Ravi J. Matthai Centre For Educational Innovation (RJMCEI)

The Ravi J. Matthai Centre for Educational Innovation (RJMCEI) was formally established in 1991. It is named after Professor Ravi J. Matthai (1927-1984), the first full-time Director of IIMA, who was deeply interested in rural education. From an initial focus on institution building and higher education, the mandate of the RJMCEI has gradually expanded to include primary education, literacy and secondary education. The Centre has a robust research agenda built around innovations in education and innovative approaches to countering problems in education.

The Centre has a long history of working with the Government of India and various state governments on management in education. It has participated in the assessments of various programs such as the District Primary Education Programme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, National Literacy Campaigns and Post-Literacy Campaigns, Shiksha Karmi and the Navodaya Vidyalaya scheme. It has also worked on curriculum packages in elementary education, emergency education for earthquake-affected regions, innovations within the public educational system, and has prepared a number of studies of educational performance. Its more significant projects include the Same Language Subtitling project, built on the principle of reinforcing the learning of newly literate people through sub-titling of songs in the same language, and the development of a peer-driven, decentralized professional development system based on teacher-initiated innovations. The RJMCEI has also developed a number of case studies of innovative schools, rural institutions of higher education and management education institutions in India and other SAARC countries and Africa.

The RJMCEI has also been involved in capability building in the educational sector. It runs a popular one-week programme for leadership development in secondary schools. In addition, the RJMCEI has conducted leadership programs for heads of management institutes, engineering colleges and Industrial Training Institutes, directors of the State Educational Research and Training Councils, and other government officials. The doctoral program of the Centre, ‘Innovation and Management in Education’, is a unique interdisciplinary offering that incorporates innovation in education into the broader framework of an advanced degree in management.

Area Members

Primary Faculty Members

Devasmita Chakraverty <devasmitac@iima.ac.in>

Ambrish Dongre <ambrishd@iima.ac.inPersonal pagePersonal page2

Kathan Shukla <kathans@iima.ac.in> (Chairperson)

Vijaya Sherry Chand <vijaya@iima.ac.infaculty.iima.ac.in/~vijayawww.inshodh.org

Secondary Faculty Members

Naveen Amblee <naveena@iima.ac.in>

Vishal Gupta <vishal@iima.ac.in

Kavitha Ranganathan <kavitha@iima.ac.in>

Ankur Sarin <asarin@iima.ac.in>

Neharika Vohra <neharika@iima.ac.in>

Area Secretary: Archana Premkumar (exctv-rjmcei@iima.ac.in)

Academic Associate:


Doctoral Programme

The doctoral programme in Innovation and Management in Education aims at developing research scholars and teachers who can take up leadership roles in educational organizations and systems. The focus on innovation and management is expected to develop in the graduates a unique academic capability that combines a management perspective with the theme of innovation. This fits in with the emerging demand for people with fresh perspectives on educational change from a wide range of academic institutions like schools, colleges and universities, organizations that provide services and ancillary support to the regular educational structures, well-established national and international educational planning organizations and academic institutions, and various research bodies and social think-tanks. More details are available at the doctoral programme page.  Meet our doctoral students


Ongoing projects

This project aims at leveraging teacher-generated innovations to promote a decentralized and peer-driven approach to teacher development that can complement top-down reform. It has created an ‘Educational Innovations Bank' (EI Bank), a clearing house for innovations of government school teachers who have achieved their educational goals in spite of facing the same constraints that thousands of others face. As of March 2021, the EI Bank had developed a repository of about 13,000 verified innovations, another 7000 innovative ideas and about 16,000 teacher projects, from Gujarat and Maharashtra (www.inshodh.org). The EI Bank was supported by the Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai (2005-07); the Hewlett-Packard Sustainability and Social Innovation Award (2012-13) has made the scaling up of the work and its conversion into a web-based resource possible.

This study seeks to understand, from the perspective of school principals, the features of the models of school governance developed by them as a result of their re-contextualization of policy guidelines concerning school management committees. The study is based on in-depth case studies of selected teachers and school management committees.

School climate is one of the most consistent predictors of academic achievement, psychological wellbeing in students, and dropout rates. The concept of school climate presents a useful mechanism for driving large-scale school system reform. However, it is highly sensitive to social context. Most measures of school climate have been developed and validated in the United States. This study proposes to develop and validate student, teacher, and principal versions of a school climate survey for Indian upper-primary, secondary and high schools. It would thus add to the under-developed literature on school climate in the Indian context.

The ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, and the accompanying lockdown measures, school closures and severe contraction of economic activities, have posed an unprecedented challenge for educators, administrators and more critically, for children and their parents. Fears have been expressed about dramatic learning loss, large increases in drop-out rates and spikes in child marriages, child trafficking, and child labour, prompting concern about the disappearance of the progress India has made in the last two to three decades.

The key research objective of this study is to track a) status of enrolment, b) access to remote and other types of learning, c) access to various government initiatives, and finally, d) learning outcomes for children who are in the age-group of 6-17, in the short term as well as over the medium term. The research will also shed light on potentially heterogeneous impacts of the pandemic depending on gender of the child, parental education, income, and other household characteristics. The indicators will be tracked through household surveys at periodic intervals in a specific neighborhood in Ahmedabad.

Students develop perceptions around failing through early socializing experiences. Both family and early school experiences could play a role in this. In primary school, failing means not being able to obtain the minimum pass marks. However, the experience of learning changes over time, from more objective knowledge consumption in school and college to complex, abstract problem solving in higher education after college. Therefore, the meaning of failing may change too. The objective of this exploratory research study is to understand behaviors related to the fear of failing. In India, especially, students face competition from a young age. Yet, we lack a foundational understanding of the cultural aspects of the fear of failing, relying mostly on anecdotal evidence. The proposed study will address this paucity of research on how students experience and/or internalize the fear of failing, emphasizing on understanding their experiences. Findings of this study will deepen our understanding of how students navigate their academic experiences from the perspective of fear of failing as well as develop coping mechanisms. This will have cross-cultural implications as well.

The purpose of this state-wide study (N ~ 33000 primary schools of Gujarat) is to examine the efficacy of an online in-service teacher development programme that focuses on improving the socio-emotional climate in schools and students' psychoeducational outcomes employing a randomized control trial.

This study examines the efficacy of an in-service professional development programme aimed at helping educators deal with gender and adolescence issues in the districts of Banaskantha and Sabarkantha, Gujarat. It is a randomized control experiment being conducted in 40 government primary schools.


Projects completed in the recent past

The objective of the first phase of this project was to develop a cost-effective platform for online in-service professional development of teachers that uses a curriculum based on teacher-driven innovations. Two pilots for about 2000 government school principals on governance were conducted during January to October 2017. The pilots were well received, and their evaluation by a doctoral student of IIMA showed significant changes in change-oriented behaviour, as assessed by subordinates.

In Phase II, a new program for about 19,000 science and math teachers of upper primary schools in Gujarat was launched on May 20, 2018. This ended on December 31, 2018. This program was sponsored by Samagra Shiksha, Gujarat. It also involved training about 500 Cluster Resource Centre Coordinators in classroom observation. In Phase III, the program has been expanded to all levels and most subjects of the elementary cycle. This program had a curriculum co-construction component (June-August 2019), and was launched on August 16, 2019. It closed on January 10, 2020 and covered 139,900 teachers. With this, the development-demonstration of a cost-effective and technologically feasible platform for large-scale online professional development of grassroot-level staff in education and other public systems was completed. The key features of the platform are a case-method approach (built on problem-solving work of teachers), peer-learning through discussion forums, periodic self-reflective assessments, and an applied in-class project to be carried out by the participants towards the end of the program.

This project sought to examine the effectiveness of "Educational Innovation Fairs" as a tool for developing a culture of innovation in the District Institutes of Education and Training in Gujarat. IIMA was directly involved in the first two "Educational Innovation Fairs" 2016 and 2017. In each district, about 40 teachers, whose work had been validated, displayed their innovations for two days. The stalls were visited by one teacher from each school in the district. All the visitors ranked the innovations. The top three innovative teachers from each district were invited to a state fair. A study of the program found that more than half of the visitors had adopted or adapted at least one idea from the fairs. The government conducted the fairs on its own in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The aim of this project, completed in 2019, was to develop a network mechanism to disseminate problem-solving innovations and promote discussion on particular innovations. A mobile phone-based discussion forum received a link to one of the innovations in the EI Bank every 10 days, and the best responses were fed back to the forum. About 10,000 teachers participated in the forum. A similar activity was carried out through about 90 WhatsApp groups. The work was then extended to studying self-initiated teacher development groups that use Facebook, websites or WhatsApp as communication tools and was incorporated into the online professional development platform.

This project, initiated in 2014, has demonstrated the feasibility of an online internship program. It argues that providing higher education students a learning-by-doing opportunity in the form of a challenge related to social development can meet the desire of students to engage in reflective learning and address some key concerns related to school development, such as the digital divide in government schools. The internship saw the participation of more than 800 students who produced about 4500 videos, many with teaching manuals, to supplement Science and Math teaching in Classes 6 to 8 and language in Classes 1 to 5, and about 2500 projects in Science and Math for Classes 6 to 8. Packages prepared from this content were distributed for offline use.

This study of about 6700 children sought to examine under-studied relationships between teacher innovative behavior and the development of non-cognitive competencies of children in the public schooling system.

The quality of teacher interaction with children is known to impact academic outcomes through multiple pathways. Student engagement with academic tasks is one such mediator between teacher interaction and academic performance. In the Indian context there are no rigorous studies of this relationship. Our initial studies showed that though the measures currently used to assess quality of teacher interaction in western contexts may be unsuitable for India, the negative dimensions of teacher interaction may be reliably measured. This study examined the relationship between negative teacher interaction and student engagement.

This project, coordinated by Prof. Ankur Sarin, was included in the mandate of the RJMCEI on July 1, 2014. The centre functions independently now.

This project aimed at developing capabilities to deliver and evaluate professional development using online interactive methods for grade levels 3 to 5 (age group 8 to 10) among a team of educational staff of the Government of Gujarat. The program focused on Gujarati language, Math, Environment Science, Hindi and English, in addition to classroom transactions and student-teacher interaction, and on designing methodologies to give feedback to teachers for improving performance. It was completed in January 2020.

The project aimed at assessment of an Activity-based Learning program and at evolving a professional development curriculum for ABL teachers based on blended-learning approaches. The project also involved the development of a repository of material for online use.

In the context of the increasing role of the private sector and the potentially adverse consequences of inequalities in access and quality of schooling, section 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act mandates the reservation of at least 25% of the seats for socially and economically disadvantaged at the entry level (either pre-primary or grade 1) in non-minority private unaided schools. Despite all the publicity, the evidence of the effect of section 12(1)(c) on children's access to 'better' schools, their educational experience, and their educational and life outcomes remains patchy. This research aimed to answer some of these questions through rigorous primary data collection by creating household level panel data focusing on socially and economically disadvantaged households in Ahmedabad.

Staging Enabled