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Blogpost: Assessing Status of Schools through Composite Indices
Source of the information:
Accountability Initiative, India
If you have been tracking our work as we have been tracking development funds of the Indian government, you would have realized that it has been just about a year since we embarked on our ambitious survey to track fund flows in elementary education. Our district studies were based on a first crack at the data we collected through the school survey and from government budget documents.
In the last few weeks, some of us have been trying to delve deeper into our data to see if we can find any patterns in fund flow and school characteristics across our 9 PAISA districts. While Ambrish has been trying to figure out whether fund flows to schools can be explained by school-level characteristics (e.g. other things remaining constant, would a school with high enrolment be more likely to receive a grant, does the distance of the school from the block resource centre or the cluster resource centre matter etc.), I have been trying to compare the “status” of schools in our 9 districts.
How do we go about evaluating this “status”? What does it even mean? Should we look at how schools function - do teachers come to schools, do students come to school; or examine infrastructure facilities in a school – whether there is a usable hand pump or toilet? Or we could try and see if a school receives the grants it is entitled to. Perhaps, we could look at learning levels of children in a school or the school’s examination results? Or do we look at parent involvement in the school. My personal feeling is that we should look at all of these, and more. However, the tragedy is that we haven’t collected data on everything that we would possibly want to evaluate schools on. So we compromise and make do with what we have.