Conference 2021

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Select papers presented in this conference are now published in an Edited Volume titled “Rethinking Education in the Context of Post-Pandemic South Asia: Challenges and Possibilities”

Please visit Routledge website for more information.
Also available on Amazon.

Education in Crisis: Re-thinking Education in (Post)-Pandemic South Asia

Date: 23-24 July 2021
Venue: Online event

This conference was live-streamed and the recordings are available on our YouTube Channel. See you there.
Programme Report is available here.

This conference is supported by Leverhulme Trust, Wolfson College, and ESRC Impact Acceleration Account and hosted by the Education South Asia initiative at South Asian Studies Programme, Oxford School of Global and Area Studies -OSGA (University of Oxford)


In what ways do we need to re-think education in South Asia? As South Asia faces the devastating second wave of the pandemic, its education systems are likely to confront an even greater crisis than ever before. This pandemic has not only exposed existing economic, social and political fault lines, but has also exacerbated the enduring societal inequalities. The recovery and rebuilding of the education will require ‘Rethinking Education’, in terms of its contents, methods, and governance. The emerging new forms and manifestations of crisis in education urge us to rethink our approaches to education in order to be responsive to uncertain futures.

This conference takes the (post)-pandemic context of South Asia both as a lens to understand this crisis as well as a site to understand the existing challenges in education. What are the political and economic fissures that have emerged as a result of the pandemic? Has the situation led to innovation in technology and created positive changes in the system? What is the long-term impact of a crisis of this scale, and is this a critical inflection point that will determine the future direction of education? How has South Asia in particular reacted to the challenges posed by this ongoing adversity?

We will host panels that examine the challenges and innovations on education in South Asia. Each paper presentation panel will have 4 presentations. The presentations will be for 10 mins, followed by 5 mins for Q&A. The conference will take place online, and will be open to the public. The question from the public will be collected by the session moderators. The conference will also host 4 roundtable discussions. This will be a first step towards building a community of like-minded professionals in the field of South Asian education, who will continue to come together regularly to create meaningful dialogues and discuss unique solutions to the challenges posed by this pressing crisis.


Abstract submission: 15 June 2021

Accepted abstracts decision: 30 June 2021

Conference: 23-24 July 2021

Programme Booklet: Please click here to download the Programme Booklet

Programme Report: Please click here to download the Programme Report

Registration: Registration is now CLOSED. But the conference will be live-streamed on our YouTube Channel. See you there.

Conference 2021

Please click here to download the Programme Booklet


Day 1 - Friday, 23rd July 2021

Time: 10.00 - 11.30 (UTC+1)

Roundtable 1: Rethinking Research in Education

Chair: Karen Valentin (Associate Professor, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University)

Meenakshi Thapan (Director, Rishi Valley Education Centre, Andhra Pradesh, India)

Faisal Bari (Associate Professor of Economics & Education, LUMS, and Senior Research Fellow, IDEA Pakistan)

Manjula Vithanapathirana, (Professor of Education Psychology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka)

Nitya Rao (Professor of Gender & Development, School of International Development, University of East Anglia, UK)

Tejendra Pherali (Associate Professor in Education and International Development at UCL Institute of Education, University College London)


Day 1 - Friday, 23rd July 2021

Time: 14.00 - 15.30 (UTC+1)

Roundtable 2: Rethinking Policy in Education

Chair: Shrochis Karki (Head of Research, Impact, and Learning, UnLtd UK)

Sridhar Srivastava (Joint Director, NCERT, India)

Usha Jha, (Former Member, National Planning Commission, Nepal)

Jayantha Balasooriya (Director of Education - Policy and Planning, Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka)

Rabea Malik (CEO and Research Fellow, IDEAS Pakistan)

Pankaj Mittal (Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities, India)


Day 2 - Saturday, 24th July 2021

Time: 10.00 - 11.30 (UTC+1)

Roundtable 3: Rethinking Education Practice

Chair: Amina Singh (Kathmandu University, Nepal)

Shobhini Mukherji (Executive Director, J-PAL South Asia’s regional center)

Swastika Shrestha (Co-founder and CEO, Teach for Nepal)

Harsha Aturupane (Lead Economist, World Bank Sri Lanka)

Pramath Raj Sinha (Founder and Chairman, Harappa Education; Founder and Trustee, Ashoka University)

Sonam Norbu (Founding Coordinator, Volunteer Teachers Organisation Bhutan -VTOB Foundation)


Day 2 - Saturday, 24th July 2021

Time: 14.00 - 15.30 (UTC+1)

Roundtable 4: Rethinking Gender in Education

Chair: Cecilie Mueenuddin (University of Oxford, UK)

Shenila Khoja Moolji (Assistant Professor, Bowdoin College USA)

Pooja Pant (Co-founder & Executive Director, Voices of Women (VOW) Media, Nepal)

Seuty Sabur (Associate Professor, BRAC University, Bangladesh)

Anuradha Das Mathur (Founder and Dean, Vedica Scholars Programme for Women, India)

Shabana Basij-Rasikh (Founder and President, School of Leadership Afghanistan - SOLA)

Please click here to download the Programme Booklet


Day 1 - Friday, 23rd July 2021

Panel I: Space (Zoom Room A)

Time: 12.00 - 13.00 (UTC+1)

Chair: David Gellner (Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford, UK)

Amanda Gilbertson and Joyeeta Dey (The University of Melbourne, Australia)

Rethinking the neighbourhood school in (post-)pandemic India 

Madhulika Sonkar (Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi, India)

When 'anti-family' discourses reach the 'home': Understanding pedagogical implications of teaching and learning gender in the digital space 

Akanksha Awal (University of Oxford, UK)

Interrogating “safeness” in distance learning programmes in North India 

Sameer Thomas (Krea University, Andhra Pradesh, India)

The home and the hostel: Negotiating space and equity in the on/offline classroom 


Day 1 - Friday, 23rd July 2021

Panel II: Inequalities and the State (Zoom Room B)

Time: 12.00 - 13.00 (UTC+1)

Chair: Nandini Gooptu (Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Oxford, UK)

Nida Khan (National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, India)

Pandemic and Kashmir Conflict: A Pernicious Combination for Students in the Kashmir Valley 

Mohammad Pizuar Hossain (East West University, Bangladesh)

Right to Education of the Rohingya Refugee Children Living in Bangladesh: Rethinking through the Lessons Learnt from COVID19 

Mohd Tahir Ganie (Independent Researcher, India)

How Are Government Primary Schools and Students Coping with the Pandemic Lockdown in Kashmir?    

Dalsie Gangmei (NIEPA, India)

Inching Further from the Promise of Access 


Day 1 - Friday, 23rd July 2021

Panel III: Teaching and Learning (Zoom Room A)

Time: 15.45 - 16.45 (UTC+1)

Chair:  Robin Shields (Professor of Education, University of Bristol, UK)

Abhinav Ghosh (Harvard University, USA)

‘Learning Loss’: Imaginaries and Discourses of Deficit in Indian Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Anwar Uddin Ahmed (York University, Canada)

Temporal equity in education: An emerging priority in (post)-pandemic Bangladesh 

Natalie Chun and Elisabetta Gentile (Asian Development Bank, Philippines)

What educational inputs matter to improving learning 

Mythili Ramchand and Meera Chandran (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India)

Teachers and Teacher Education: Policies, Preparation and the Pandemic in Bhutan, India, and Sri Lanka 


Day 1 - Friday, 23rd July 2021

Panel IV: Inequalities and the State (Zoom Room B)

Time: 15.45 - 16.45 (UTC+1)

Chair: Amogh Dhar Sharma (Departmental Lecturer, University of Oxford, UK)

Apalak Das (Calcutta University, India)

‘Where the Information is not free’: Education, Digital Divide, and Power in Postcolonial India during Pandemic 

Rahul Dass and Nithin Kalorth (Bennett University, India)

Envisioning education without borders in post-pandemic South Asia 

Sunita Chugh and Charu Smita Malik (National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, India)

Bridging Equity gaps in Participation of Marginalized Children in Education in India: Post-Pandemic scenario 

Nazam Laila (BRAC University, Bangladesh)

Digital Colonialism Through Educational Disparity During Covid-19: A Study from Bangladesh 


Day 2 - Saturday, 24th July 2021

Panel V: Private and Non-State Schools (Zoom room A)

Time: 12.00 - 13.00 (UTC+1)

Chair: Todd Wallenius (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Achala Gupta (University of Southhampton, UK)

Behind the ‘shadow’: An empirical scrutiny of formal schooling from the vantage point of private tutoring in India 

Sushan Acharya, Prem Phyak, and Peshal Khanal (Tribhuvan University, Nepal)

“My parents sent money for my living”: Career crisis of private school teachers during the COVID pandemic in Nepal  

Nilesh Gourkhede (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India)

Politics of precarity: Dismal lives of women teachers working in low-fee 

Pranab Kanti Deb (Sylhet International University, Bangladesh)

Challenges of Incorporating Virtual Reality into EFL Classroom of Madrassa


Day 2 - Saturday, 24th July 2021

Panel VI: Virtual Learning  (Zoom room B)

Time: 12.00 - 13.00 (UTC+1)

ChairCameron Warner (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Robin Shields (University of Bristol UK), Swati Banerjee, P.K Shajahan, Dinesh Chandand Gayathri Krishna (Tata Institute of Social Science, India)

Education in a Digitally Divided World: A post (pandemic) research agenda for equitable societies in South Asia 

Farhad Hossain Khan (BRAC University, Bangladesh), Syed Arman Hossain (Dhaka University, Bangladesh), and Abdullah-Al-Fahad (Eastern University, Bangladesh)

Covid-19, University Education and the Shifting Cultural Narratives in Bangladesh 

Amartya Sen (University of Delhi, India)

Education during Contagion: Digital Divide and Social Stratification 

Pushpa Palanchoke (Folk Lok, Satori Center for Arts, Nepal)

Tahnani Dapha Khalah’s apprenticeship program during the global pandemic 


Day 2 - Saturday, 24th July 2021

Panel VII: Gender (Zoom room A)

Time: 15.45 - 16.45 (UTC+1)

Chair: Sangita Thebe Limbu (University College London, UK)

Jasmine Jaim (Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh)

Unmasking the Mask: Female University Faculty Members, Gender and COVID-19 in Bangladesh 

Ruchi Saini (University of Maryland, USA)

Three female school teachers’ narratives of experiences with care-work and online teaching during COVID-19 in India 

Sharmila Shyangtan (Kathmandu University, Nepal)

Education for Whom? Indigenous Women’s Experience In Higher Education In Nepal 

Minha Khan (Stanford University, USA)

The Importance of Indifference: Household Influence on the Education and Aspirations of Female Pakistani College Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic


Day 2 - Saturday, 24th July 2021

Panel VII: Methods (Zoom room B)

Time: 15.45 - 16.45 (UTC+1)

Chair: Nimesh Dhungana (London School of Economics, UK)

Dishari Chattaraj and Arya Parakkate Vijayaraghavan (Christ University Bangalore, India)

Digital Shift in Education: A Phenomenological Study on Learners’ Experience of Mobility in the Context of the Pandemic 

Roshani Rajbanshi, Binod Prasad Pant, Parbati Dhungana, Sanjaya Kumar Pant, Bal Chandra Luitel (Kathmandu University School of Education, Nepal)

Arts in STEAM-based Workshop for Teaching Material Development 

Matluba Khan and Kusha Anand (Cardiff University, UK)

Towards a blended learning framework for post-pandemic Bangladesh 

Farooq Abdullah (Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST) Pakistan

Intersectionality of Online Education and Technology Amidst the Pandemic in Higher Education Institutions of Pakistan 

Please click here to watch Innovation Spotlight Series on our YouTube Channel. You can also download the Abstracts Booklet here. We are showcasing the following presentations in our Innovation Spotlight Series.


Aparajita Srivastav (Teacher, Sunbeam School Varanasi, India)

To determine the role of diagnostic assessments in bridging the learning gaps in online teaching modules 

Sunoj Das Shrestha (Co-founder and Head Teacher, Karkhana, Nepal)

Innovative approaches to teaching and learning 

Esha Thapa (Director, Rato Bangala Foundation, Nepal)

Radio Learning Program for Children

G. Chamila Priyanka (Department of Fine Arts, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka)

Searching alternatives for the challenges in studies of acting during the pandemic in Sri Lanka

Lesley Dick (Manager English Language Training, British Council, Sri Lanka) & Vaishali Pradhan (Head of English and Education, British Council, Nepal)

Exploring teachers readiness and capacity to access professional development opportunities online / remotely – learnings from lockdowns in Nepal and Sri Lanka

Prantica Singha and Md Asifur Rahman (Teach For Bangladesh Fellow 2021, Bangladesh)

Analyzations of Low-tech Game Design Principles for Learning Arithmetic Operations 

Shadman Absar Choudhury (Fellow 2020, Teach for Bangladesh)

Active learning Worksheet: New Dimensional Approach To Teaching- Learning Method During Pandemic

Annapoorni Chandrashekar (Digital Innovations, Pratham Education Foundation, India) and Divya Joseph (Raspberry Pi Foundation, India)

Learning to code during a pandemic

Baidurya Sen (Co-founder, Alokit, India) and Ritika Arora (Project Consultant, Alokit, India)

Ensuring girl students’ re-enrolment into schools: Learning from Project Shakti 

Saipramod Bathena (Co-founder, Alokit, India)

Learning from a Low-tech Personalized Adaptive Foundational Numeracy Program in Telangana, India 

Jagjit Singh (Asst Prof at Chandigarh University, India) & Andrew Wright (Wayne State University, USA)

Post Pandemic Innovative approaches to teaching and learning: A case study of “IGNOU world’s largest university” 

Ramesh Kumar Rajak (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai)

Educational Development of Mahadalit Children: A Case Study of Shiksha Sevak 

Sheela Jaywant (Administrator of charitable schools in Goa, The Fomento Educational and Charitable Society, India )

Challenges of Education in Charitable School

Shaveta Sharma Kukreja, Akshar Madhavaram, Sushruti Sachdev & Anutup Nayak (Central Square Foundation New Delhi, India)

Covid Response Strategies for Public School Education in India

Shree Krishna Wagle (PhD Fellow, Kathmandu University, Nepal) and Bal Chandra Luitel (Professor of Mathematics Education, Kathmandu University, Nepal)

Towards Creative Place-based Ecopreneur Schools: Re-thinking Education in (Post)-Pandemic Nepal 

Varya Srivastava (VP of Product and Government Affairs,  Network Capital, India)

Democratising Entrepreneurship in Indian Schools: Role of Citizen Participation and Public-Private Partnership 

Jahanara Rabia Raza (Manager, 9.9 Education, India)

Vastivikta: The Brave Hearts of Delhi' A Photovoice study of adolescent female students’ localized conceptions of Voice 

Tanita Abraham (Chief of Strategy, sāmShiksha India)

Samsiksha - Education for All 

Satchit Puranik (Co Founder, Chief Art Labourer, Chikka Dodda Art Lab, Bangalore, India)

Honey, I ‘shrunk’ the ‘theatre’ 

We received a total of ~250 abstracts for this event and we were unable to include many excellent abstracts for the live presentation. We have uploaded the following video presentations on our YouTube channel.  Please click here to watch Recorded Presentations. You can also download the Recorded Presentation Abstracts Booklet here.


Tanya Ghosh (Consultant, Sattva Consulting, India)

Parents as co-educators in post pandemic rural India

Drishya Gurung (Monash University, Australia and Teach for Nepal Alumni, Nepal)

Identifying enablers of marginalized rural students’ academic achievement

Elisabetta Gentile (Economist, Economic Research and Research Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank) and Kirsty Newman (Director, RISE, Oxford Policy Management)

How Teachers Teach: Comparing Classroom Pedagogical Practices in the Asia and Pacific Region

Sneha Elizabeth Koshy and Shreyasi Kudpi Rao (Teach For India, Bengaluru, India)

Of Lost Learning and Absent Children: Retaining and Remediating Students in India’s Post Pandemic Classrooms

Malvika Sagar (Assistant Professor, Amity University, India)

Physical Education in (Post)-Pandemic Urban India: Addressing the Issues of Demographic Spatiality

Sakshi Sundaram, Sandeep Singh, and Purnima Bali (Faculty of Management Sciences and Liberal Arts, Shoolini University, India)

“Work from Home” during Pandemic: A Study of Adaptation of New Normal by Indian Educators

Tuba Kamal and Asheref Illiyan (Department of Economics, Jamia Millia Islamia University)

School Teachers' perception and challenges' towards online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic in India

Andrew Wright (Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA)

Colleges, Communities, Humanities, Humanity: Liberating and Humanizing Higher Education in South Asia

Debarshi Roy (Independent researcher, consultant)

Encouraging Empathy Driven School Systems in Post-pandemic South Asia

M. Mahmudul Haque (Assistant Professor Department of English and Humanities School of Humani)

Can Humour-integrated Materials Defeat the post-Covid-19 Burnouts of EFL Learners

Sanjib Kr Biswas (Academic Counselor of English, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Raiganj Special Study Centre, West Bengal, India) and; Priyanka Tripathi (Associate Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Patna, India)

Degraded Mental Health of Students and their Rehabilitation in Post-Pandemic India

Mufeeda Irshad (University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri lanka)

A Well-Balanced Education: The Way Forward

Mohan Paudel and Ashik Singh (Tribhuvan University, Nepal)

Teacher Parent Collaborative Lesson Plan: Contending Students’ Learning Loss During Pandemic

Sabhyata Timsina (The Open Institute for Social Science) and Hasin Shakya (Karkhana, Nepal)

Adapting professional training to the virtual space: Experiences of training South Asian professionals in youth-focused community centers

Devi Ram Acharya (PhD Scholar, Kathmandu University School of Education Nepal)

Learning for All in Covid-Pandemic: Connecting through Phone Call and SMS

Md Mahmud Hasan, Assistant Professor, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh

Discrimination against female students in online learning: evidence from COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh 

Gunjan Sharma (Assistant Professor, School of Education Studies, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD), India)

Curriculum and Pedagogy in Higher Education in India in the Covid Times: Macro and Micro Discourses

Lina Gurung, Bhawana Shrestha, and Roshani Rajbhashi (Kathmandu University, School of Education, Nepal)

Students’ Perspectives on Gender Inclusive Practices in M.Ed. Teacher Education Programs of Kathmandu University School of Education, Nepal

Sreeramulu Gosikonda (Assistant Professor in Sociology & Programme Officer - NSS Unit Dept. of Agriculture Science and Rural Development Loyola Academy Degree and; PG College Alwal, Secunderabad Telangana State)

From Guru Dakshina to Guru Death: A Sociological Study on the Impact of Covid-19 on Private School Teachers in India

Shak Bahadur Budhathoki (Education Coordinator, Mercy Corps Nepal)

The Role of Education Cluster to Cope with the Challenges Posed by the COVID -19

Yang Yang (South Asian Studies, University of Oxford)

Rethinking the Role of Education in India’s Rising Nationalism towards China: Taking the India-China Border Disputes as an Example

Chungla Dorji (Chief District Education Officer, Ministry of Education, Bhutan)

Education in Crisis: Re-thinking Education in (Post)-Pandemic South Asia 

Md Abusalah Sakender (Assistant Professor Dept of Islamic History & Culture Jagannath University Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Education in Bangladesh and Covid-19 Pandemic: An Analysis on During and Post-Pandemic Government Policies 

Naushad Ehsanul Huq and Nawrose Fatemi (University of Asia Pacific, Bangladesh)

Online Fading of Freshman Heroism and Energy: An Analysis of a Case in Bangladesh through Theories of Subjectivity Formation 

Evana Sattar (Medical officer -OSD, DGHS Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Perception about virtual education among undergraduate medical students in Covid19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study 

Poorna Perera (Deputy Director of Education State Ministry of Education Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Learning Promotion Sri Lanka), Thanuja Witharana (Deputy Commissioner, Department of Education Publications, Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka) and Prabath Withanage (Deputy Director of Education, State Ministry of Education Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Learning Promotion, Sri Lanka)

Mitigating digital divide during COVID-19 pandemic; Challenges of online education in Sri Lanka 

Dilshaad Hossain (Senior Executive, Child Rights and You (CRY), India)

The RTE and the Politics of Education amidst a Global Pandemic – An Exploration and its Understandings

Conference convenors:

Uma Pradhan (University of Oxford, UK)

Karen Valentin (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Mohini Gupta (University of Oxford, UK)



David Gellner (Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford, UK)

Nandini Gooptu (Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Oxford, UK)

Robin Shields (Professor of Education, University of Bristol, UK)

Karen Valentin (Associate Professor, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University)

Shrochis Karki (Head of Research, Impact, and Learning, UnLtd UK)

Amogh Dhar Sharma (Departmental Lecturer, University of Oxford, UK)

Amina Singh (Kathmandu University, Nepal)

Cameron Warner (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Todd Wallenius (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Cecilie Mueenuddin (University of Oxford, UK)

Sangita Thebe Limbu (University College London, UK)

Nimesh Dhungana (London School of Economics, UK)


Conference Support Team:

Chase Podsakoff (University of Copenhagen)

Devika (University of Oxford, UK)

Shivani Mishra (University of Oxford, UK)