Education is seen to be a great driver of social, economic and political progress. Nevertheless, often education epitomizes imbalances between high-income and low-income countries. Millions of children come out from schools without basic literacy and numeracy skills, with women making up nearly two thirds of the world’s illiterate adults. In low-income countries, around 69 million adolescents are not receiving post-primary education. Simultaneously, poorly trained teacher and the lack of basic infrastructure make learning more demanding. 

This research programme is designed to scrutinize literacy and primary education from a variety of points of view. The approach aims at investigating the interplay between cultural affiliations, social dynamics and schooling. Special focus will be put on teacher attendance record, gender discrimination at school and the link between health and education.

Ongoing projects

School outcomes in schools with children from different income groups

In India, the sort of school where a child will pursue her education is determined by parents’ income. This means that children from wealthy families study all together, while children from lower income families study in other schools. Now, The Right to Education Act section 12 (1) (C) mandates that every private school needs to admit a 25 percentage of children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This aspect of the act led to an uproar among parents and school administrators. They claim that the admission of children from poor will ffect the quality of education. This paper studies the validity of this claim, by investigating the performances of children in mixed schools.


Achievement inequality in Latin America: The impact of the link between selectivity and social background on student performance in 15 countries

This research project examines the extent to which achievement inequality is shaped by selectivity-driven school differentiation. Educational research has singled out the role of several components in the study of achievement inequalities (i.e. the distinction between classroom and school level factors), which relate to different effects of instructional practices and contextual effects. However, it has not been fully acknowledged that significant institutional features of school systems play a key role in the generation of performance differences, among them the degree of selectivity of school systems. The project relies upon TERCE, a recent cross-national data for 3rd and 6th graders from Latin American countries. We expect to find that the higher level of socioeconomic segregation among schools in different countries is associated with a higher degree of selectivity, which explains factors like school climate, among others. The research should lead us to conclude that researchers and policy-makers should look at the intersection between school effects and national institutional arrangements in order to explain social differences in academic achievements fully.

Project team

Navika Harshe

Research Associate

Francisco Ceron

Research Associate

Focus areas

  • Quality and access to primary education
  • Learning intervention and alphabetization
  • Education and gender