We found you couldn’t infer much about the ‘soft skills’ students learned just by looking at the school curriculum, because even if they’re present in the curriculum, the teachers don’t always know how to teach them.”
Shubha Jayaram is an international development professional with 10 years of technical experience, including in secondary education, youth employability, entrepreneurship and workforce development.
A program director at R4D, Ms. Jayaram joined the organization in 2011. She worked for two years on a project in 12 African and Asian countries supported by the Rockefeller Foundation to assess employers’ needs against the types of skills typically learned in secondary school. A follow-on study from that project, with slightly different methodology and in collaboration with FHI360, produced a report, Bridging the Skills Gap: Insights from Employers, Educators, and Youth in Latin America and the Caribbean, which Ms. Jayaram co-authored and that extended the analysis to the Latin America and Caribbean region.
Other R4D work by Ms. Jayaram includes overseeing a feasibility study across 13 countries for the Global Book Alliance, an international effort to transform the book supply chain to ensure that young readers are given the right books at the right stage of development. Ms. Jayaram describes the work: “Books are often missing from classrooms and supply chain issues vary by country. Even if books are there, the teachers don’t always use them. It’s also raising awareness of why and how books are important. Parents sometimes feel the best book is one with lots of words on the page but that may not be what the child needs at the time.”
Before joining R4D, Ms. Jayaram worked with TechnoServe to provide mentorship and business advice to small- and medium-sized enterprises in South Africa, Swaziland, and Uganda. She also has experience at the UNDP and began her career as an analyst at a macroeconomic research firm.
Ms. Jayaram holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University and a BA in economics and international relations from Tufts University.