An important element of our research consists of primary education, covering both institutional aspects of the school system as well as social forces surrounding the idea and practice of basic education. In particular, teacher autonomy and effort, the role of teachers’ unions in expanding educational opportunities of the underprivileged, the disturbing growth of supplementary tutoring even to learn the basics, curriculum overload, and the importance of the Integrated Child Development Scheme and the school meal programme in combating child hunger in school constitute some of our core research activities. We also focus on issues of universal health care coverage, the lack of access to basic health knowledge, of strengthening of public health care services, and addressing information asymmetry between seekers and providers of care in the health sector.
The Institute’s action-oriented research does not remain confined to academic interactions and collaborations alone (we of course do collaborate and interact with other research institutes such as Asian Development Research Institute in Patna and Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata, and organisations like the UNICEF, and with teachers’ unions in the State), but extends to include regular exchange of views and ideas, in various public forums, with public officials, schoolteachers, parents, health workers and professionals, and civic organisations. Such participatory engagements feed into our research in the form of a better understanding of the nuts and bolts of deliberative democracy. Through our research we seek not only to contribute to a better intellectual understanding of various social problems but also to work towards development of improved public policies.