Working Paper


How Do Systems Respond to Disruptive Pedagogic Innovations?


Image of Rukmini Banerji

Rukmini Banerji

Intellectual Leadership Team

RISE Intellectual Leadership Team

This paper, authored by Rukmini Banerji, director of the NGO Pratham, offers an on-the-ground narrative of how an idea navigated its way through a changing landscape and played out in the context of established mind-sets as well as entrenched systems and interests.

Tracking the path of the “Pratham-Jehanabad model” of “teaching at the right level,” Banerji follows a disruptive pedagogic innovation in Bihar, India, from its introduction in 2012 to the current time. Any intervention is also embedded in a larger web of cross-cutting interests and institutional structures. On a smaller scale, an individual at the right level of authority can maintain the momentum for at least a school year. But for the approach (the goals and the activities) to become ingrained into the habits of people and workings of the system may require longer run, intensive work, digging deeper into the roots of people’s perceptions and practices. Detailed studies of government officials at different levels of the system – school, cluster, block, district and state – provide vivid illustrations of how different people react to a new intervention especially a disruptive pedagogical innovation like “teaching at the right level”.

Author bios:


Banerji, R. 2015. How Do Systems Respond to Disruptive Pedagogic Innovations? RISE Working Paper Series. 15/002.