tv C-SPAN2 Weekend CSPAN October 20, 2012 7:00am-8:00am EDT
fast changing. women seem to be getting those skills and credentials at a much faster rate than men are and continuing more nimble and that filters down into our society. in the book i talk about how that changes marriage and our notions of fatherhood and what men can and can't do and how young people have sex and make decisions and you start to see it having an influence in our culture. >> tucker carlson joined hanna rose in to discuss the men of -- the end of men on afterwards. afterwards on dirksen senate office building's booktv. >> i have to be honest with you. i love these debate. these things are great. it is interesting the president still doesn't have an agenda for his second term. don't you think that it is time to put together a vision what he should do in the next four
years. he has to come up with that over the weekend because -- >> let's recap what we learned last night. the tax plan, the jobs plan doesn't create jobs. the deficit reduction plan adds to the deficit. everybody here has heard of the new deal. you heard of a fair deal, you heard of a square deal, romney is trying to sell you a sketchy deal. we are not buying it. >> watch and engage monday as president obama and mitt romney meet in their final debate moderated by bob schaefer from win university in boca raton, fla.. debate preview followed by the debate at 9:00 and your reaction at 10:30 live on c-span2 and c-span radio and c-span.org.
>> after an entrepreneur hassina sherjan discusses her education of afghan women and girls. they left the country for the u.s. after the russian invasion. she also started a home accessory business that employs afghans. from the woodrow wilson center this is an hour. >> the director of the program at the wilson center, back to welcome you all to today's meeting, how to protect women and girls when america leaves afghanistan focusing on education. i was coming down the stairs with our speaker, she said the problem is not only protecting
girls but also protecting girls and boys and make sure they have access to education this meeting is sponsored by the centers asia program and women's leadership initiati initiative, a new program run by my dear friend and colleague, she is the president of the chair of the initiative and we will be hearing a lot from her because she is a very active person and organized meetings all the time. we actually had a joint meeting a week ago for afghani women. are with like to use this opportunity to welcome her back
to the center and also i would like to welcome mrs. johnson who is one of the women programs first founders they made it possible for us to organize meetings in the region. our speaker today is hassina sherjan. she is founder and ceo of afghanistan for education and chief executive officer of an internationally recognized women owned home accessory business, she has over 21 years of knowledge and experience in education, business
communication, journalism, she is the author of toughing it out in afghanistan, a book we recommend strongly that you read. over the last year we have been reading on and off about attacks on girl schools in afghanistan, forging girls' schools. we also always recalled suffering of young girls under the taliban, and women. we recall when little girls were not allowed to even learn how to read and write, and it was a common phenomenon when mothers could not even take their sick
children to a hospital to be treated, when women became beggars in order to feed their families, when there was public education. execution of women. all of this happened under the taliban. basically when when were barred from any public participation. but nevertheless brave women who manage to run a school for little girls but once the taliban were gone there was at least a substantial group of young girls who were educated and were able to read and write. this morning i was quite curious, checked the statistic of girls' education and in
afghanistan, the elementary level, it was 40%, but at the high school level, it is 6%. that is what we saw and you may want to correct. 20% at the other level, 66% of boys at the elementary level, 6% at the high school level, 18% for boys. we all know that girls have much more access to education. women have more access to public office when it comes to the big cities and kabul. afghanistan is the whole country. the villages, the small towns. what is going to happen to them?
also two weeks ago, the incident with the 14-year-old little girl, until they are 18 they are little girls, who was shot by the taliban because she wanted to be educated, because she was a blocker. and rather than expressing sadness about what happened, the taliban said they will be after her no matter what. so in order to help us understand what is going on and once nato leaves, we have with us a super speaker. hassina sherjan, you have the floor. >> good morning. nice to see you. it is great to be here.
makes us think for the interest of having me here. and a conversation to see how you can join us for the afghan population. to give some background -- it is a question the always comes up. and i left a comfortable problem in america and went to afghanistan. my life in afghanistan is quite comfortable, and home was always home so matter -- the united states was a second home and a great place to go to school, but at the end of the day home is always home and when you are home, my life is much more meaningful than what i was doing here in the state's, more
rewarding. when i go to the schools and one of the students who is 20 years old and gets up and says if it wasn't for this program i could never write my name, for i recently came back from graduation of one of our schools which is located in a village in the mountains where few have gone, and we had 44 students graduating, and one of them who had gotten married when she was in ninth grade, then her husband took her to where there were no schools so she ended up having kids and pursued the family life and her husband was very for but she wanted to complete her high school social managed to convince the husband that we have to move back to this
village where she can finish high school and she just graduated and she wants to become a parliamentarian and representative so making a difference in somebody's life that you don't know at all and you will never know is a different feeling. it really makes life worth living. so honestly, when we came to the u.s. because of the russian invasion, very busy learning english and working and making money and buying fancy cars and things and successful, and after my father passed i had the urge to go back home and i woke up
one morning and decided i am not going to pay this mortgage any more. i need to go back home. so apply for my citizenship which i have already been here for 19 years, so after receiving my passport i bought the tickets and was going to the shower so my cousin called, and said where are you going? the shower. the showers not a place you should just show up and go to the hotel. and this is not just a place to show up and go to a hotel. that trip changed my life went
camp age expectancy is sometimes 35 in afghanistan and pakistan. 50-year-old woman learning to read and write for the first time, and their eyes were glowing and kept saying what else? i didn't even know this. how we take things for granted because the school was always there for us and i wished i was sick so i couldn't go to school or the teacher wouldn't show up for something and look at these people. they are starving for knowledge and education and wants to read and they just found out something they did know, they note their life is now ending and they didn't do the most important thing in life. so basically that one day was
enough for me to know why i was there. i came back and i was reading -- i felt the afghans who were privileged and had the opportunity and a family that could take us out of afghanistan and provide everything in america and had a comfortable life, we are responsible for that. what is it we can do and i should do that in hoping others will follow. so i came back and gathered other afghan professionals and showed them pictures and we ended up with an organization to assist because this is what is really missing. people didn't have access to education. before the war's there was only
a literacy rate in afghanistan that was 10% for 11%. most of the schools in the big cities, people had no access to education. it was peaceful and comfortable, and the greatest place to go. and there was no progress. education was not happening. we decided to organize small programs outside the refugee camps in pakistan because there was a faction going on in afghanistan and i could travel into the country so when i was
in the shower checking up on the programs i decided to see what was going on under the taliban for myself. it was unbelievable that women and girls have to sit at home. my mother always worked. she was at the american embassy, she opened the first florists afghanistan. she had her own business. my mother's aunt was the first women senator in the 60s and there were women in the parliament and in the cabinet so it was unbelievable for me was happening under the taliban in the 20 first century so i went into afghanistan and they said they would take me as long as -- they will take me there and to make a very long story, after
many discussions with the taliban leaders i realized i was not going to get anywhere. i was thinking they are saying the issue is money. they don't have money for girls to go to school. i said money shouldn't be a problem. if i could convince them we bring money and they will allow girls and women to go to school, that was not the case. so i ended up establishing a school for 250 girls. that was all the money i had. i had some money with me and put some books and stationery for them and the teachers were organized by the teachers and that went on until i returned in 2001 and students were doing extremely well because they got
a lot of attention. they went -- third graders went to fifth grade and fifth graders went to seventh grade so they were doing really well. there must be another problem here. there were five million students coming back to school but what is it we can do to help? school principals and students going to classrooms. and they were in third grade. so it took a load of convincing. the ministers wouldn't believe me if i said we need accelerated education programs because these girls want to finish high school and go to university and have a life and they kept saying we
have a literacy program for older people but after a lot of meetings and money talks, our program was the first accelerative learning program that started in afghanistan. however, programs and projects have to be sustainable, long-term. i never do anything for two years or one year and then ends. i have to know what happened to these people and if you close this program, we are not going to formal school because we are older and parents will force us to get married and we don't feel comfortable sitting with ten-year-olds. so we manage to convince the donors to continue funding and our donors were very much involved in our programs so they would come. we always invited them. they knew what was happening.
by 2007 we signed an agreement with the ministry of education that we will be able to give graduates from twelfth grade and provide them with their high school diploma. this was a huge achievement. since then, we have given 803, four graduates, schools are doing very well, student very happy and we continue to have more demand so hoping we can expand to as many provincess as we can possibly work, we work wherever we can because there are parts of afghanistan -- there are no schools to appoint all girls in the south in some
of the places. by putting our staff or the students in danger when we can't -- so -- so much demand in places where we are working in nine provinces and 13 schools with 3,000 female students and 104 male students and that is another subject because we have ignored the voice in the last ten years unfortunately. our program was not really intended to be only for girls. we really wanted to do this for male and female because during the taliban period, i also realized boys were not learning very much. the majority of what they were learning was indoctrination and there was really no education
taking place. have a little cold. we are hoping we will be able to because the young boys of the ones who are becoming the subject of recruitment for the insurgents and the taliban. doing it a little differently for them because it is difficult to keep and 18-year-old boy -- they want to get married and leave their home and all kinds of things going on. they need to work but in order to work we need to educate them up to ninth grade and teach them a vocations so they can go and work and provide for their families.
speaking of the statistics, i don't get wrapped up in statistics in afghanistan because it is very difficult to get accurate statistics in afghanistan. people don't tell you the truth. i had a friend working on a ph.d. and she came to stay with me and the last day before she was leaving she said at dinner i think i have to stay here another year now. i just interviewed my last interview with this girl who said at the end of her interview did i do well? they don't realize this is important information that is going to be used or sensitive information that has to be accurate. so especially if they don't tell
the truth to foreigners and always want to make it look better for nicer than it is. i don't exactly know what the percentage of girls are going to school. education in afghanistan before the taliban was always compulsory. however, they didn't have the access to schools so one thing that i see is parents are very eager to send all of their children to school and to educate girls, boys, everybody because they finally realized the importance of education and why they are where they are. so we have had -- i just came back from the north visiting our
schools and one of the provinces is quite amazing, the majority of the students, at 80% say my husband encourages me to go to school. husbands don't have a high school degree themselves but the other thing that is happening is one of them said my son who is in first grade came home and help with homework and i couldn't and 5 told him a few was very upset. since that day i told my husband i found a program, i am going there and i have to do this and i am very happy now. i work with my son on his homework and we are learning. so children are forcing the parents to learn to be educated
and not really feel like they're kids know more than them. it is important because if we are only educating the kids, parents there is a respect level that won't be there. the students are extremely interested in computers and it feels like it is genetic. could -- put a computer in front of them and they have already figured it out. so if we could somehow -- what has happened in the last ten years, the people to people connection. because we have left everything for the government to do. governments don't do whatever they can or whatever it they know, but we have to be much
more active in getting to know afghan people and what life is all about. what do they want? how they want it, and then even people here can have some leverage over the money being spent in afghanistan because they know where the money should go, right now it is not very clear what afghan people need. programs are not based on need, it is based on what we think is best for them. everything is frustrated. i hear a lot about afghanistan, this is not working and it didn't work, billions of dollars later we haven't accomplished
anything. there's a frustration that i here because when we are not involved in something and something goes wrong and we have given the power to somebody else to do it right and they didn't do it right so we all get frustrated, american people have died and we haven't achieved anything, yesterday somebody said quitters are not winners and i don't think by quitting we are going to achieve anything. only by stopping and reflecting, what did we do wrong in the last ten years and how we can change that because nobody wants another september 11th. we have already ignored afghanistan once and we saw the results of that. we may have forgotten now what
happened september 11th, but ten years later we may not. then it will be too late. should we open the floor? we have a short seven minutes video, mostly about our work where you will see our students in schools and what we are doing in afghanistan. that is what the short video is all about. a seven minute video. and we can have a conversation. >> thank you very much. after we watch the video, may want to ask a couple of questions, how you see your
school diploma because she doesn't have it. a sixth grade education and does not have the opportunity. this is why it is crucial to provide education for male and female in afghanistan. in afghanistan education is working currently in nine provinces in 13 schools with 3,000 female students and 104 male students and we wish to expand to as many provinces as
the title of your presentation, once nato leaves. what is going to happen to these schools, the girl schools especially in the remote areas if the taliban makes an inroad. the end of girls' education or how do you see this? >> i am always optimistic because without it i don't think we can work in afghanistan. and we are all optimists that something positive will happen because if we continue to think things will go wrong and the taliban will come in, that is exactly what is going to happen. it is the law of a fraction. so if collectively we believe
things will be ok things will be okay. i don't believe the taliban has a chance to come back to afghanistan. we have to remember the circumstances are quite different than it was in 1997 when they came into afghanistan. we were in a factional war. people were desperate. that is not the case right now. there has been a lot of progress in afghanistan. yes, maybe some of the infrastructure is not yet in place, there might be some problems, some people are not very happy with the government,
but -- it will -- it is not realistic to think that after 30 years of war and devastation, suddenly afghanistan is going to become this amazing democratic country that everything is fine and nothing will ever go wrong again. it is a process and democracy is also a process and we have to get there. afghans -- schools suffer during that period if the taliban try to take over, the targets are mostly foreign troops, foreigners establishment because of the foreigners, military and
all that's. i am not really sure the taliban even know what they will do if they come to afghanistan. about governing afghanistan they never introduce themselves as afghans. they belong to a philosophy and their mission is to convert everybody to their own version of islam. and after that, life starts after. the goal is to die because life starts after. how do you deal with something like that? so i don't see the taliban coming. we have a lot of work to do. i think afghans have to step up and take responsibility and take ownership of this democracy that we have, the economy, market
economy. it is very foreign to afghans. that is why it is not quite working. and the responsibility -- how do you give it back to them? they are not taking responsibility for this. democracy is a process. objections will hold their own democracy and it will last and they will make sure nobody can take it away from them. it just came in a beautiful box and it is there. we have no idea what to do with it. and in this market economy, the market economy looking for afghanistan because they don't understand it. even in new york there are all sorts of regulations. you have to protect your own production.
we don't have that -- we have become a dumping ground for all the neighbors. we have a lot of work to do. afghans have to realize where to start and what to do and seeing the civilians leaving, advisers to the ministers leaving, it will help because they have to do it themselves because right now advisers coming in and consulting, and they write the strategy and do everything. nobody takes ownership of anything. we may have some difficult times but the difficult time might also be okay. it is a learning process and we have to -- getting up after many years of war, standing up on your own is not easy so we will
always need our international allies to be there for us. i am very optimistic and i don't think afghanistan is going to fall into the hands of anything like that again. >> could you just wait for the mike? thank you. >> john tompkins. i've really enjoyed your talk. i have experience in iran for educating younger disadvantaged people. very happy you mentioned the role of economics and free-market. where do you think that should come into the curriculum when educating these young men and
women so that the understanding grows in this society about the role of free-market because maybe because of my field, i believe the understanding of the way in which the economic system works would also help people realize individual rights and establish social norms toward fostering democracy. if you would elaborate on where and how you think that could be in fused into the curriculum i would appreciate it. >> it is a matter of time. i don't think -- the problem so far has been we wanted everything to happen yesterday. we didn't give ourselves enough time and we didn't give the afghan people enough time to recognize what their issues and problems are and where to begin
and how to fix it. and economic systems, we have to lead to keep the population and understand economic systems and they have to make a choice what economic system they will feel more comfortable with. we had a socialist system for the past 52 years. has nothing to do with the russians being in afghanistan. the government has always been very much involved and people are asking for this. why isn't the government doing this? they are totally confused. they don't understand competition. all the bakeries are on one street and all the food shops are on one street because there has always been a price control system and even of to 2009 when i spoke to the municipality they had a price control system. i don't know right now, but it
takes another generation or two to realize there are ways for different economies to function and we have to compete with the region. we can't compete with the u.s. and japan which is extremely expensive. i can live for less money in the u.s. my rent is $2,000 and that is cheaper. some now in afghanistan
especially for in so that people learn and they know how to learn. when i graduate from high school, i had no idea how to do this because i was trying to memorize quite the lot of things. it is really a painful process to learn how to learn because we have to reform the education system not only in higher education but the same thing
with universities so we have a lot of work to do. the real work hasn't even begun yet. we have been too busy trying to build high-rises and some roads, which is good, but the real work is education, real infrastructure, sewage system, because in kabul the air is very bad, environment is really important, more people died in afghanistan or it least in kabul from the pollution than from the war. it is time -- >> thank you for the moving presentation.
i just want to highlight two important points you made and a question. you talk powerfully about the importance of educating the girl as a way of the educating the woman. for years we have done research on the impact of educating the woman on the family and the girls and boys in the family. for example the world bank 2012 for fourth argues that even one extreme of education for the mother means better discourse for the children but your peace is also about the impact the education of children have on the mother's, that is important and more research must be done on the impact education of children have on their mother's. you also spoke about the importance of educating boys,
often in this movement we forget the importance of the education of boys and girls. the story was the woman in pakistan who was gang raped in a frontier province by men of another cost who had to walk naked back to her village, used the money she got to start schools in her village, not just for girls but from lawyers because boys must learn how important it is to see that girls enjoy equality under the law and unless you educate girls and boys, girls will never be safe, will never have the security that they should enjoy. that is what you have also raised. my question to you is in educating boys and girls is not enough that we ensure equal
access to education but the kind of education that you talked about. issues of gender equality in the classroom, do you raise issues of gender stereotypes, gender bias, girls and boys, so my question fifth is, it is not enough to have equal access to education but the kind of education privilege in school and the responsibility educators have to inculcate those values of gender equality in a new generation. >> yes, of course. d. quality is most important and we should not get wrapped up in numbers of students that come to school because millions of students are coming to school right now but was it they are learning? this is also another process
because now we are working with the ministry of education not only to create a coalition that will be working only on education to keep track of what is going on and who is doing what, but also to reform the curriculum because we have to teach the ministry curriculum in order for the ministry to provide their diploma and also to take the entrance exam. as soon as we can reform the curriculum for the ministry, we can change things. we provide our students with additional readings and small libraries, they read a lot, they write book reports, they love to write magazines and things like that. it is not enough. it has to be included in the
curriculum. >> i don't know if i can see you at all. i am with the atlantic council salvation center. you answered a number of questions we asked about the curriculum. i have a question about the teachers and how they are selected and trained and as you reform the curriculum, the textbooks that are currently being used, are they adequate or as you said are you just using supplemental materials to teach the student? >> thank you. the curriculum, the books have been revised over and over since 2001. we have had some experts from
columbia university, minister of education, they have written the books but it is still -- very difficult because every year they have to price books and cannot use the books you use already the year before. >> and this is what is going to be. teachers, most of our teachers are teachers that are already teaching at government schools. they teach half a day with government schools that have a day with us and also we hired some university graduates, which is much more hopeful and fun because they are much younger and open to change, open to doing things differently and i am hoping we will be able to
higher university graduates and give them a condensed, accelerated teacher training program for two or three months and send them to the provinces and keep them in kabul. i have spoken to the university provinces also. we need to come up with a nice teacher training program to do this. >> one last question. >> you refer to a coalition of indy 0s working on education. could you what -- put the work of your group in that broader context, what are other groups doing, how are they coordinating, and as i understand it when you started you were aiming at this particular group of those who
missed out on education under the taliban. overtime, that will kind of fade out and how are you all fitting into this broader framework in afghanistan? >> it wasn't only during the taliban, there were two pour three different groups, the ones that was the girls who couldn't go to school for the seven years of the taliban period, ten years before that was also very difficult for kids to have access to education because there was bombing left and right so no one went to school. we lost two or three generations. the program started with accelerated education, catch up program to integrate back into the regular school system and we still have a lot of demand from
people who have a second grader education or third grade education under the taliban before the taliban came in and now they are not all older but keep coming back to school. and also because people in afghanistan generally didn't have access to education so there are a lot of older people in afghanistan. if you are 10 years old and don't have access to education you cannot -- will not take you. the lot is to be admitted to the first grade, they are taking up to 9 but if you are 10 but never been to school, we are the only system right now that is taking the students and helping them graduate from high school, so 12
years or eight years with us. as far as your first question, the coalition because i think only the ministry of health has a better system where they have some who are working only in health and is easier for everybody to take track of things and nothing else, no other sector really has a group that is only working in that sector. this concept was also not an afghan concept. it is a foreign concept that started when afghans were in pakistan. it is not very clear why they are there and what they should be doing. what i am trying to do is create a model where ngos should be
helping the government to do what they cannot do. there are 70 or sometimes 90 students in a classroom in a government school so we are trying to outsource classrooms to en geos, 50% of the budget mess so this is one way they can spend money and have better quality education because i am sure that once there are smaller classrooms and teachers have more time for the student, the quality will automatically go up. >> we will finish the session. university program in afghanistan, why not get in touch with your next school because they have programs, they funded these other -- >> through the ministry.