Senior Project Associate, Math Games - J-PAL South Asia

Country 
India
Education 
Master's
Language Requirement 
English
Tamil
Length of Commitment 
Two years
Start Date 
ASAP

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab South Asia (J-PAL SA) regional office is based at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR). J-PAL is globally headquartered within the Economics Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and J-PAL SA is one of the five independent regional offices based around the world hosted at local universities. Capacity building, along with research based on randomized evaluations and evidenced-based policy outreach, is one of J-PAL’s three core objectives. 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) at the Institute for Financial and Management Research (IFMR) 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.

This position focuses on scaling-up a specific evidence-based Early Childhood Education intervention in India, i.e. Math Games which has been identified as a key priority for scale-ups in India. Math Games is an innovative game-based Mathematics curriculum for pre-school students, developed by psychologists based at the Laboratory for Developmental Studies at Harvard University and tested for its effectiveness on a range of learning outcomes by researchers affiliated with J-PAL SA provides. Our work with the Government of Tamil Nadu will be an important evidence generation and policy learning for how governments can utilize evidence to scale effective interventions to improve the cognitive abilities of pre-school aged children in India.

Responsibilities

The Senior Project Associate will be responsible for coordination of J-PAL SA’s policy support on Math Games and policy pilot and scale-up in Tamil Nadu including, but not limited to, the following activities:

  • Actively working with state, district and block level government officials in scaling-up the evidence-based program in the state and ensuring implementation of the programme in the chosen district(s)
  • Working closely with the research team at J-PAL SA to support process evaluation along with programme roll-out
  • Process documentation of implementation and administrative processes informed by regular field visits
  • Data analysis of monitoring data to inform review and support our technical assistance for system changes for the scale-up.
  • Producing knowledge products that support the scale-up, as well as capture general learnings useful for other evidence-informed scale-ups
  • Supporting the team to conduct seminars, workshops and training for government or other stakeholders on evidence-informed policy design.
  • Coordinating site visits and in-state events for potential implementing and funding partners for promotion of state wide scale-up
  • Supporting the team for conducting policy outreach in other states as and when necessary

Qualifications

  • Education and Years of Experience: Master’s degree in economics, public policy, international development, or a related field plus a minimum of 2 years of experience.
  • Previous experience with: Relationship building/management with government officials (at local and state levels) and knowledge of the education sector. Former Teach for India (TFI) Fellows and candidates with data skills and experience in field research (including process documentation and qualitative analysis) will be preferred.
  • Communication: Attention to detail and advanced communication skills (both written and verbal) for interaction with relevant stakeholders. Ability to build relationships with stakeholders at both the policymaker and field level. 
  • Time Management: Proven ability to handle several different projects/tasks at one time, successfully complete tasks assigned, and meet deadlines. A willingness to work hard, be self-motivated and learn will be essential for doing well in this position.
  • Language: Required to be fluent in both Tamil and English
  • Travel: Frequent travel within State and other domestic locations (roughly one week a month).

Note on Work Authorizations: Candidates must have work authorization to work in India. This covers citizens of India, Nepal, or Bhutan and an Overseas Citizens of India (OCI). 

How to Apply

  1. Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. Search for Job ID: 103078
  2. Please submit a cover letter, CV, and transcripts.
  3. In addition, we require two letters of recommendation. If you do not think your references will be submitted before the application deadline, please submit your application without the recommendation letters. However, please be advised that we will be requiring them should you be invited for an interview. 

Short-listed applicants will be contacted for a written exam followed by an in-person interview.