Chalo Bihar! : May 13, 2014

In 2004, three hundred young Pratham people from across the country spent a month in Bihar, getting to know communities and children. 

Exactly ten years later, ASER and Pratham teams are embarking on another ambitious exercise in Bihar. In a first-of-its-kind collaboration with a state government, this month ASER Centre will conduct a school-based assessment of more than 1.5 lakh children, spanning all 38 districts of the state, in collaboration with the Government of Bihar and UNICEF.

The project aims to present a snapshot and an analysis of children’s learning outcomes in government schools of Bihar. At the same time, it is also a capacity building exercise to help district level functionaries develop skills in monitoring, measurement and evaluation. We hope that the results from the exercise will enable district-level functionaries to develop a plan of action to strengthen and improve children’s learning for the 2014-15 school year.  

All government schools with primary classes from two randomly-selected clusters in each district will be covered. Children who were in classes 2, 4 and 6 during the 2013-14 school year will be assessed in Hindi and Math through oral and/or pen-and-paper tests, depending on the grade.
About 80 government district-level functionaries will join the 120-member ASER/Pratham brigade as lead trainers and supervisors.  Field teams will consist of DIET students in each district, supplemented as needed by CRC and BRC staff.  Here’s a snapshot of what lies ahead:

·         May 14- 17, 2014: 120 ASER and Pratham members from all corners of the country arrive in Patna to set the ball rolling! They are joined by DIET faculty members and others from every district in Bihar. The study is off to a start with a four-day state-level workshop to train all 38 core district teams on the survey process and methodology. Training of field investigators and the monitoring of the survey will be the shared responsibility of this team.
·         May 21-24, 2014: District teams make their way to their respective districts for a four-day district-level workshop to train the 60+ field investigators.
·         May 25-30, 2014: Over five consecutive days in each district, field investigators will visit every government school in the 2 randomly-chosen clusters to collect information on schools, meet the children in these schools, and test them in Hindi and Math.

Watch this space to read about our experiences and learnings as this mammoth project rolls out!