COVIDialogues: Helping children catch up after schools reopen

Zoom webinar (Time zone: IST)


TaRL activities taking place in a classroom in Gujarat, India
Teaching at Right Level activities taking place in a classroom in Gujarat, India.
Photo: Luke Strathmann | J-PAL

J-PAL South Asia is excited to present COVIDialogues, a webinar series in which leading J-PAL-affiliated researchers respond with evidence to COVID-19’s most critical policy questions.

The first COVIDialogue focuses on the ongoing learning crisis in India in the aftermath of the pandemic. At a time when more than 320 million children in India have been out of school for months on end, understanding the learning needs of each child has never been more important.

Join us for a webinar with Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, J-PAL), Rukmini Banerji (CEO, Pratham Education Foundation), and Yamini Aiyar (President & CEO, Centre for Policy Research, India) to explore how tailored instruction programs can stem learning losses in the aftermath of COVID-19.

The speakers will be joined by policymakers and development practitioners for a deep-dive into implementing tailored programs to help children catch up and master foundational skills in reading and math. They include:

  • Balamurugan D, CEO & State Mission Director, Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society.

  • Ajay Seth, Additional Secretary, Urban Development, Government of Karnataka and Managing Director, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited.

  • Bhupendra Singh Poonia, State Project Director, Odisha School Education Programme Authority

  • Pankaj Sharma, Executive Director, Transform Schools, People for Action

Drawing on decades of generating rigorous evidence and implementing education programs, both across states in India and other countries, Abhijit, Rukmini, and Yamini will engage in a dialogue to tackle this unprecedented disruption to the school year and discuss how policies grounded in scientific evidence can improve children’s learning outcomes in the time of COVID-19.

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About the Speakers

Abhijit Banerjee

Abhijit Banerjee Photo

Abhijit Banerjee is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2003 he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan and remains one of the directors of the lab.

Professor Banerjee is the recipient of the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, awarded jointly with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty." He is the author of a large number of articles and three books, including Poor Economics which won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year.

Rukmini Banerji

Rukmini Banerji Photo

Rukmini Banerji is the Chief Executive Officer of Pratham Education Foundation. She has extensive experience in program design and delivery and has played key roles in developing and implementing Pratham’s partnership programs with governments.  Over the years, Rukmini has led assessment activities of Pratham including setting up an internal measurement, monitoring and evaluation unit. For ten years, from 2005 to 2014, she was the Director of ASER Centre, Pratham’s autonomous research and assessment unit, which conducts the well-known, nation-wide Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey.  Rukmini has been with Pratham since 1996 and took over as CEO in 2015.

Yamini Aiyar

Yamini Aiyar Photo

Yamini Aiyar is the President and Chief Executive at the Centre for Policy Research, India. Her research interests are in the field of  social policy and development. In 2008, Yamini  founded the Accountability Initiative at CPR. Under her leadership, the Accountability Initiative has produced significant research in the areas of governance, state capacity and social policy. It pioneered a new approach to tracking public expenditures for social policy programs and is widely recognised for running the country’s largest expenditure-tracking survey in elementary education.