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Back to School: Path to Universal Primary Education

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Date and time
Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wide Angle producer Pamela Hogan screens her film *Back to School*, and a panel discusses universal primary education. Across the world, more than 100 million children are out of school this year. In the developing world, one in four children drop out before completing four years of education. Nearly one billion adults, one sixth of the world's people, are illiterate. In 2003, producers from New York's Wide Angle world affairs television series traveled to Afghanistan, India, Benin, Brazil, Romania, Kenya, and Japan to film the stories of seven children beginning their first year of formal schooling, some against great odds. Now, three years later, the filmmakers have returned with *Back to School*, a film which revisits these children as they continued, or fell behind, on their paths through elementary school. The speakers in this discussion include David Bloom, Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography, Harvard School of Public Health; Matthew Jukes, assistant professor of education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Professor Bloom has published over 200 articles and books in the fields of economics and demography. He has been honored with a number of distinctions, including fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, and the Galbraith Award for quality teaching in economics. He was also a Fulbright Scholar in India, and a scholar in residence at the Russell Sage Foundation during the academic year 1989-1990. Professor Bloom has served as a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Asian Development Bank. In addition, he is a member of the American Arbitration Association's Labor Arbitration Panel, a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, and a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he participates in the programs on labor studies, health economics, and aging. Bloom has been a contributing editor of *American Demographics* and an associate editor of *the Review of Economics and Statistics*. He has served as a referee for over sixty journals and publishing houses, and has been a member of *the Book Review Board of Science magazine* since January 2000.
Pamela Hogan has been Executive Producer of Wide Angle, a primetime PBS global documentary series, since its inception in 2002. A 25 year veteran of television, Hogan oversaw all international co-productions at National Geographic Television from 1989 to 1994. Her independent film Ultimate Weapon: The H Bomb Dilemma has been shown on the History Channel and is used in universities.
Fernando M. Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Education and Director of Global Education and of International Education Policy at Harvard University. He teaches courses on the relationship between education policy, democratic citizenship and instructional improvement. His course 'Education Policy Analysis and Research in Developing Countries' focuses on some of the core education challenges in the development field. His course 'Education, Poverty and Inequality in Latin America' is an examination of the options to improve learning opportunities in high poverty schools in Latin America. He recently completed a study evaluating a national program to promote literacy instruction in Mexico as part of a large evaluation of major education policies of the Federal Government in Mexico, a project for which he was principal investigator, involving 8 faculty members at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This research led to a recently published book Aprender Mas y Mejor. Politicas, Programas y Oportunidades en Educacion Basica en Mexico (Fernando Reimers editor. Fondo de Cultura Economica) He also served recently on a Panel Review of the National Academy of Sciences evaluating Title VI, Fulbright-Hays and other Federally Funded Programs to promote the Internationalization of American Universities. A fellow of the International Academy of Education and member of the Council of Foreign Relations and of the Advisory Board of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Academy of Sciences, Professor Reimers is best known for his theory of 'Informed Dialogue', an approach to bridge scientific research and education policy through the mapping and mobilization of social networks. Professor Reimers is also known for his studies on the quality of education in developing countries and for his research on the relationship between education policy and instructional improvement in high poverty schools. He is the Director and creator of the International Education Policy Program at Harvard University. Prior to joining the Faculty at the Graduate School of Education in 1997 he was Senior Education Specialist at the World Bank. He also worked as Research Associate, Institute Associate and Fellow at the Harvard Institute for International Development and on the faculty at Universidad Central de Venezuela. He has extensive experience in the area of international development assistance with the United States Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the InterAmerican Development Bank and other Development Organizations. He has worked in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and most countries in Latin America.