Disadvantage and Participation Accountability Processes: Theory and Evidence from School Development and Management Committees in Karnataka, India (2017-2021)

School Development and Management Committees (SDMCs) in Karnataka are mandated by law to bring together a range of stakeholders, including from socially disadvantaged groups such as scheduled castes/tribes and women, with the purpose of working with the school administration and holding them accountable for quality education.  Despite this mandate, research evidence has demonstrated that SDMCs, particularly lower caste members and women, struggle to have an effective voice and their participation is marginalised by more powerful members and school staff.  These issues were confirmed by our first field visit. This ESRC-DFID funded interdisciplinary project investigates how an intervention might enable fuller, more authentic and more equitable participation from SDMC members in school management. The project is based on a randomised control trial which tests variations of an empowering intervention, combined with qualitative research to understand in more granular depth how the interventions do or do not interrupt these blockages.