Really nice piece from Tina Rosenberg in The New York Times about Global Development and Population Program grantee Pratham’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), and how it’s helping to improve educational outcomes in India:

Education in India is a paradox. India’s scientists and engineers are dominant in global technology, medicine and other fields. Yet 40 percent of its third graders can’t read words. “The Indian education system has always been good at the top of the distribution — which is where the elites are drawn from,” [Karthik] Muralidharan [“an associate professor of economics at the University of California at San Diego, who has studied primary education in India extensively”] said. “The design of education systems in developing countries has historically focused on screening for high-performing students as opposed to adding value to all students.”

That is changing in India — Pratham is a big reason why — but slowly. “Now in India you don’t need to explain to everyone that kids need to go to school,” Banerji said. “But that children need to learn and understand — that has another 10 years to go.”