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International Education: Focus on India

Student/Country Focus

The February 2017 Student/Country Focus is provided by Deepa Idnani from India.

Deepa Idnani


Deepa in Oxford

Deepa Idnani is working as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Education, SPM College, University of Delhi, India.

Searching for International Education Resources

Searching is easy -- finding is sometimes difficult. 

  • Start with UCL Explore which includes IOE holdings and 17 other UCL libraries.
  • If you're searching for education-related resources, it makes sense to start with sources like the British Education Index and ERIC  which are limited to education and contain reliable information. 

Tip 1. Choose a reliable source

The challenge to finding what you require is to choose the right search source for your needs and to focus your search.

In any search, you need to aim for the right balance between the quantity and quality of references. Google and Google Scholar can be handy, but Google results are not limited to quality education sources. If you want to fine-tune your searches, be sure to choose reliable and specialist catalogues and databases. For example, the BEI and ERIC are limited to education sources, they contain quality sources in substantial quantities and their coverage is international. In addition, you can further refine by choosing 'peer-reviewed' journals.

Tip 2. Focus and refine

The next step is to focus your search by linking topics or keywords. Most electronic search systems are based on Boolean logic using 'OR' & 'AND'. Using ‘OR’ links words and allows you to use alternative words or phrases which will widen your search and enable you to find more material. Using ‘AND' means that both words or ideas must be present which will narrow your search.

For example, if you are searching a database and you want to limit your search to fewer, focused results, you may need to use 'AND':

  • e.g.Sri Lanka AND primary education

Tip 3. Widen and expand

If you have limited your search to a particular country or region, you may find that you will need to widen your search beyond education. You may find large organisations like the OECD and the World Bank more useful for searching for related disciplines to education. For example, the OECD iLibrary covers many themes including the 'education' theme.

If you are searching for books on Sri Lanka, you may want to widen your search with 'OR' to receive more results:

  • e.g. Sri Lanka or Ceylon OR South Asia

For more search help, go to Databases and Searching for Resources.

Deepa's Education and Experience

Greetings from India!


In India, I attended a Christian missionary school and completed a masters in Political Science and Education as well as a MPhil. In 2015-16, I was awarded the Commonwealth Scholarship for my Doctoral work at the UCL Institute of Education, London. As an international student, IOE events provided an amazing forum for understanding cross cultural perspective and contexts. In addition, being able to experience and participate at UCL in different clubs and societies added a new facet to my personality.


With the passage of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, free and compulsory education is a fundamental right for children between the ages of 6 and 14 in India. After the completion of secondary education students can choose among the three different streams: Science, Commerce and Humanities.


At the undergraduate level there are different courses ranging from Science, Commerce and Humanities Pass & Honors to professional courses like Engineering, Medical, Law, Commercial Accountancy (CA & ICWA) etc. The courses offered are highly selective but based on ‘affirmative action’ for different sections of society.


To me, universities generally are seen as places of learning and research, but within them, there is also a ‘critical space’ for freedom and reflection which has been part of my ethos and helped nurture my aspirations and dreams. In London, the rich and diverse libraries and the accessibility of resource materials facilitate researchers' interests and help us venture into different domains and set our own boundaries.


My research explores the student - teacher relationship focusing on ‘teacher’s authority’ in a secondary school in India. This ethnographic work provides deep insights around teachers’ and students’ everyday lived reality in a school, from a Weberian lens. I have presented my research at international forums like the European Sociological Association, British Educational Research Association and at the University of Cambridge which helped me develop a new model and push the frontiers of knowledge in my area of research.




Featured Resource

In 2017, I published Right to Education and Schooling (in the IOE Library) which explores critical thinking around the Right to Education Act (RTE) in India in its different facets ranging from its historical antecedents to contemporary times. The various provisions of the Act have been discussed, apart from its implementation and the challenges faced. The book draws from a range of empirical studies which will help in improving good practice among practitioners and researchers.