Innovating in Education: NGO Interventions in New Delhi Government Schools
AbstractThis dissertation examines three education non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in New Delhi that attempt to innovate within the Indian government school system. The author uses immersive ethnography to understand how school-level phenomena can enable or constrain student learning. First, the author argues that “tightly managed,” highly supervised teachers can engage and plan more with the schools in which they work, whereas “loosely managed,” unsupervised teachers act autonomously and engage less. Rigid curriculum causes teachers to teach faster than students can learn. Flexible curriculum allows teachers to adjust to student learning speeds. Second, the author finds that NGO and mainstream government teachers have distinct “cultures of learning.” Government teachers sort students into two categories: learners and non-learners, effectively blacklisting the latter and failing to cater to their needs. NGO teachers try to treat all students equally, despite high levels of within-classroom inequality in student learning levels. Importantly, the students themselves in both government and NGO classrooms usually tend to subscribe to the government culture of learning rather than the NGO one. Students themselves show evidence of having internalized their status as either capable or incapable of learning. There is no evidence to suggest that NGO teachers have been able to alter the approach that government teachers take to teaching and learning within government schools. Finally, the author points out that the NGOs studied are able to scale their programs up to more schools if they maintain strong administrative relations with government actors, secure independent funding, and establish their interventions at schools to merely a sustainable extent. It is not necessary for NGOs to gain any government teacher or student buy-in in order to scale up.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:40049977
- FAS Theses and Dissertations