Joined NIAS on 2nd January 1995
Anitha Kurup is a Professor and Dean, School of Social Sciences and Head of the Education Programme. She leads the National Gifted and Talented Education Program in India anchored at NIAS. Her research interests span the broad disciplines of education and gender studies. Her recent publications “Trained Scientific Women Power: How much are we Losing and Why?” and “Trends Report: Creation and Analysis of Database of PhDs in India (1998-2007)” have been widely appreciated. As part of the Gifted Education research, she and her team have developed Indian based protocols to identify the gifted children in the age group 3-18 years for different populations- urban and rural. They have been working on the standardisation of the identification protocols. Along the same lines she is developing a multi-level multi-stage model for mentoring the gifted children in rural and urban India. She was part of the National core team that developed a 4-year integrated curriculum for pre-service teachers training for India. As part of the sub-committee, she contributed to the development of disability and special education as one of the streams of the four year integrated pre-service teacher education curriculum. She and her team on Vocational education have initiated an exploratory study on understanding the skill gaps and aspirations of the diploma/ITI holders in the manufacturing sector in Bangalore. The study will be used to develop a research agenda in vocational and higher education in India. Her doctoral work on quality of primary education in rural India is one of the earliest often cited work on grounded research in class room processes and school –community relationship in rural India. Prof Anitha Kurup's expertise in the area of gender covers a wide spectrum, from examining conceptual and methodological strands of gender relations to political participation and decentralised governance. Prof. Anitha Kurup was a Member, Governing Board of ISEC, Bangalore, and Member, Academic Council, Christ University. She has several publications to her credit. Prof Anitha Kurup was awarded the Fulbright Nehru Senior Research Fellowship for the year 2011-2012 and was hosted at the University of California, Davis.
Most significant research contributions:
- Her doctoral work in the late 80’s is one of the earliest often cited grounded research in class room processes and school –community relationship as integral in understanding quality of elementary schools in rural India.
- Contributed to the understanding of women’s status adopting the framework of access to and control over resources.
- Contributed to developing a framework beyond societal and personal reasons for the small numbers of women in STEM disciplines See Trained Scientific Women Power: How much are we Losing and Why?
- Developed Indian based protocols for identifying gifted and talented children (3-18 years) in India.
- Developed multi-level, multi-stage mentoring mechanisms for gifted and talented children(3-18 years) in urban and rural India.
Kurup, Anitha , and Chetan B Singai. 2017. “Redefining University Education in India: Pedagogy and Student Voices”. In Transforming Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Towards a Socially Just Pedagogy in a Global Context, Transforming Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Towards a Socially Just Pedagogy in a Global Context, Palgrave Critical University Studies: Springer , 175-190 .
Kurup, Anitha . 2017. “Gender, Science and Technology Education in India”. In Feminists and Science: Critiques and Changing Perspectives in India, Feminists and Science: Critiques and Changing Perspectives in India, New Delhi: Sage. http://eprints.nias.res.in/id/eprint/1244.
Roy, Paromita , and Anitha Kurup. 2015. “A critical assessment of gifted education in India In: Gifted Education in Asia: Problems and Prospects”. In Gifted Education in Asia: Problems and Prospects, Gifted Education in Asia: Problems and Prospects, Information Age Publishing , Inc., 147-166. http://eprints.nias.res.in/866/.
Kurup, Anitha . 2019. “The Leaky Pipeline: a Social Scientist Perspective”. Spoorthi: Celebrating Indian Women in Science. https://indiabioscience.org/women-in-science/spoorthi-celebrating-indian-women-in-science.
Kurup, Anitha , and Shalini Dixit. 2016. “Gifted with Disabilities: The Twice Exceptional in India”. Indian Educational Review 54(2): 7-25. http://eprints.nias.res.in/1713/.
Kurup, Anitha . 2016. “Impact of Science and Technology on Women”. http://yojana.gov.in/Recent_archive_English_2016.asp.
Radhakrishna, Sindhu , VV Binoy, and Anitha Kurup. 2014. “The culture of environmental education: insights from a citizen science experiment in India”. Current Science 107: 176–178. http://eprints.nias.res.in/622/.
Kurup, Anitha , and R Maithreyi. 2012. “A Review of Challenges in Developing a National Program for Gifted Children in India's Diverse Context”. Roeper Review 34: 215–223. http://eprints.nias.res.in/336/.
Kurup, Anitha , and R Maithreyi. 2011. “Beyond family and societal attitudes to retain women in science”. Current Science 100: 43–48. http://eprints.nias.res.in/187/.
Kurup, Anitha , Ambika Mohan, and Patwardhan Bhushan. 2009. “Emerging Directions in Global Education-A Meeting Report”. Current Science 96: 1301–1303. http://eprints.nias.res.in/164/.
Kurup, Anitha . 2006. “India's competitiveness and preparedness in Science & Technology for the coming decades”. Current Science 90: 281–283. http://eprints.nias.res.in/73/.
Kurup, Anitha , R Maithreyi, B Kantharaju, and Rohini Godbole. 2010. “Trained scientific women power: How much are we losing and why?”. http://eprints.nias.res.in/142/.
Maithreyi, R , Amita Basu, Parvathy Jayan, Ajay Chandra, and Anitha Kurup. 2013. R14 Case profiles of gifted children: Identification of gifted children in Maths and Science in the Indian context (3-15 years). Bangalore: National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. http://eprints.nias.res.in/428/.
Kurup, Anitha , Amita Basu, Ajay Chandra, and Parvathy Jayan. 2013. R16 Teacher training module for identifying gifted children with the teacher nomination form for gifted children (ages 3-12). Bangalore: National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. http://eprints.nias.res.in/430/.
Kurup, Anitha , Amita Basu, Ajay Chandra, Parvathy Jayan, Suneetha Nayar, Goutam C Jain, and Arun G Rao. 2013. R15 An introductory reading on giftedness in children: A report prepared as part of the NIAS Gifted Education Project. Bangalore: National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. http://eprints.nias.res.in/429/.
Kurup, Anitha , and Jagdish Arora. 2010. R1 Trends in Higher Education: Creation and Analysis of a Database of PhDs . 2010: NIAS. http://eprints.nias.res.in/134/.
Current Research, Teaching and Other Interventions
1. Gifted Education:
Gifted children are “those who have untrained spontaneous natural abilities in at least one domain to a degree that places the individual at least among the top 3 percent as compared to their age peers”. India has a total of 9.9 million children who constitute the gifted in the age group of 6-18 years. Out of this, 5.2 million are girls and 7.2 million are from rural areas( 2011, Census).
Prof. Anitha Kurup’s engagements in the area of giftedness will broadly involve creating awareness about the needs and value of gifted children as a key national resources through intensive campaign and training strategies organised at the regional, state and national levels. The education of the gifted has been identified as one of the major thrust areas by NIAS as part of its wider engagements.
2. Women in STEM Disciplines:
International data during the past decade suggest that the number of women in most areas of science and engineering has continued to grow, in leaps and bounds. Nonetheless, quantitative surveys and individual stories indicate the persistence of the gender gap-in terms of opportunities, salaries, and career advancement-remains a challenge that needs to be addressed.
NIAS has along with the Indian Academy of Sciences in collaboration with the National Institute of Advanced Studies in order to develop a set of recommendations from the actual experiences of data obtained from women scientists. Acknowledging the diversity among women scientists (Anitha et.al, 2007), efforts were made to include women who have continued in Science as well as those who have dropped out. There has been a paradigm shift of impacting formal institutional spaces of science and engineering. There are important lessons to be learnt from the industry which has been more pro-active in creating an environment that has been conducive to retain talent among the women S&T professionals.
Through a combination of research, systematic training and advocacy, the women in STEM programme aims at building a body of literature in the area of women in the STEM disciplines and undertake training and advocacy to make inroads to address the gender gap among the women S&T professionals in India.
Past Research Projects
1. Women in Science (August 2007-April 2010)
The national study on “Trained Scientific Women Power: How much are we Losing and Why?” has been undertaken in collaboration with the Panel for Women in Science of the Indian Academy of Science.
· Been instrumental in establishing collaborations between the natural scientists and social scientists which provided the stewardship to this national project.
· The significant aspect of the study is for the first time in the country, Natural scientists and social scientists have brought their unique perspectives to the problems of women in science.
· Another first for the project is the inclusion of male scientists, both as respondents and in conducting the survey, once more diversifying the perspectives obtained through the study.
As a co-principal investigator of this project,
· Conducted a large scale qualitative survey, for the first time in the country, covering 568 women scientists and 226 men scientists.
· Survey used a pre-coded questionnaire of over 100 questions covering data on broad sections of personal, family, education, employment, research and networking, organizational details and reasons for dropping out of science.
· Another milestone achievement, as a precursor to this survey, was for the first time the development of a countrywide database of women scientists who have completed PhD in sciences, medicine and engineering.
· This database is hosted on the Indian Academy of Sciences website that is online and operated by individual passwords given to each scientist.
· A total of nearly 2000 women scientists are registered as on date.
The research study has been unique both in terms of conception and design: for avoiding homogenization of different groups of scientists such as women and men with PhD, who are pursuing a career in science and those who are not. Thus, the findings of this study have suggested realistic measures that would really help in augmenting women scientific human power for the progress and development of science and engineering in the country.
2. Trends in Higher Education: Creation and Analysis of a National database of PhDs in India during 1998-2007 (November 2008 to May 2010)
The project on ‘Trends in Higher Education’ has been undertaken by me as a principal investigator in collaboration with INFLIBNET and TCS, to analyze the production of PhDs in the country for a ten year period (between 1998 – 2007).
Important new trends have been set by me during the course of the project.
· Initiated the creation of the first authentic single point data reference large-scale inter-institutional database of doctoral theses, by disciplines, regions and gender.
· Creation of this national database has helped obtain accurate data on individual PhDs awarded across the country. A significantly large sample of 43,966 records has been collected from across 210 universities and research institutes.
· Diligent effort was made to strengthen this database by contacting individual institutions of disciplines of engineering, agriculture and medicine that have not been covered by INFLIBNET.
· A comprehensive analysis was used to identify unique trends, the strengths and weaknesses of India’s research capacity.
The above two nationally important and unparalleled projects were completed in 2010 and the results were published as comprehensive peer reviewed reports.. The reports made news and were widely covered in the national and international media. More than 200 copies of the report were distributed to universities, research institutes, and government departments including the Planning Commission. The findings of the reports were insightful with recommendations tremendously useful to the country’s planners and policy-decision makers
3. Preparation of Knowledge Modules for Leaders and Managers in Education (May 2008 to November 2009)
As a part of a national effort to strengthen the education sector, IGNOU has initiated a Distance Education Programme for an MBA (Higher Education), through the creation of Knowledge Modules for educational managers for the first time in the country, and perhaps in the world.
Eight courses have been developed, among which the course on “Management of Education, Research and Collaboration” was conceptualized and led by me.
Along with the course content, we developed a set of case studies of institutions of higher learning through independent research as well as in collaboration with researchers from other institutions who were provided a set of guidelines by me. The period of study for the case studies was for six months. (August 2008- December 2008).
I was a member of the expert committee, team leader, co-editor and course writer. I have authored four units in which 3 units were co-authored.
4. A Comparative Study of Women Scientists and Engineers: Experiences in India and the US ( Dr. Anitha Kurup and Dr. Laura Grindstaff, UC Davis).
The number of women pursuing a career in academia after earning a Ph.D. in science and engineering remains disproportionately low. Research studies in India and the US have concentrated on the drop out of women in science at the high school and undergraduate levels, paying little attention to women who drop out after a Ph.D. This study consists of two phases. Phase I focused on the Indian context and is completed: a total of 312 women scientists and engineers and 161 men scientists and engineers were surveyed online and over the telephone. They were queried about their career experiences in major research institutions across the country. Phase II focuses on the US context. A shortened version of the pre-coded questionnaire will be used to survey via email a sample of 60 women scientists and engineers in the University of California. A small sample of men will be covered for comparative purposes. Comparing the data between India and the US, we will explore the complex interaction of policies and organizational, societal, and personal factors responsible for women pursuing a science career in the two countries. The insights drawn from the findings of this comparative study will influence the review of science policies in both countries.
5. National Programme to develop Parametres and tools to Identify Gifted Children (3- 15 years of age) in Mathematics and Science (2010- 2014)
Societies across the world have always come across, among its young population, individuals whose performance levels are far above those of their colleagues in similar age groups. These youngsters usually go by the name “Gifted Children" or often by the name "Child Prodigies". While such children are indeed gifts of nature to the society, it has always been a challenge to identify, nurture and enable such children to perform at their best. Some countries like USA, Russia, Australia etc. have robust systems of identifying and nurturing Gifted Children. These countries have also been supporting research on the definition, identification and nurturing of Gifted Children. With rapid developments in the field, it is also now recognized that the traditional measures of identification such as IQ tests, which have for long been the basis on which the gifted and non-gifted were identified, may be inadequate in multicultural environments.
With nearly 200 million children in the educable age bracket, India can ill afford to waste this unusual resource in an era of Science and Technology. With this in mind, the Office of Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, Government of India along with Indian National Science Academy organized an Indo-US Round Table on Jan.27-29, 2010 to deliberate and get possible inputs from other countries having experience in handling Gifted Children. Based on the deliberations in this Round Table and a subsequent discussion meeting organized at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, a team consisting of researchers from National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, Shyama Prasad Mukherji College, New Delhi and Agastya International Foundation, Gudivanka, have initiated a collaborative research project on Identification and mentoring gifted children in Maths and Science.
The project has three components, each component being led by a researcher each from National Institute of Advanced Studies, Shyama Prasad Mukherji College and Agastya International Foundation. The target age group of the three components are Bangalore urban (3-8 years), Delhi Urban (8-12 years) and the Karnataka/Andhra Pradesh rural (10- 15 years). Each research team will independently conduct the study over a period of three years. The design of the research project will allow the three research teams to evolve independent methodologies as well as develop tools for identification appropriate to their specific context. Each research team will constantly interact with local experts on a regular basis to make mid-term corrections as the project progresses. Simultaneously, the project will develop mechanisms for mentoring the identified children. At the end of the project a policy paper on identification and mentoring gifted children will be developed. As an important step – “The National Association of Gifted Children- India”,has been recently formed and registered in September 2011.