Research Associate, Early Childhood Education - J-PAL South Asia
Project: Early Childhood Education
Start Date (earliest): ASAP
Base Location: Banaskantha, Gujarat
Length of Commitment: One year
Organization: J-PAL South Asia at IFMR
Language requirement: Gujarati and Hindi
The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) J-PAL was established in 2003 as a research center at the Economics Department at MIT. Since then, it has grown into a global network of researchers who use randomized evaluations to answer critical policy questions in the fight against poverty. J-PAL is propelled by a team dedicated to research, policy, training, and other vital work, supporting J-PAL's mission to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence.
J-PAL South Asia, the regional office that is based at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) in India, analyses and disseminates research results and builds partnerships with policymakers to ensure that policy is driven by evidence and that programs proven effective are scaled up. We have a growing number of partnerships in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. For more information on J-PAL SA, please see http://www.povertyactionlab.org/south-asia.
The Policy team at J-PAL South Asia (J-PAL SA) disseminates findings of J-PAL’s research; develops relationships with governments, civil society, and academic stakeholders; catalyzes scale-ups and replications of effective projects; and assists in conceptualizing new research projects. The team works closely with the global J-PAL office based at MIT to align the regional strategy with broader organizational objectives.
The ECE project is aimed at evaluating Pratham’s early childhood education programs through a randomized controlled trial. Though Pratham and J-PAL enjoy a long-term partnership, this will be the first instance of an evaluation of Pratham’s ECE program. This is an excellent opportunity to obtain a strong understanding of issues relating to ECE, a sector that is increasingly attracting a lot of attention from researchers, policymakers and implementers.
Pratham’s early childhood education programs cater to ages 3 to 8. Programs range from support to Anganwadis, encouraging mothers’ involvement in children’s education and formal classroom activities in schools and communities. A key objective of this evaluation is to understand ‘what works’ in terms of ECE program delivery and the ideal duration of an ECE program.
Additionally, the researchers also aim to evaluate a “home-based” Math Games programs which is built on previous research on Math Games in schools. Math Games is an innovative math curriculum that aims to develop children's intuitive concepts of number and geometry, informed by decades of cognitive development research, and rigorously evaluated through three randomized evaluations in Delhi.
Research Associate Roles and Responsibilities
- The RA will work closely with academic researchers, Research Manager, and other field staff to perform a variety of tasks including, but not limited to:
- Designing survey questionnaires, conducting qualitative research, running pilot exercises, refining study design, and surveying instruments.
- Managing field teams: Recruit, train, and supervise both field-based and data operations teams consisting of project assistants, field managers, field-based surveyors, data entry operators, and other field and office staff.
- Overseeing implementation of the evaluation according to the research design, in association with our partner organization.
- Maintaining relationships with partner organizations at both headquarters and field levels.
- Supervising data collection and data entry, and ensuring data quality and productivity.
- Assisting with data cleaning, preliminary data analysis, and preparation of documents and presentations for dissemination.
- Data cleaning and management
- Develop scripts in Stata to analyze survey data, clean data and identify trends across time for all ongoing data collection efforts
- Review and vet project datasets and maintain an efficient data documentation system
- Work with other members of the team to reconcile any gaps or errors in the data
- Data analysis and synthesis
- Liaise with members of the project team by sending them statistics as and when required
- Generate aggregated views of the data for various stakeholders – the Principal Investigators, donors and other partners
- Assist in documenting data collection efforts, including any issues and key decisions taken for improvements
- Reporting to PIs, Research Managers and partners on some/all of the above-mentioned activities.
- Maintaining compliance with all J-PAL protocols and policies.
Desired Qualifications and Experience
- Bachelor's/ Master's degree in economics, social sciences, public policy, or related fields is required.
- Experience-0-2 years, experience working in education sector is preferred.
- Experience in working in rural areas
- Excellent management/ organizational skills and ability to solve unexpected problems is required.
- Strong quantitative skills is required.Working knowledge of Stata (strongly preferred), MATLAB/R is required.
- Familiarity with RCTs is required.
- Demonstrated experience in managing a team is preferable
- Flexibility, self-motivation, independence and efficient multitasking is required.
- Ability to deal with unstructured and changing environments is required
- Attention to detail is required.
Note on Work Authorizations
Candidates must have work authorization to work in India.