Right to Education: What is it really a right to? - Slice of Policy

Sep 17, 2012

Dr. Wilima Wadhwa is the Director, Statistics of ASER Centre. She has been associated with ASER since its inception in 2005 and is responsible for its sample design and processing of ASER data. Dr. Wadhwa earned her undergraduate degree, with Honors in Economics from Delhi University, MA degrees in Economics from Delhi University and University of California, and her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California.

Dr. Wadhwa has been published extensively and 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, including the Working Group for the Revision of Wholesale Price Index Numbers, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. Dr. Wadhwa’s other research interests include development and monetary economics.

The speaker talks about the right to education act and its relevance in meeting the future demand for labor. She provides an overview of the labor force in India, both in terms of quantity and quality and addresses the question of what needs to be done on the demand side and supply side in particular for reaping the benefits of demographic dividends – the window of opportunity for India. How human capital is unique when compared to other resources like infrastructure and the benefits of investing in it. Using the surveys conducted by ASER she discusses the quality of education in Indian schools; whether enrollment in Indian schools necessarily translates into attendance which in-turn translates into quality education; and whether this education can result in developing a skilled labor force. Finally, she discusses issues related to the public private partnerships in schools and the necessary amendments that she should be made to right to education act and education boards in India to make education more relevant in meeting the future demands of nation.