This webinar took place on Wednesday, August 30 and provided an overview of TaRL and discussed the pros and cons of different implementation and design decisions. Rukmini Banerji (CEO, Pratham), Annie Duflo (Executive Director, IPA), and John Floretta (Director of Policy, J-PAL) presented and answered audience questions.
Links to resources from the first session:
CEO, Pratham Education Foundation
Rukmini Banerji has worked with Pratham setting up and running large-scale programs to improve children’s learning since 1996. Rukmini has received national and international recognition for her capacities as an educator, researcher, innovator, and a leader and assumed the position of CEO and President of Pratham in July 2015. Until recently, Rukmini was Director of the ASER Centre in India (the research and assessment unit of Pratham) as well as heading Pratham’s programs and activities in several major states in north India. In 2008, Rukmini was awarded the Maulana Abul Kalam Shiksha Puraskar by the Government of Bihar, India. Rukmini was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and completed her PhD at the University of Chicago.
Annie is responsible for leading the strategic directions of IPA, the implementation of its strategic plan and the day to day operations. Previously, Annie served as IPA’s Research Director where she managed IPA’s research network, staff capacity-building, and new project development. She also played a key role in the scaling up of successful programs with particular focus on education. Annie has a wealth of experience implementing and managing randomized evaluations in the field. Prior to joining IPA, Annie was the Executive Director of the Centre for Microfinance (CMF) at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) in Chennai, India, which she joined at its creation. Annie holds a Master of Public Administration and International Development degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Master in Social Sciences from EHESS (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales)/ ENS (École Normale Supérieure) in Paris.
Director of Policy and Communications, J-PAL Global
John Floretta is Director of Policy and Communications for J-PAL. He works with policymakers, J-PAL affiliated researchers, and J-PAL global and regional staff to disseminate lessons from randomized evaluations and promote evidence informed decision-making and scale-ups of successful social programs.
John was Deputy Director of J-PAL South Asia during 2011-2015 where he helped run J-PAL’s largest regional office. His work in India focused on disseminating policy lessons and scaling up evidence-backed interventions. He was also involved with building monitoring and evaluation capacity of government and civil society partners, including the establishment of the South Asia Center for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR), a World Bank coordinated initiative.
His career has centered on international development program management and analysis. He worked with the United Nations Development Program and United Nations World Food Program in China for five years and led evaluation and organizational learning assignments with Nike Foundation and Mercy Corps. John speaks Mandarin and has lived and worked in Asia for over 12 years. He holds a Master’s of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University with concentrations in development economics and human security.
On Friday, October 27, Wilima Wadhwa (Director, ASER Centre), Hannah-May Wilson (Program Manager, PAL Network), and Rachel Glennerster (Executive Director, J-PAL) presented on Assessment.
Wilima Wadhwa discussed the ASER Tool as a spark for action and the role of assessment in highlighting the lack of basic skills, Hannah-May Wilson shared insights from contextualizing the ASER tool across Africa, and Rachel Glennerster presented on how assessment results can inform what teachers do in the classroom.
Links to resources from the second session:
Director, ASER Centre
Dr Wilima Wadhwa is the Director of ASER Centre. She has been associated with ASER since its inception in 2005 and has published extensively in academic journals. Wilima teaches statistics and econometrics at the University of California (Irvine), and the Indian Statistical Institute (New Delhi). She has also been a member of various government committees. Wilima’s other research interests include development and economics of education. Wilima earned her undergraduate degree in Economics (with Honours) from Delhi University, and two M.A. degrees in Economics from Delhi University and the University of California. Wilima also holds a PhD in Economics from the University of California.
Program Manager, PAL Network Secretariat
Hannah-May Wilson is the Program Manager for the PAL Network Secretariat, responsible for amplifying the voice and raising the profile of the fourteen-country network globally. Prior to joining the PAL Network Secretariat, Hannah-May worked as a Senior Program Officer in Communications for Uwezo East Africa. Hannah-May started her career as a researcher for the British Red Cross and the UK Cabinet Office before moving to Canada where she worked as an Analyst for the Government of Ontario. Hannah-May sits on the Board of Trustees for Future First Global. Hannah-May holds an MSc in Social Policy Research from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Executive Director, J-PAL
Scientific Director, J-PAL Africa
Co-Chair, J-PAL’s Education sector
Rachel Glennerster is Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research includes randomized evaluations of education, health, microfinance, community driven development, agriculture, women’s empowerment and governance in Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. She serves as Scientific Director for J-PAL Africa and Co-Chair of J-PAL’s Education Sector. She helped establish Deworm the World which now deworms over 150 million children a year. Previously she worked at Her Majesty’s Treasury and the International Monetary Fund. She is coauthor of Strong Medicine: Creating Incentives for Pharmaceutical Research on Neglected Diseases, and Running Randomized Evaluations: A Practical Guide. Glennerster holds a PhD in economics from Birkbeck College, University of London.
The third webinar of the Teaching at the Right Level webinar series on Monitoring and Mentoring took place on Thursday, 7th December 2017.
Devyani Pershad (Head of Program Management, Pratham) discussed the role of monitors and mentors in TaRL programs. Benjamin Piper (Senior Director, RTI International) shared research on teacher coaching and innovative ways of collecting data. Hanno Kemp (Program Director, FUEL) talked about how to ensure monitoring data is used to strengthen systems and inform action.
Links to resources from the second session:
Head of Program Management, Pratham
Devyani heads Program Management at Pratham. The team that she leads works with program and state teams to plan, track, review, document and report activities for all education programs. Additionally, the team also leads all business development activities and management of donors for the organization. Devyani’s professional experience prior to Pratham was in advisory services where she focused on public private partnerships, project management, evaluation and strategic advisory assignments in education, health and tourism sectors. Devyani has an MBA from IESE Business School, Barcelona. During her MBA, Devyani chaired the Doing Good and Doing Well conference – a unique initiative of the school focused on Responsible Business. Apart from her experience in the development sector, Devyani has also been active in music over the years and is part of a professional choir in Delhi. She has been with Pratham since 2013.
Senior Director, RTI International
Dr. Benjamin Piper is the Chief of Party of the Primary Math and Reading (PRIMR) Initiative, a research program designed to test low-cost and scalable approaches to improving reading and mathematics outcomes in Kenya. He supervises several embedded research programs in PRIMR, including those studying information and communication technology investments, the relative importance of books, lesson plans and training, and the impact of mother-tongue programs in Kenya.
He is also the Regional Education Advisor for RTI’s International Development Group. In this role, Dr. Piper supports the technical design and implementation of the Uganda School Health and Reading Program and the Reading for Ethiopia’s Achievement Developed project.
Dr. Piper has experience in quantitative research, including longitudinal data analysis, randomized controlled trial designs, and mixed methods designs, and he is interested in the transitions between primary and secondary education, as well as secondary and tertiary education, and evaluation of programs targeting various portions of educational quality.
Program Director, FUEL
Hanno Kemp is Programme Director of the FUEL Trust, where he uses change management and capacitation to influence the performance of systems within the South African Department of Basic Education, such as the National School Nutrition Programme, which feeds almost 9 million students each day. Before joining FUEL, Hanno headed up Twenty30, a skills volunteering organization that focused on bridging cultural and social divides, especially for young professionals from blue chip companies. With a tagline of “Inspiring South Africans to Action”, Twenty30 became a powerful catalyst in skills and employee volunteering. Hanno has worked in academic quality assurance and education management in a number of tertiary institutions, and was an integral member of the team that migrated the examination and certification of South African actuaries from the UK to South Africa in 2008. Along the way, he has pursued passions as wide-ranging as Christian ministry, coaching chess and owning a pizzeria. Born and bred in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, Hanno studied Law at Stellenbosch University and Organizational Psychology at the University of Pretoria. He is married to Linda and they have two daughters. When not cooking for friends and family, he is either immersed in a book, playing with his kids, or planning where to go camping next. Hanno is a Fellow of the ninth class of the Africa Leadership Initiative-South Africa and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.