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The Modern Child in Global Contexts: insights from the Young Lives project EDITED COPY OF POWERPOINT GIVEN AT CONFERENCE: The Modern Child and the Flexible.

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Presentation on theme: "The Modern Child in Global Contexts: insights from the Young Lives project EDITED COPY OF POWERPOINT GIVEN AT CONFERENCE: The Modern Child and the Flexible."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Modern Child in Global Contexts: insights from the Young Lives project EDITED COPY OF POWERPOINT GIVEN AT CONFERENCE: The Modern Child and the Flexible Labour Market Trondheim, 29 th April 2009 by Martin Woodhead Child and Youth Studies, the Open University, and Young Lives, Oxford University PHOTOS HAVE BEEN REMOVED IN THIS COPY.

2 DETAIL OF THE RESEARCH REPORTED IN THIS PRESENTATION CAN BE FOUND IN: Access, equity and quality in early education and transitions to primary school: evidence from Young Lives research in Ethiopia, India and Peru by Martin Woodhead, Patricia Ames, Uma Vennam, Workneh Abebe and Natalia Streuli Published by Bernard van Leer Foundation, 2009 (in press) downloadable from

3 Outline 1.Introducing Young Lives research 2.Globalization and modern childhoods 3.Education for All…and Early Education for All? 4. Perspectives on early childhood and transitions to school from Young Lives in – Peru – Ethiopia – India (Andhra Pradesh)

4 1. YOUNG LIVES RESEARCH INTO CHILD POVERTY Four countries Ethiopia, India (Andhra Pradesh), Peru, and Vietnam Pro-poor sample 20 sites in each country selected to reflect country diversity, rural-urban, livelihoods, ethnicity etc Two age cohorts 2000 children born in 2000-01 1000 children born in 1994-95 Five major survey rounds – all 12,000 children All data archived

5 Some features of Young Lives Child-focussed childrens roles, agency and perspectives…in context Longitudinal infancy to adulthood Multi-dimensional/disciplinary household, child development, health, social protection, education etc Multiple methodologies Quantitative and qualitative Photo removed

6 2. MODERN CHILDHOODS AND A STORY OF GLOBALISATION? Modern childhoods are: – constructed and contingent, variable and changing – not natural, inevitable or fixed – respond to particular social/economic/political circumstances, beliefs and ideologies; – marked by diversity in discourses and practices, within and between societies Photo removed

7 Childhoods travel… – in terms of discourses and practices – strong influence from Minority to Majority World, North to South – wealthiest to least wealthy, powerful to powerless – fuelled by development agencies

8 Globalisation has been fuelled by: Normative accounts - the singularity of the child in Child Development Standardised descriptions of childrens growth, milestones from dependency to autonomy, prerequisites for psycho-social health Export of psychometric tests of normality/deviation, abilities and disabilities Curricula and pedagogies

9 Example 1: thinking locally…acting globally? The World Banks seven Developmental Stages. e.g. 1 to 2 years children …enjoy stories and experimenting with objects, walk steadily, climb stairs, run, assert independence… 2 to 3.5 years children require opportunities to engage in dramatic play, increasingly complex books, sing favourite songs, work simple puzzles… (

10 Example 2: Normal early childhoods…playing, learning…working? Photo removed

11 BUT Childrens needs are becoming more universal UNCRC 1989 is a (near) universal regulative tool: the childs right to development, to play, education UN Committee General Comment 7 2005, calls for a positive agenda for early childhood Rapid economic growth in Majority World: encourages investment in schooled childhoods to compete in competitive labour market Photo removed

12 Young children as human capital? Why should society invest in disadvantaged young children? The traditional argument …is made on the grounds of fairness and social justice. …equity considerations… There is another argument …based on economic efficiency. It is more powerful than the equity argument, in part because the gains from such investment can be quantified and they are large… (James Heckman 2006)

13 The Challenges of globalised childhoods Access to services, quality, and equity Recognising diversities/inequalities within countries, communities and families Implementing policies in context-appropriate and sustainable ways Ensuring good governance Ensuring respect for human rights as well human capital

14 3. EDUCATION FOR ALL …INCLUDING EARLY EDUCATION FOR ALL? Basic primary education ….approx 85% of the worlds children, but with major regional, economic, gender disparities, and major quality issues etc Early childhood education is expanding fast 1999-2005: 20 million extra enrolments, especially: - S & W Asia (67% increase) - sub-Saharan Africa (61% increase) (UNESCO, GMR, 2008)

15 Studying impact of these trends via Young Lives Early transitions sub-study (funded by Bernard van Leer Foundation) Attendance at a preschool: – 94% in Vietnam – 87% in Andhra Pradesh – 84% in Peru – 25% Ethiopia (58% urban, 4% rural) (Caregivers report at Round 2 - since age three)

16 Early transitions research in Peru… Education to become someone in life… Photo removed

17 Themes from interview transcripts: On the importance of a schooled childhood 1.To be able to defend oneself: …because we can read and we dont get easily cheated out. 2.To become a professional: they cant stay here…with a profession that takes her far… 3.To become different: I … walk in the fields with sandals (ojotas). At least he will go with shoes (zapatitos) if he gets a good head with education 4.To get away from the land: I dont want to work in the fields…I want to finish my studies. (Crivello 2008) …becoming means accessing educated, urban childhoods, including through migration

18 Schooling childhoods in Peru Primary education enrolment – 96% Growth in preschool – 1991 = 30% – 2006 = 68% (no gender differences) – 84% reported by Young Lives caregivers

19 Quality in preschools in Peru – institutionalised variability within government sector Photo removed

20 Attendance by Preschool type and poverty -rural sample in Peru

21 Attendance by Preschool type and poverty –urban sample in Peru

22 Becoming somebody…or being nobody? Interviews with 12 year olds: 90% would like to complete either university (78%) or technical college (12%) (n = 674) Caregivers: 92% want their children to complete either university (75%) or technical school (17%) BUT 60% Young Lives twelve year olds were over-age for their grade 50% of children in Peru do not finish secondary school (Guadalupe 2002) Peru achieved lowest educational achievement scores in PISA study of countries in Latin America

23 The challenges of progression in school? Cecilias story, urban Peru Interviewer: Do you think it is going to be more difficult? Cecilia: Yes. More difficult than first grade. Interviewer: And is first grade more difficult than pre-school? Cecilia: Yes. […] A little bit Interviewer: What is going to be the most difficult thing? Cecilia: … not to fall behind.

24 Early transitions research in Ethiopia Education for All: Transforming a generation?

25 Children with a good life have to have school bags 12 year olds ranking (Ethiopia) Family Education Good food, shelter Material security No poverty or sickness Good behaviour Respect from others Leisure (Camfield and Tafere 2008) based on group work: the well-being activity:

26 Great educational expectations… Ethiopia 12 year old survey 2006: 80% urban, 63% rural, aspire for university!! Reasons for moving up the ladder Education (25.2% urban, 15.8% rural) Work harder (21.8%) Reasons for moving down the ladder Not making money (51.3% urban, 29.5% rural) Poor education (21.7% urban, 12.7% rural) Only 6% of 12 year olds are not enrolled in school BUT 39% cannot read a simple sentence eg The sun is hot

27 Ethiopia- challenges for basic education Overcrowded classrooms, inadequate buildings, few teaching materials, physical punishment, absent teachers Over-age children, repeated classes, irregular attendance, drop-out, hidden costs to parents, combining school with work

28 6 year old Beniams story: I wont go to school …I cant write…I dont have the interest…I want to look after the cattle Beniams father: Education is useful for the boy…(We) are running out of land to support [ourselves] in farming …there is weather pollution here and the water has dried up.

29 The context for modern childhoods…work is still essential…even if no longer so visible Ethiopia: 12 year olds 40.5% believe school only is best 56.4% believe combining school and work is best It make me happy having a job…and I can pay for school things…my shoes, bag and clothes

30 A role for early childhood education – reinforcing inequalities? –urban sample in Ethiopia

31 Ready for school?

32 Early transitions research in Andhra Pradesh (India) – schooling reinforces diverse/unequal childhoods?

33 Primary Education in Andhra Pradesh (India) – impact of a growing private sector Primary education enrolment = 73% (2006) Private sector = 36% of enrolments, and growing! – The attraction of English medium instruction

34 Early childhood services – combating poverty or amplifying inequalities? 1975 Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) national network of Anganwadis targeting most disadvantaged, including basic nutrition BUT Variable quality, low funding, low levels of training, low regulation and supervision AND Increasing switch to private sector: -English medium -teaching basic skills -Caste/class preferences

35 A government anganwadi – the main option for rural communities

36 Low resourcing, low quality …two anganwadis in Andhra Pradesh Photo removed

37 Growth of private kindergartens in urban centres, including for poorest households - Andhra Pradesh

38 Teaching the basics…the private choice? Photo removed

39 Expectations are high… but not for all India AP Caregivers expectations for University 64% for boys 42% for girls BUT 54% of girls expect University

40 The private choice in rural Andhra Pradesh: Revanths mother: …If he goes (to private school) … he will become very wise - that is why we are sending him there… …We are ready to spend…There is no one (to help with payments). We take as debts… …Two of my girl children, attend school in the village... We are not paying for them

41 First steps into diverse school trajectories…and long term outcomes? Govt Preschool Govt Primary School Home Private School, Kindergarten or Grade1 Govt Preschool Private School But if fees increase….or household income falls Private school back to Govt school?

42 Schooling and globalisation of modern childhoods Institutionalising childhoods…School for all (most!)…education for some? Promoting equity or inequity? Aspirations versus realities…for early childhood and school? Modern childhoods in context of daily (working) lives and prospects? Impact of global economic downturn? Quality, relevance, sustainability? New models for childhood?

43 For more information about Young Lives…

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