GENDER AND EDUCATION FOR ALL

St Andrew High School 80th Anniversary Education Conference

Errol Miller June 2, 2006

  • Delighted be to be invited to make a presentation at this Conference. When I went to Calabar students from St Andrew’s journeyed to Red Hills Road to do Physics in Sixth Form. Boys had a great incentive to do Physics, so I did Physics. My debut as Guess Speaker was age 27 at School Prize Giving of St Andrew’s High.

HISTORY OF EDUCATION: RE-DEFINITION OF ALL

  • All freed-men of the city: excluded slaves
  • All men of the city: excluded men from elsewhere
  • All boys of the nation: excluded girls
  • All citizens of the nation: excluded legal and illegal aliens and the disabled
  • All citizens including the disabled: excluded legal and illegal aliens
  • Dakar Framework of Action 2000 most inclusive definition of all, yet
  • All people without exception: 2015 target date

SCHOOLING DEVELOPED FROM THE TOP DOWN

  • Schooling invented to educate and train scribes
  • Scribes needed for written accountability with respect to exchanges in Temples and Palaces
  • Scribal art was the second non-manual occupation when subsistent agriculture was the major means of creating wealth: First was priest
  • Scribes came from families engaged in non-manual occupations
  • Those families sent their sons to become scribes
  • Scribes of the Eduba of Sumer started as children graduated as adults.

KINSHIP AND FAMILY TITLES USED IN THE FIRST SCHOOLS

  • School Father: Head Teacher
  • Brother Fellow: Teacher
  • School Son: Student
  • Big Brother: Most senior student: head boy
  • School Sons of Past Days: Old boys

WEALTH, VIRGINITY AND THE PARTICIPATION IN MANHOOD

  • Daughters of wealthy families who chose not to become wives and mothers were treated as sons: could own, buy and sell property, inherited patrimony on same basis as brothers, some even had wives
  • The institution of the naditu in ancient Sumer and Babylon allowed lineages to minimise the dispersion of the patrimony

Virginity and Women’s entry into Education

  • High ethical visions of Islam and Christianity were first to allow women entry into Education and Schooling
  • Religious women: Sufi mystics in Islam and nuns in Christianity first to break the gender barrier in accessing education.Muslim Women keeping Hadith in the Family also broke this gender barrier.

Protestant Doctrine and the expansion of education

  • Every believe should be able to read and interpret the Bible for themselves
  • Expansion of education to all believers including girls and women
  • Means to do this limited
  • Education the responsibility of the family/ charity for the poor: the Anglican approach
  • Education the responsibility of the community: Calvinist/Lutheran approach

THE NATION-STATE AND THE EXPANSION OF EDUCATION

  • Nation-State most successful in providing education opportunity
  • Education used as the main means of creating nationals even of illiterates
  • Most successful in mobilising the means to provide education
  • Constitution establishing rights of all nationals irrespective of gender, creed, race etc. to participate in the provision

TRANSFORMATION OF EDUCATION OF WOMEN IN THE ERA OF THE NATION-STATE

  • Movement of education of women out of the church and into secular society
  • Movement from finishing schools for ladies to schools offering opportunities similar to men
  • Girls’ school comparable to boys’ school
  • Co-education

PRINCIPLES OF PARTICIPATION

  • Groups, kin related or voluntarily associated, use education to seek upward social mobility in the public sphere
  • Quantity of opportunity in relation to the size of the group determines gender composition of schooling
  • Inverse relationship between elite and marginalised groups

DEMOCRATISATION OF EDUCATION AND THE RISE OF THE MARGINALISED

  • The democratisation of education in the nation-state has provided opportunities for groups previously marginalised to access schooling
  • Women greatest beneficiaries of this development
  • Women’s greatest access is to the middle tiers of upward social mobility in the public sphere

INTENSITY OF THE CONFLICT BETWEEN GROUPS AND THE PACE OF CHANGE

  • Extent of change and rate of change in gender composition of schooling is highly related to the intensity of the conflict between the groups that compose the particular society.
  • Caribbean society characterised by dominant minorities and marginal majorities.
  • High rate of change in Caribbean society

CONCLUDING COMMENT

  • There is no empirical evidence to suggest any intellectual differences between men and women
  • Gender differences in education are therefore reflective of social differences and biases
  • Specifically, gender differences in favour of male or female reflective social biases in the structure of opportunity in the public sphere
  • Shifts in the bias from male to female mirrors changes in the bias in the structure of opportunity in society

 

THANK YOU

Professor Errol Miller