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Dr Rekha Pappu

Professor , Hyderabad campus

Chairperson - TISS-Azim Premji School of Education

Ph.D. (University of Hyderabad),

M.Phil (University of Hyderabad),

M.A. (University of Hyderabad),

B.A. (Andhra University)


Rekha Pappu is Professor and Chairperson of the Azim Premji School of Education at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Hyderabad. Her research interests are in the areas of education, development, women’s studies and cultural studies. She has published in these areas in academic journals and anthologies as well as in magazines and newspapers. She has also edited the first Social Watch Report of Andhra Pradesh titled Rethinking Priorities: Making Policy as if People Mattered. (2005).
Before joining TISS, Rekha Pappu was the Coordinator & Director of Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies, Hyderabad (1997 - 2003), Convenor of the Andhra Pradesh Social Watch (2004 – 2005) and Research Consultant with the Higher Education Cell of the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society (2007-2010). She has been a Fulbright-Tata Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA (2001), a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, UK (2003) and a Key Technology Partnership Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney (2015).

Rekha Pappu has undertaken study projects and impact assessments for a range of institutions and organizations including the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India; Wipro Applying Thought in Schools (WATIS), Bengaluru, Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation (ICCO), Netherlands; German Agro Action, Delhi; Oxfam, Hyderabad and Tata Trusts, Mumbai.

Even as her primary engagement  continues to be with academics in terms of teaching, developing curriculum and conducting research, Rekha Pappu aspires to write fiction! Narrative flow and finesse in all forms (written, spoken or in the visual medium, and as fiction or non-fiction) fascinates her.

Broad areas of research interest relate to education, gender, development and social justice. Within the field of education, Rekha Pappu is particularly interested in the areas of education policy, history of education, pedagogy and teacher professional development especially in higher education. Childhood studies is an emerging area of research interest for her.

I. Books 

P. M. Sarangapani, R. Pappu (eds.), (2021). Handbook of Education Systems in South Asia. Global Education Systems. Singapore: Springer, https://link.springer.com/referencework/10.1007/978-981-13-3309-5 

R.Pappu (Ed.) Rethinking Priorities: Making Policies as if People Matter. Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Social Watch. 2005.

II. Special Issue of Journals

Guest edited along with Dr. Nirmali Goswami a special issue of the Indian Journal of Gender Studies on the theme “Current Issues in Gender and Education.” New Delhi: Sage Publication. 22: 2, June, 2015.

III. Select Journal Articles, Chapters & Book Reviews

Sarangapani, P.M, Pappu R. (2021). Education systems in South Asia: An Introduction. In P. M. Sarangapani, R. Pappu (eds.), Handbook of Education Systems in South Asia. Global Education Systems. Singapore: Springer, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-3309-5_77-1

Pappu R. (2020). Learner Diversity and Educational Marginality in South Asia. In P. M. Sarangapani, R. Pappu (eds.), Handbook of Education Systems in South Asia. Global Education Systems. Singapore: Springer, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-3309-5_52-1

Pappu R. (2020). Gender Equity in Education: Changes and Challenges in South Asia. In P. M. Sarangapani, R. Pappu (eds.), Handbook of Education Systems in South Asia. Global Education Systems. Singapore: Springer, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-3309-5_35-1

Pappu R., Vasanta D. (2020). Child Labor and Education in South Asia. In P.M. Sarangapani, R.Pappu (Eds) Handbook of Education Systems in South Asia. Global Education Systems. Singapore: Springer, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-3309-5_73-1

Pappu R. (2019). Women’s Education and Social Reform in India: Creating ‘Angels’ in the House? Voices of Teachers and Teacher Educators. 8 (1), 50 - 58.

Pappu R., Sawhney S. (2019). Building Effective School Libraries: Lessons from the Study of a Library Program in India. International Information & Library Review, 51 (3), 217-230, DOI: 10.1080/10572317.2018.1526617

Pappu R. (2018). The Gender of English in India. In T.V. Kumar (Ed.), People’s Linguistic Survey of India, Volume 37 English and Other International Languages. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan. 

Pappu R. (2017). A Humanist among Social Scientists: Some Thoughts on Literature and Social Sciences. In R.Z. Hazel & L. Sridevi (Eds.), English Language and Literature: Critical Perspectives. Hyderabad: GITAM University Press

Review of Contested Politics of Educational Reform in India: Aligning Opportunities with Interest by Manisha Priyam (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015) in Contemporary Education Dialogue, 14:2, 2017

Review of Education and Society: Themes, Perspectives, Practices (New Delhi: OUP) by Meenakshi Thapan in Contributions to Indian Sociology, 50: 1, 2016, pp. 130 – 132.

Pappu R., Goswami N. (2015). Introduction. Indian Journal of Gender Studies. 22 (2), 159 – 169. 

Pappu R. (2015). Towards a Framework for Forging Links: Exploring the Connections between Women’s Education, Empowerment and Employment. Indian Journal of Gender Studies. 22 (2), 300 – 321. 

Tharu, S., Prasad, M., Pappu R., Satyanarayana, K. (2014). Caste and Democracy: Reservations and the Return to Politics. In S. Desphande (Ed.), The Problem of Caste: Essays from Economic and Political Weekly. Delhi: Orient BlackSwan. ISBN: 978-81-250-5501-3

Pappu, R. (2011). Reconsidering Romance and Intimacy: The Case of the Single Woman. In S. Sen, N.Dhawan and R. Biswas (Eds.), Intimate Others: Marriage and Sexualities in India. Kolkata: Stree, 2011.

Pappu, R. (2010). Educational Quality and Social Inequality: Reflecting on the Link. Contemporary Educational Dialogue. 7 (1), 94 – 117. ISSN / ISBN: 0973-1849

Pappu, R. (2010). Review of Gender and Social Protection Strategies in the Informal Economy by Naila Kabeer (New Delhi: Routledge) in The Book Review.

Pappu, R. (2004). Within the Edifice of Development: Education of Women in India. IDS Bulletin. 35 (4), 27 – 33. 

Pappu, R. (2002). Constituting a Field: Women’s Studies and Higher Education. Indian Journal of Gender Studies. 9 (2), 221 – 234. 

Pappu, R. (2001). A Question of Identity. Seminar. 505, 66 – 70.

Ongoing Research Projects

Study of curricula and graduate competency for sustainable mountain futures in Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan (Principal Investigator): The collaborative research project involves researchers from Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. It seeks to examine curricular features of mountain education and the graduate competencies that are developed through programmes in higher educational institutions located in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region of the four countries.  The study aims to provide a baseline and an understanding of the programmes and the curricular frameworks used by higher educational institutes (HEIs) for imparting education for sustainable mountain futures. It also seeks to develop a framework for assessing graduate competencies in relation to sustainable mountain futures and use the framework to provide a status report of the competencies presently produced by the HEIs.

The project is supported by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, an inter-governmental organisation involving eight member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region.

Educational Discourse in Indian Languages  (Principal Investigator). The study seeks to attend to discussions on education taking place in the regional languages in an attempt to understand the nature of convergence/divergence between theorising on education in English and in the Indian languages. The study is supported by Research Council, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and draws its rationale from the course "Modern Indian Language Production" taught as part of the MPhil. programme in Education.

Completed Research Projects

Early Child Care and Education (Project Director): The importance of early child care and education in laying the foundation for the formal processes of education and for the long term well-being of children is well recognised at the national and international levels. Within such a context, the project focussed on the principles and approaches that inform the process of formulating a curriculum for early child care and education within India. Next Education supported the project and had as a key component the organisation of a conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) involving teachers and administrators of pre-schools.

Early Literacy Initiative (Project Director)The primary aim of the Early Literacy Initiative was to impact the understanding and practice of early literacy in India. The 3-year project, executed between January 2017 and December 2019, received support from the Tata Trusts. The overall objective of the Initiative and the associated activities was to build the capabilities of individuals and institutions to work for early literacy in the country given the widely acknowledged and urgent need for an intervention in the area. Details of the various activities of the project as well as the resources developed as part of the project can be accessed at eli.tiss.edu

Assessment of School Library Programme (Principal Investigator)At the invitation of Wipro Applying Thought in Schools (WATIS), a study was taken up by a 6-member team to assess the library programme of the organization Basic Research Education and Development (BREAD) Society in terms of its functioning and its effect on the children as well as the schools that participate in the programme. The study commenced in July 2016 and was completed in December 2017. The findings from the study, which revealed the critical significance of having a vibrant library programme in schools, is expected to inform the library programme of BREAD Society as well as the government programmes supporting school libraries.  The final report has been published on the official website of BREAD Society and can be accessed at http://www.breadsocietyindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/BREAD-Library-Report_TISS.pdf

Regulation in Education (Project Director): The project involved collaboration between Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Hyderabad & Mumbai, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University (AUD) Delhi and Azim Premji University (APU) Bangalore to conduct a summer school on the theme of "Regulation in Education." The summer school was successfully held in December 2013. The Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi and Azim Premji Foundation, Bangalore provided the funding support. 

Courses Taught in the M.Phil. Programme (Education and Women's Studies):

Evolution of the Indian Education System (Core Course)

Introduction to Modern Indian Language Production (Core Course) 

Education Theory and Research Methodology

Theorizing Feminisms (Core Course)

The Gendered Dimensions of Education (Elective Course)

Courses Taught in the M.A. Education Programme:

Curriculum Studies (Core Course)

Education Policy, Institutions and Practice (Core Course)

Introduction to Education Research (Core Course)

Understanding the Field of Education (Core Course)

History of Education (Core Course)

Gender and Education (Elective Course) 

Education and Development (Elective Course)

Email: rekha.pappu[at]tiss[dot]edu

Dr. Rekha Pappu

TISS - Aziim Premji School of Education

Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Turkayamjal Muncipality, Nagarjuna Sagar Road

Hyderabad - 501510

Tel: 7995007701, 7995007702

email: rekha.pappu@tiss.edu