The project will investigate how the accountability of schools differs according the school management model and whether accountability is linked to differences in learning outcomes. Recently, a great deal of attention from international development donors has focused on new models of school management (e.g. community-managed schooling or privatization), however there is insufficient data on the extent to which these management models are linked to differences in perceived accountability and/or students' learning. Furthermore, the exclusive focus on cognitive outcomes does not capture schools' social contribution in terms of social inclusion and participation.
We propose to take a more sophisticated approach to accountability than previous research by examining the perceived accountability of multiple stakeholders: parents, teachers and school management. We also take an expanded view of accountability, drawing upon the concepts of social return impact and blended value accounting to consider how the outcomes of education can include increased social inclusion by addressing marginalities along the lines of caste and gender in addition to cognitive outcomes
The project will involve quantitative data collection on the perceived accountability of various school stakeholders (i.e. parents, teachers, and management), cognitive learning outcomes, and children's well-being and social inclusion. These data are collected using established research instruments that have been employed in international contexts. Data from the quantitative component of the study will be used to examine how different models of school management are related to perceived accountability, student learning outcomes and social value (i.e. inclusion and cohesion).
Additionally, we will undertake in-depth qualitative case studies on a subset of schools, which will provide insights into the engagement between different stakeholders and the perception of accountability relationships. The qualitative studies will provide a foundation for the generation of theories to explain quantitative findings and contribute to theoretical understandings of accountability and organizational relationships in education.
The project brings together management and education researchers from the University of Bath, Tata Institute for Social Sciences (Mumbai), Tribhuvan University (Nepal) and Roskilde University (Denmark). Through its quantitative and qualitative components will provide a robust body of evidence to examine how models of school management relate to perceived accountability, cognitive learning outcomes and the social contribution of schools.