The Best of Our Knowledge # 849

Albany, NY – 2006 was another important year in education.

* Global Education was one major topic. Students were encouraged to attend colleges and universities in countries other than their own.

* In the U.S., the Commission on the Future of Higher Education reported the need to work on access, affordability, and accountability.

* Leaders of the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress plan to make college affordability their top education policy priority.

* And school violence led to the deaths of several students and teachers in 2006.

* Another theme we followed in 2006 was the trend to encourage young girls and women to pursue careers in science and technology.

* And in stark contrast to the opportunities women have in the U.S., on the other side of the world, students are simply trying to survive war.
Dr. Karen Hitchcock and Glenn Busby (2:30)

Technical and scientific fields have lots of wonderful opportunities to
offer girls and young women. And they, in turn, have a great deal to
offer science and technology. Unfortunately, many girls don't consider
a career in these fields where women are under represented. But a
consensus continues to grow among politicians, educators and corporate
leaders to place more emphasis on math and science education. The
efforts to encourage more women to enter and stay in these fields is
not just focused on college. They now start early in grade school,
and continue right on through middle school, high school, college,
and post-graduate study. We found an organization in Oakland,
California that's been boosting girl's ambition for more than five years.
Just this school year, Techbridge has been hosting 16 programs at
15 schools across the Oakland Unified School District. Techbridge
includes: hands-on activities in a girls-only environment; counseling
about career options in technology, science, and engineering; and
holding family events to support the girls. Our NSF series this year
visited Techbridge students to learn what makes their program
Reese Erlich reports. (9:36)

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While world leaders continue to debate problems in Iraq and the
Middle East, news about conditions in Afghanistan is mostly shoved
right off the front pages. Indeed, during this past year, The Best of
Our Knowledge discovered that, for women, trying to get an education
in Afghanistan, is often a life and death struggle. Zama Coursen-Neff
is a Senior Researcher for Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental
watchdog organization based in the U.S. When TBOOK spoke with
Coursen-Neff earlier this year, she had just returned from Afghanistan
where she conducted several fact-finding missions. She told us about
schools set on fire and attacked by rockets. But Coursen-Neff explains
that after the fall of the Taliban, people in Afghanistan were hopeful.
Jim Horne reports. (8:20)