October 2019 India Project Visit
In October, Fair Chance for Education Project Principal Investigator, Professor Ann Stewart, made her way to India for a Project visit.
During the visit, Ann, along with PhD student Nikita Samanta currently doing her fieldwork in India, were involved in various meetings with government representatives to get guidance for the project. They also held a seminar on the project with the postgraduate students in the social work department of BPS Women's University Sonipat, kindly hosted by Head of Department Dr Manju Panwar, as well as visited Central University Haryana, where Ann presented her work on women and aging for a panel on ‘Sustainable Development in Environment, Economy and Society’.
Ann and Nikita also met the Research Advisory Group members in Delhi for a conversation on the preliminary findings of the first phase of the Project on Gender and Education in Haryana, and discuss the next phase of the project.
Ann is now back from India to start work on this next phase and Nikita is due to finish her fieldwork at the end of January.
To find out more, see the visit report here.
FCF Team Member Mentioned in NIEPA Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education (CPRHE) Annual Report
The 2018-2019 CPRHE Report from the National Institute of Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA) is out, and both Dr Emily Henderson (Co-I) and Ms Anjali Thomas (PhD) were mentioned in the report.
In the report, Emily features on pages 58, 59, and 80 in relation to her CPRHE visit in February 2019. More specifically, she is mentioned on page 82, in the program for the International Seminar on ‘Employment and Employability of Higher Education Graduates’ for which Emily was one of the discussants, also during her February 2019 visit.
Anjali Thomas also features in the report, specifically in a picture on page 59 of the report. The picture was taken during Anjali’s time as a visiting scholar at CPRHE.
To find out more, please see Report here.
A Statement by Anjali Thomas on her Fieldwork Completion
"I successfully collected data for my doctoral thesis from India between October 2018 and April 2019. During this period, I was also a Fellow scholar associated with Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education (CPRHE) at National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) during my field work in India under the direct supervision of Dr. Nidhi Sabharwal at CPRHE, NIEPA. The bulk of my data collection from Haryana was conducted between December 2018 and March 2019. I collected data from Mahendergarh in December 2018 and January 2019, from Sirsa in November 2018 and February 2019 and Sonipat in March 2019. I conducted interviews with 26 undergraduate students from sampled state government colleges across the three students. I also conducted interviews with the families of eleven of these undergraduate participants.
During this time, I also worked on a draft of the Methodology Chapter for my doctoral thesis. To prepare this draft I also spent time in the NIEPA library to consult books on qualitative methodologies and recent publications on research into higher education. Additionally, I organised the Third Consultative Group Meeting for the Fair Chance to Education in Haryana Project at the India Habitat Centre on 22nd February 2019. I participated in this meeting and presented the Methodology that I have been using for my doctoral research and the preliminary findings from the field to members of the consultative group.
Third Consultative Group Meeting
As a fellow at CPRHE I was able to interact with the faculty and post-graduate students who were working on schooling and higher education research in India. I interacted with students and academicians from NIEPA and other Indian universities during different conferences and seminars. I was also able to attend NIEPA’s National Education Day Celebration in the form of the Ninth Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Memorial Lecture on “Diversity Management under Indian Constitution” by Professor Faizan Mustafa, who is the Vice Chancellor of NALSAR University of Law in Hyderabad in November 2018. I also had the opportunity to attend a two day Workshop on Leadership Development in Higher Education, organised by NIEPA in January 2019. During this even I was able to meet and interact with vice-chancellors from different universities across India. In April I returned to the University of Warwick and have started working on the data that has been collected over six months and developing my doctoral thesis."
Nikita Samanta's Arrival onto the Project
The project's second funded PhD Student has now arrived in the UK and settled into the project. Here is Nikita's account of her arrival:
Having lived in the UK before, arriving at Coventry wasn't much of a culture shock but it was quite a departure from London, where I'd previously spent a year. Having the project team to support and guide me through the initial few weeks of turmoil that is usual when trying to uproot and relocate was a welcome relief and provided me with much-needed comfort and reassurance. The student union organised multiple events and activities in the first week, which helped me get acquainted not only with the campus and my surroundings but also with several peers from all around the world who quickly became friends. I've managed to get involved pretty quickly with me representing my class as a PGR SSLC member, auditing 3 modules in rather diverse topics but all of which relate and will aid my research, taking up the responsibility of the project blog and joining various societies on campus besides juggling my own research. I was also able to give a short presentation at a conference in London at the SRHE within just two weeks of arriving at Warwick.
I've had a few meetings with the project team and my supervisor, Ann Stewart since my arrival and we've discussed my role in the project but also my own research within the project and the ways forward. I am excited to get started on my proposal for my upgrade and am hoping that all will be smooth sailing.
All in all, it has been a rather exciting and productive one month since I've arrived and I can only imagine how much more exciting (and busy) the next couple of months will get.
Anjali Thomas’ New Piece on Intersectionality in Higher Education
FCF Project PhD Student, Anjali Thomas, has published a new piece in July! The piece is an article for the University World News – also published on the project blog – on ‘Why higher education requires an intersectional lens’. The article explains intersectionality as a theoretical framework and explores how it may be useful to fight inequalities in the context of higher education, in particular regarding admission and course as well as college choice.
To read Anjali’s article, click here.
Project presentation at UCL Institute of Education CEID Conference
Emily Henderson and Anjali Thomas presented a paper entitled, “Gendering access to higher education in Haryana, India: A comparative study of two government colleges” at the CEID Annual Conference 2018: Higher Education and International Development at the Institute of Education, UCL, London. Many of the papers at this conference were from the African Continent, especially South Africa. The keynote speaker, Dr. Teboha Moja, presented a really interesting and critical analysis of development of scientific research from the African continent and the politics of collaborative work between the global north and south.
The project paper shared the context, design and preliminary findings of the Pilot study conducted in February 2018. We were the only paper in the conference working on data from India and received a lot of interest from scholars working on education in the Indian subcontinent. We were asked why we chose to study Haryana. We reiterated that we have chosen to focus on Haryana as it is a leading state in India in terms of agricultural, industrial and infrastructure development, which is however also a leading state in terms of violence against women and people from historically marginalised communities. There is a need to examine these inconsistencies in narratives of development so that similar unequal development models are not replicated elsewhere. There was curiosity whether women choosing urban higher education institutions over rural institutions were an attempt to access less restrictive spaces with more independence or an attempt to reshape gender relations. There was also concern whether we could be paying attention to details such as family size and birth order. We explained that we would give significant attention to factors such as family size and birth order, we further clarified that our understanding of college choices by students were not inferred rather they were the concerns directly reported to the Pilot research team.
‘Deconstructing Haryana’ at the ‘Order/Disorder’ conference at University of Warwick
The Fair Chance for Education project saw its first formal conference presentation in April. The conference was organised by Sarah Hodges (History) in relation to the University of Warwick Global Partnership Fund Award 2017/18. A delegation from Shiv Nadar University, India visited Warwick and the conference itself was held on the 26th and 27thof April 2018. The conference was titled “Order/Disorder: Self and Society in Modern South Asia”. The event was attended by the four visiting academics from the Shiv Nadar University and faculty and research students (History, Literature, Sociology, CES and Theatre) from Warwick. A majority of the presentations were on literature, history and political developments in India.
Emily Henderson and Anjali Thomas presented the first Fair Chance for Education paper on the second day of the event on 27th April 2018. The paper was entitled ‘Deconstructing Haryana: Dis/order in representations of gender, caste and education’. Emily started the presentation with a brief introduction of the project and its focus on gender and educational trajectories in Haryana. The second part of the presentation was a conversation between Emily and Anjali, where Emily discussed the process of deconstruction and Anjali deconstructed the narratives and representations of gender, caste and education in Haryana. There was a lot of interest in the funding and the focus of the project. People were also interested in how we deconstructed the emerging narratives of development and gender empowerment in Haryana.
Dr Nidhi S Sabharwal Blog Post ‘Mind the Gap – Gendered and Caste-based Disparities in Access to Conference Opportunities’
Project partner Dr Nidhi S Sabharwal has published a guest post on the Conference Inference blog co-edited by Dr Emily Henderson, project co-investigator for the Fair Chance to Education project. Running parallel to this project, Emily Henderson’s other research explores various aspects of academic conferences, and her blog – which she runs with Dr James Burford (Thammasat University, Thailand) – considers critical and social issues relating to conferences, such as caring responsibilities in the context of conferencing.
To extend the project collaboration beyond the Fair Chance project, Emily invited Nidhi to contribute a post to the blog. In her post ‘Mind the Gap – Gendered and Caste-based Disparities in Access to Conference Opportunities’, Dr Nidhi S Sabharwal answers some pressing questions about the issues of caste and gender inequality in relation to access to conferences in India, as well as the correlation between the prestige of the institutions and the diversity of access. Dr Sabharwal also discusses the repercussions that such limitations have on individual professional growth.
Click here to read the full post.