early environment and experiences contribute significantly to child development. In this context, learning assumes centrality because child development happens in cognizance with learning. Akshara’s preschool education programme with this theoretical framework as the background. In 2011-12 Akshara has worked with over 1800 Anganwadis run by the government’s ICDS scheme and impacted over 40,000 children.
Akshara maintains time series, panel data of all these children on their learning outcomes. In addition, data on the community intervention for improving the school preparedness programme in these Anganwadis is maintained. This is, therefore, a good opportunity for young researchers to use the database and produce pioneer research based on evidence.

In the area of In-School programmes, Akshara’s reading program implemented in 2006 reached 70,000 children, while the math programme has impacted 36,000 children so far.  Libraries were set up in 1400 government schools and stocked with high quality age appropriate content, ion many locations in digital form as well. Over 640,000 books are now in circulation in six languages in these libraries. This effort has helped us collect census data on children. We also have the structure in place to conduct qualitative studies, both relating to primary government school education and preschool education. Akshara Ganitha and Basic English programmes are implemented in around 700 government schools that are reaching out to 50,000 children. These programmes are aligned to the objectives specified by the National Curriculum Framework 2005 and learning outcomes are tracked.

Researcher’s Delight:  The excitement is about the working with KLP data.The Karnataka Learning Partnership – KLP –  (www.klp.org.in) championed by  Akshara is a dynamic data platform that provides immense possibilities of researching cross section and time series data.

Akshara now invites researchers for its Fellowship Programmes.

Possible Researcher roles:
• Developing research designs and proposals , designing of research instruments, data collection in the field, statistical analysis and report writing
• Analysis of historical data collected by Akshara and delivering outputs including both research reports and academic papers.
• Writing of reports and presentation of findings to internal and external audiences, including policy makers, besides key stakeholders.

Requirements for researchers:
• Strong statistical experience, including knowledge of STATA or SPSS or R
• Knowledge of social policy, education or economics, preferably in a development context
• Excellent English speaking ,writing and presentation skills
• Initiative and a strong work ethic
• Willingness to live and work in Bangalore for an extended period of time. And travel within Karnataka.
• Experience of field research in developing countries and knowledge of Kannada would also be advantageous.  Stipend will be paid for the stay duration. Please send your resume along with a 1000-word essay on your opinion on the key issues in elementary education and possible solutions to :

Ms. K.Vaijayanti at  vaijayanti@akshara.org.in.

And do visit http://www.akshara.org.in and http://www.klp.org.in for more information on Akshara Foundation and Karnataka Learning Partnership.

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