People

Dr. Rukmini Banerji, Pratham CEO

Rukmini Banerji has been with Pratham since 1996. She has extensive field experience in program design and implementation in rural and urban areas. Rukmini also led Pratham’s research and assessment activities, including the well-known Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) effort from 2005 to 2014. She took over as CEO of Pratham in July 2015.

Initially trained as an economist in India, she did her BA at St. Stephen’s College and attended Delhi School of Economics. She was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and completed her PhD at the University of Chicago. Rukmini worked as a program officer at the Spencer Foundation in Chicago for several years before returning to India in 1996.

In 2008, Rukmini was awarded the Maulana Abul Kalam Shiksha Puraskar by the Government of Bihar, India. She was the first recipient of this award. Originally from Bihar, she is now based between New Delhi and Pune. Rukmini writes frequently on education in both Hindi and English dailies in India and enjoys writing books and stories for children.

Selected publications
“Improving Literacy And Math Instruction At Scale In India’s Primary Schools: The Case of Pratham’s Read India Program,” co-authored with Madhav Chavan in Journal of Educational Change, Volume 17, Issue 4, 433-475. November 2016. View article.

“Mobilising Community for Better Teaching and Learning Outcomes: Field Experiments in Rural Schools,” in Claiming India From Below: Activism And Democratic Transformation edited by Vipul Mudgal, Chapter 12, 216-229. Routledge, India, 2016. View book.

“Teacher Performance in Bihar: Implications for Education,” co-authored with Wilima Wadhwa and Shabnam Sinha in Directions in Human Development. World Bank Group Publications, Washington DC, January 2016. View publication.

“How Do Systems Respond to Disruptive Pedagogic Innovations? The Case of Pratham in Bihar,” in RISE Working Paper Series. RISE-WP-15/002, October 2015. View article.

Rukmini’s talk on the topic of “parents and play” at the 2019 LEGO® Idea Conference, which brought together 300+ thought leaders, experts, social innovators, and practitioners to explore how caregivers can support children in their development.