This report looks at community-based accountability and parental participation as a lever for school improvement in rural India. It reviews a case study project in Andhra Pradesh, which was set up in the context of failures in primary education access and quality across the state. The project used a novel approach to improve primary school standards: the training of illiterate mothers to inspect and report on local school quality using a simple traffic-light scorecard process.
This is an important case study for education policymakers as they turn their attention to the potential of community-based accountability to drive school improvements. The judicious use of this ‘short route’ of accountability is seen as a way of increasing ‘return’ without greatly increasing expenditure: a cost-effective way of driving basic school improvements in resource-poor settings. This case study research gathers some valuable insights for policymakers by capturing these improvement forces in action: