The South Asian Speaker Series began the spring semester with a talk by Assistant Professor of Economics at Cornell University Jim Berry. Berry’s Jan. 30 lecture was titled “Enrollment without Education: Addressing India’s Primary Education Challenge.” He focused his talk on recent advances and challenges in India’s primary schooling system and how economic research can inform educational policy and address the learning gap in Indian primary schools.
Berry is a member of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) which seeks to “reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence and research is translated into action.” At Cornell, Berry teaches development economics, labor economics and applied microeconomics. He has written numerous papers and articles for economics journals such as the American Economic Review. His research has been funded by organizations including the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation.
J-PAL’s website points out that while access to education in developing countries has improved, the quality of that education is often still suffering: “Low student attendance, absent teachers, and underperforming schools are persistent problems across the developing world.”
The South Asia Speaker Series was conceived by Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Anthony Cerulli, Associate Professor of Economics Feisal Khan, and Associate Professor of Political Science Vikash Yadav in the fall of 2009. The purpose of the series is to foster awareness on campus of South Asian culture, history and scholarship on issues pertaining to the countries in South Asia.
This talk was co-sponsored by the Department of Economics and the Office of the Provost.