NEW DELHI: The methodology used by the organisation run by this year’s Nobel laureates — Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo — to finding solutions to challenges in the world, helped in evaluating NGO Pratham’s approach called Teaching at the Right Level, their CEO said.
Since 2001, Banerjee and Esther Duflo have been studying Pratham’s interventions in primary schooling. “They have rigorously evaluated Pratham’s ‘Teaching at the Right Level’ approach to understand its effectiveness on improving children’s reading and arithmetic skills,” Pratham CEO Rukmini Banerji told this newspaper.
According to her, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL) co-founded by Duflo and Banerjee, comes and looks into the programmes and evaluates them.
“I might think I am doing a great job but if an external party comes, uses systematic methods and independently comes to a conclusion that it is working. Then someone else can take up the same method. It is like a drug trial. Bringing methods to answer questions. They are bringing a method into social policies to be able to answer some questions,” she said.
Six randomised control trials have been carried out Pratham’s work by JPAL researchers led by Banerjee and Duflo. These include a variety of contexts – both in the school and in the community, instructors have included community volunteers, Pratham team members as well as government schoolteachers.
“In this randomised evaluation, you take 100 villages and randomly assign 50 to treatment (to their problem) and 50 to not getting that treatment. That’s what our teaching methodology is. We have been doing that,” she stressed.
Delhi government said that it used the Nobel winners’ model to design their scheme Chunauti. “The principle behind is to say that for a certain period of time during the day, start from their level. One could be in 5th standard but 50 % of children (in that class) are not able to read. How you fix that is the issue. Delhi government is doing Chunauti to fix that,” said Banerji.