Rukmini Banerji is Director of ASER Centre
, the autonomous research and assessment unit of Pratham
. She has also been a member of the national leadership team of Pratham, a large scale citizens’ initiative to universalize elementary education in India. Currently Pratham works in 20 states across India and has a presence in 250 out of approximately 600 districts. Initially trained as an economist (St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, and the Delhi School of Economics) Rukmini was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University between 1981 and 1983. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1991. Rukmini did her post doctoral work at the Population Research Center at the University of Chicago and later worked as a program officer at the Spencer Foundation. Originally from Bihar, she is now based in Delhi.
With Pratham, Rukmini’s work since 1996 has focused on designing and implementing large scale programs for helping primary school children learn well. This is done through building collaborative partnerships with state governments and with village communities. Much of her field experience is in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Rukmini has also been a core member of the team that designs and implements ASER (Annual Status of Education Report). ASER is the largest annual study ever done by Indian citizens to monitor the status of elementary education in the country. In the seven years since it was initiated, the ASER effort has been widely recognized for its innovative use of citizens’ participation in understanding and improving the delivery of basic services.