>> A video featuring Lynn Murphy an expert on girl's education is available for you this week. I invited Lynn to speak about issues that would provide depth to our discussion of education. She delves into the distinctions between education and learning, and raises questions about the quality of education. And whether the systems of education that have been implemented around the world are appropriate to our needs at this time. Does education add up to true learning? Is the education we are offering preparing young people for the world that we are living in now? Lynn takes on some of these questions and I hope that you will watch her presentation. >> Someone who did not grow up at a very prestigious educations background or family and was more go to school to get a job rather than go to school to learn. So I, myself have kind of been on a lifelong journey of actually, really looking at the distinction between what is education? What is learning? What is schooling and what is it preparing us for? And I think a lot of these issues come up when we talk about the issues of girls education. So I started as a teacher and started immediately asking questions about politics of education and the politics of schooling and the role of community and all of that, because I was a bilingual teacher. And started working overseas at kind of the nexus of community development an education and then came here to Stanford to do some graduate studies, and then a masters turned into a PhD. Turned into looking advocacy efforts to expand education and to get MGOs involved and at the table, and bring in their voice in terms of what they saw the importance of education. And along the way, sitting at kind of from the grassroots as a teacher to the global policy table, the issues that we'll talk about more today just kept more unraveling more and more and more. Both on one hand, the incredible importance that there is of education. But on the other hand, all paradoxes and the problems and the limitations. And I would say, another piece is kind of the third leg of that's tool is how do you actually do this in an equitable way where schooling and education actually come together? The second question you asked me was about the importance of education and then particularly girls education, and as it relates to health, and all sorts of other things. First, I should just say on a personal note there are many people who can talk about education and the importance of girls education. So it is humbling in some ways to sit-in this chair and talk about something that affects every single person on this planet and every single person on this planet, either wants the chance to go to school, has been has had some experience with it. And so, there are myriad experts who could talk about this. So, my vantage point has always been trying to look at the nexus between the grassroots and the school level. And actually, what's happening at the government and then actually what the international discourse and dialogue is. That's kind of the view that I carry. So, back to why it's important for girls. I'm not going to tread on all the statistics that we all know, because we can read about those. If you had education and if you're a woman and you've had education and you stay in school into secondary school or what this country would call high school, you have fewer children, healthier children, your children, you yourself are healthier. There's links to your income. There's evidence that shows that there's lower rates of HIV/AIDS prevalence for girls who've gone to school. And the list and the rational for why it's important and why it's seen as the silver bullet is because of all this evidence That says, this is the one intervention you can make that changes all these other things, and it has an intergenerational effect, because you have fewer children, healthier children. Your children are more educated, as well as all the changes that have happened to you. We might get back to whether or not the evidence still holds true given the massive expansion in education and what some might say is the quality crisis, or the learning crisis. And wonder whether or not if we're to look ahead in 30 years, does all the evidence that we have right now that says this is a silver bullet? Will it actually still look that way three years time? >> And the question does arise of the actual measurement. I mean, because at the moment, we're all very excited about statistics that are showing that more girls and boys, more children are having access to school all around the world. Virtually, all regions of the world and that raises a question which I don't necessarily want to go off on this tangent or sub-story of how that is measured in terms of, obviously, I know it's generally measured in terms of girls or boys being enrolled in school. >> Yeah. >> And the question of dropout rates of girls as they are asked to stay home and look after younger children or whatever is not always taken into account. But I would say, education is an invention that we feel excited about at the moment. Because so many more children are in fact, having access to education. I'm interested and I hope that I know you'll talk about this and the question of not just of education, but of actual learning and the appropriateness of that learning to people's lives. >> The way that education is often been looked at and what you were saying about the measurement of it has been the dialogue has been girls education get girls into school. And as you pointed out getting girls into school, it's the very, very, very, very, very first step of literally someone coming and putting their name on a school roster and saying that they have now enrolled. Now granted, getting to that point where there is a school and a parent who will send their girl to school and enroll them took many years and colonial legacies and a whole bunch of expansion of the system to be able to get to that very first step of getting a girl in the door. But then the issues come, do they attend regularly? Do they go to school Monday through Friday or Monday through Saturday as they do in some countries? How many years do they stay in school? After they've gone through what would be completing elementary school here, do they actually get the chance to transition onto secondary education? Once they've completed that, do they get the chance to transition onto high school? And then the issue that you brought up is what are they actually learning along the way? So before I get into what they're learning, I just kind of want to mention the issues. I've seen massive progress of getting girls into that very first step of getting them in the door of primary school. That progress is actually slowed in the mid-2000s. So from the early 90s to the mid-2000s, you had massive expansion of the primary school system and a huge effort to get girls into the school doors. And I would say not just girls, but I would say the poorest, most disadvantage, most marginalized children through community school efforts and through non-formal educational projects, through governments abolishing school fees through the international development community. Giving a lot more foreign aid to education. Governments putting much more money into education. So you see a system that only provided education for a few start to open up and to provide education for many anymore, then you have girls walk through the door. Then as I said, the issue is how much are they actually attending? Do they actually get to complete primary school? So just a few things on that, we know that girls dropout. They dropout more than boys Boys. It's about a 10% difference if you look at it at the macro. But, all the macro level statistics, hide what you see in terms of regional variation. Hides what you see in terms of community variation, country to country. So, it hides a lot of It's hard to even say what the experience is like for a girl in a given village, unless you actually drilled down to that, and we just don't have the cross national data to get a complete picture of that. There's huge problems. They go to school, it's really hard to get them to finish school, and then I think the statistic that seems to be floating around right now is only about 30% of girls get the chance to go to secondary school of those who finish primary school. And about I think I read a statistic that said about one third of those are finishing post-primary. So, just trying to think about one-third of 30% of all the children who might actually enter school in the first place, and then you think about all those girls who didn't actually finish, and you start to get a picture of the existing inequalities that exist in a given country. Now coming to this question about learning. So even for those girls who are completing primary school, what we are starting to see with a lot more assessment, emphasis on just looking at, even if kids can learn the most basics like reading and math. We're seeing that a whole bunch of kids who go to school, who may stay in school, one year, two years, three years, four years, if they're lucky. Now they're in school five years, six years, seven years. Even those children are struggling to just read at a first or second grade level. So another way of saying this is if you have a completion rate of about 50% of kids, of that 50% of kids, it varies dramatically country by country, but we're starting to see a lot of those kids that 50% who are the lucky ones who are finishing primary school. Even those kids aren't even learning to read at the most basic level. And then, we can talk about what all the other issues are of what they're learning and whether what their learning is actually relevant to the year 2013, or 2014, or 2015, and etc. >> And how can you say this with such confidence, who's doing these studies, and are there shining examples of countries that really have been able to measure learning or the effectiveness of education? I think one of the questions that tends to come up in my class and perhaps in this course is the extent to which we are speaking from a strictly American point of view. But I know that there are good examples of such efforts. >> Yeah. >> I'd like to hear of some of them. >> There's a few examples. And I'll just say, we do not have any sort of assessment that is comparable country by country by country by country and nor do I think we really want one because that would be incredibly expensive and it would be for the purposes of international comparison about learning levels. And think it's more important that parents, that communities, that teachers, that education administrators,that children themselves, that governments, that they themselves know what their own learning levels are in their country and that they're meaningful and it's relevant information to them. So having given that big caveat, there are some really credible assessments that are coming out, and many of them are actually being driven by civil society. So, the largest one in the world is an assessment called ASER, or the Annual Status of Education Report and it's coming out at India where they taste upward of a million kids in every single district across India. It's a household test rather than a school test so that way they can capture all the kids even if the kids are absent that day, even if they've dropped out, they go to school, not go to school. And they have developed a second grade test, if you will, in reading and math. And they go to the household or they said to both get all the kids, but also so the parents or the community whose around can see how well their children are doing in school. So they test all the children who are present and then they do it in sample size that makes the numbers statistically significant for the district level and above. So they started this. They proved that you can actually collect a lot of evidence. You can do it very cheaply, you can do it rigorously and you can do it and you can publicize the results. So its not just the folks sitting here at Stanford who sees those results but its actually communities and parents themselves. And they get it into the newspaper and on the television and they've used this to actually push politicians to pay more attention to learning. That example, ASER, has spread to other countries now. There's ASER in Pakistan. There is the adapted version of ASER happening in East Africa called UASO, which is happening in Kenya and Tanzania and Uganda. Adapted version is happening in Senegal and in Mali, and plans are underway to do it in both Ghana and Mexico and probably other countries that I'm not even aware of. So, it's kind of a southern lead effort to push this look at learning and to try to get that evidence into the hands of everybody. There's other efforts that have also been coming. There's a school based assessment that has become increasingly popular over the past several years that is trying to look at much like what schools do here in the US. When kids come into the first few grades, the teachers will often administer a pretty simple reading test to see how the kids are doing and what they might be missing and to support them. That kind of an assessment is also happening both at the schools to get teachers more focused on what children and learning, and so they have some sort of an idea as well. And a lot of those efforts are being funded by development agencies. In particular, USAID is doing a lot of that funding and some of the other development agencies who are now looking more at learning and not just building schools. They're all trying to figure out, what do we do? We know that this is a problem. We know that there's a huge problem. We're not quite aware what the magnitude of the problem is, but we have a sense of it. And the last thing that I would say is something called the Learning Metrics Task Force. Coming out that was led by the Brookings Institution and also UNESCO's Institute of Statistics. They came out with a report that was a huge consultative effort of a lot of people within the education community to say in the post 2015 agenda in whatever we're going to have post 2015 millennium development goals, what does the education community have to say matters. And if we do focus on learning, how might we look at how you would measure that, how you would do this country by country. And how you would look at different cycles of education. So from early childhood education to primary to the big issue, post-primary education and so forth. >> That leads me to ask you to go back to the beginning, and talk a little bit about the history of education. How we got ourselves into the mess of offering education to kids and having them not really learning. And we see it in this country as well throughout the world. Why, could you speak a little bit about the history of education and the nature of it and why there's such a revolution now in attempting to look more at learning. >> To look more at learning. Well, first of all I know there's scholars who've spent their entire academic careers looking at this issue. [INAUDIBLE] So I will try to summarize what people spend decades writing about in about 30 seconds. >> [LAUGH] >> So in the mid 1800s rather, there were increasing numbers of immigrants in this country. And some people, I think led by Horace Mann, went over and they looked at what was happening in Prussia. Because Prussia had a publicly driven education system that they had developed. And up until this point, education was left to either families or religious communities or others to handle. But it was not something that was in the state, the government's purview. And at that time with all of these children around and seeing that there is a lot of quote unquote idle children and we are starting to move towards industrialization. They were looking for something that actually could meet the needs of the given population. >> This was in Prussia? >> This is what was going on in the minds of the people in the United States here. But Prussia had developed this system of public education and folks went and saw it and said this is what we need. This helps to discipline children, this helps to unify children, they were thinking that this was a way to produce potentially factory workers. And it really dovetailed really nicely with what was happening within industrialization. And so it was one way to have one teacher, many, many children in rows, give them the same curriculum. Kind of stamp out ways of thinking about difference. And it was the first time that this country started thinking about compulsory education. So now all children have to go to school and all children have to go to the kind of school that the government offers. So you have that took off in this country and many other countries at the same time. And at the same time in developing countries, you had this historical legacy of the first schools being brought over by missionaries, teaching some basic literacy skills so children could then read. And then you have colonial legacy, which only actually educated a few, but were still under the same mass schooling that started to develop in the US and in other countries. So it's something about the institution of schooling that I would distinguish from what we think about as education, which the institution of schooling is trying to, in some ways, stamp out difference. To introduce notions of competition, to weed out children along the way. And especially in the so called developing world. Because you only had a few placements for children in secondary school, and yet fewer placements in the university. So it was kind of taking this idea that emerged in Prussia, rather, that was kind of a [LAUGH] militarizing society, that is looking at compulsory government led education. And only giving a few places for children and then in those few places, introducing a lot of competition, curriculum that may not actually be what we would want to learn. And if you look in many of the again, some of the poorer countries of the world, they still seem to have curriculums that are kind of colonial legacy leftovers, in some ways. They emphasize rote memorization and learning random facts. And they're not necessarily teaching what in this country might be called deeper learning or 21st century skills or critical thinking. But instead, they're kind of trying to get children into prepare to pass an exam, and that passing of the exam is the way to sort out who gets to go on. And the whole culture of schooling still feels very much like this kind of Prussian idea of how do you kind of stamp out difference? How do you get children to behave, how do you have discipline? And it's just remarkable how you go all over the world and this one model of schooling is the one that prevails. With the four walls and the teacher in the front, and all these children in an overcrowded classroom. And it's not an actual exchange, or something that we might actually think about as true education. It's amazing to me that children learn who go to school, despite what the schools look and feel like [LAUGH]. So girls face particular challenges in that, girls face challenges for a whole bunch of reasons. Everything from how they're treated in their own home, how many chores are given in a day, what their value is, how they feel their value in a home. How difficult was it for them to get from their home to the school? Once they're at the school, how difficult is it for them to be looking at a textbook where they might see pictures of women sweeping and men behind the desks. So all that hidden gender stereotypes that are show up in a school setting. How the teacher treats them as a girl or as an adolescent girl? Even more so at the time that they start coming of age and that puberty starts to hit. The school environment, if girls are treated differently, if teachers are treating boys and girls differently, then guess what? Girls actually under perform in school in those settings. So there's how girls are actually internalizing their value from their home to the way to school, once they're actually at the school. How safe is the school for them, how safe is it to go for them to go home. What are teachers' norms? Do teachers actually believe that girls can learn? Do teachers look at girls and say, they're lazy, they somehow shouldn't be here. The boys actually should be the ones who are in school and who are learning. How many female teachers are there actually in school for girls to have different kinds of role models. Issues of, does a girl get to go there in the first place? Because if a parent is trying to decide, if they only have enough money to send one child to school, is it going to be the girl or the boy? Now a lot of these things are in the midst of kind of changing and so we're seeing some progress. But it's really hard to get underneath some of these difficult societal norms and expectations, and actually changing entire generations of how they value a girl. And how a girl values herself and sees that she can learn. Now as I said, there's also a lot of positive examples. There's good work that some NGOs are doing to actually pair girls with other mentors to support girls who are going to school. So organizations such as CANFED or FOWAY that have tried to match girls with other mentors. And really tried to get into what kind of support do we need to provide a girl for her to go to school and to flourish. My critique of some of those efforts might be that I don't think they've paid enough attention to just what all children are learning in the classroom. And the reason that I say all children is because if you know that the overall system of most of the children aren't getting very much out of school. It's really hard to segregate it by sex. If you're going to just try [LAUGH] to improve learning for girls or for boys, you actually need to improve the whole classroom, so you raise the tide for all. There's some efforts that are going on. There's been a lot of attention to things like building separate pit latrines for girls. And providing things for when girls are menstruating. The evidence is actually mixed on whether that helps girls attend or not, but on some level it's just kind of providing an environment where girls feel valued when they go to school. Some of those efforts, but none of those little interventions in themselves are the silver bullet to improve what a girl's experience is like. In school. >> You have focused on several examples of efforts and interventions that you think are promising and as far as I understood it, related to NGOs non governmental organizations. Other countries, regions in countries, places, where we're seeing government attempting some new and different interventions? Because ultimately I think most of us would agree, that basic education, literacy, is terribly important. And probably has to be governed pretty much by government if we're going to see the poorest of the poor being affected. >> Well, I think the biggest thing that governments did that saw the huge bumps in terms of enrollments, from the let say early 90s to mid 2000s. One of the biggest things the governments did was abolish school fees. So in many countries, you saw enrollment figures go up [INAUDIBLE] kind of mind boggling to think about how quickly and how fast some of these systems expanded. So, by removing those school fees parents didn't have to decide whether they were sending their boys or their girls. They were sending all of their children to school. So, that was one of the hugest things that governments did for primary education level. Now governments are really struggling with what to do for secondary education or post primary education. And they're struggling because it's much more expensive. Secondary schools, there's a lot of private secondary schools are of, so a lot of private primary schools. But it's just much more expansive. And with government budgets still not even able to handle [LAUGH] the cost of primary education in many countries without external financing from the international development community. Or without parents just pulling money out of their own pocket to pay for schooling. It's really hard to just universalize post primary education. Even in a country like Uganda, that has been trying to call for universal secondary education. They haven't actually been able to do it for all children so they've been engaging in some public private partnerships. And there's been a big effort to try to provide scholarships for girls to go to a secondary school. There've been some efforts of some governments but again, in conjunction with some international development agencies to provide conditional cash transfers, meaning if you go to school and you show up. And girls attend x number of days, the family gets paid for that, maybe money, or I think in Bangladesh they gave them some oil, but some sort of incentive to send the girl and keep the girl in school. So those are the kinds of things government has tried to do. Many, many governments have tried to look at their education sector policies and look at their policies and do some sort of breakdown based, to keep an eye on what's happening, the gender dimension. How many girls are going, how many boys? And then they come up with policies to say make a school girl friendly, curriculum that is more sensitive to gender issues. But a lot of these, so they're looking a lot at the policy documents. But we all know that there's a huge disconnect between what is in policy and what is in a written document, and actually what is a lived practical experience in a classroom. So they've kind of gone the things they can do. They can affect money. They can affect policy, they can try to keep building and expanding secondary education, which there are some attempts to do so. But there's just such a huge bottleneck between going from primary education to secondary education and then again, for me, the bigger question is what are they learning along the way? Governments are starting to try to tackle that and some governments are trying to come in and actually look at the issue of what are children learning? But they go back to their typical fixes of okay, let's redo a curriculum or let's train a teacher. But those training's our woefully inadequate, really poorly rolled out. So Ashley providing a teacher kind of training that then gives some follow up and some support that actually changes their [LAUGH] pedagogical practices in a classroom. Is really difficult to do without some sort of outside support, whether it be an NGO or whether it be an international organization. I should mention there's also efforts like the global partnership for education which is the international pooled fund for education. And also that which tries to keep the global community championing the issue of education that puts girls education as one of it's top priorities. And the reason I mention this is because this is one of the global efforts to make sure that education doesn't slip to kind of a fourth tier global issue, but it's not quite ever been a first [LAUGH] tier. But maybe a second or third tier, which is kind of ironic given how much it's considered the silver bullet. But they're trying to prioritize girl's education and so when they give money to a country's education sector plan, they're again looking at what are countries doing for girls? What are the completion rates? What are the transition rates look like? What are the learning outcomes? And trying to support governments to pay attention to the issues of girls, but as I said before that seems to be limited to financing and policy documents and it's really hard to get to the school. And the community level and see what can be done. >> I'm coming away from this conversation with kind of a mixed reaction. On the one hand, there seems to be a lot of very exciting activity around education in general, and girls in particular. On the other hand, it's terribly complex, it's expensive, governments don't have enough money. Would you like to reflect on the future, and your thoughts about the whole education scene? >> [LAUGH] Where this is all going? >> Yeah. >> I think it really is a mixed bag. I think on the one hand, the fact that you and I are here sitting in this chair, having this conversation, is part of a historical process. Which said that, all people got the chance to go to school and girls got to go to school and that I have even been able to go out in the world and look in these issues. So there is that progress and not just for those people from the United States but for an increasing number of girls across the developing world. I know these days anybody who might be watching this is thinking about the case of a girl like Malala who has been an outspoken activist and was almost killed for it. But yet her passion and her conviction is there. And there are so many other girls like her around the world, who are advocating for the rights for girls to go to school and who are showing that they've learned. Who are showing their capability and their capacity to make a positive contribution to their society. And yet I think that the schooling system itself is limited and flawed. And I often think about the complexity of issues that sit around education and the complexity of issues that sit around gender. And there is no simple solution, there are asking deeper questions. There are living with those questions. There is recognizing some of the limitations of what we can do through institutional changes and through policy fixes. And where I go to is how do we actually listen to communities themselves. What do we look at what happening at the grassroots? How do we look at alternative education, models, and notions, and see what is happening in non formal education? What is happening in those places where it seems to be when you get out of the formal school building, that it's like children can breathe a gain and suddenly they can learn again. And suddenly their teacher actually becomes the teacher that you would want to see in the classroom and can facilitate. And so I place a lot of hope in strengthening communities and looking at some of these alternative models. And then hopefully governments overtime could be convinced to legitimize some of those and see that you could go an alternative track and you can actually be credentialed similarly and alternatively track that you could in a formal track. So I am, the glass is half full [LAUGH]. >> [LAUGH] >> If I think about education, if I think about schooling, the glass is half empty [LAUGH]. >> [LAUGH] >> Thanks so much. >> Okay. >> Thank you.