Ritu Kochar

Ritu Kochar

PhD candidate

Department of Social Policy

Connect with me

English, Hindi, Urdu
Key Expertise
Caste, Inequality, Education Policy, Social Discrimination

About me

Research topic:

Caste-Discrimination in Elite Higher Education Spaces in India


Ritu is an ESRC-funded scholar at LSE working on caste inequalities. Her current project explores the institutionalisation of caste in elite higher education spaces and the policies and practices that propagate it. Her previous publication on caste explored the increase and changes in the nature of caste atrocities from traditional to modern forms in independent India. She holds a Masters in Modern South Asian Studies from the University of Oxford and Bachelors of Arts (Honours) in English from Miranda House, University of Delhi. Recently, she served as the Discussant at the screening of Chaityabhumi at SOAS, leading discussions with the director Somnath Waghmare on artistic expressions of Dalit assertion.

Prior to starting her PhD, Ritu worked extensively in the policy space with multiple state governments and departments in India, such as the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh and Women Empowerment and Child Development Department of Uttarakhand. She was a Senior Research Associate at the State Capacity Initiative at the Centre for Policy Research. She contributed to the publication “Ideas, Policies and Practices: Tracing the Evolution of Elementary Education Reform in India since 1975” written as part of the RISE’s Political Economy Team-A. For her second project at State Capacity Initiative, she was the lead qualitative researcher working with the Andhra Pradesh’s Finance Department, providing valuable insights for the enhancement of their newly implemented decentralized local governance system. Her background also includes teaching experience at the University of Petroleum and Energy Sciences, Uttarakhand, India, along with research positions at Ashoka University and Haqdarshak.


Research interests:

Ritu’s research covers inequality in Indian higher education through the lens of caste, using qualitative and auto-ethnographic methods. She focuses on elite institutions and their policies that reproduce societal inequality in and through education. A key focus of her work is the way forward caste members maintain hierarchy in universities and why despite policies such as affirmative action, inequality persists. She explores how the hegemonic control by forward castes over university spaces and policies affect the educational experience of marginalised groups and what role does the university play in hindering or promoting equality?



Dr Sonia Exley and Professor Coretta Phillips

Expertise Details

Caste; Inequality; Education Policy; Political economy of education; Higher Education; Social Discrimination