[MUSIC] So, we are now in week five and our topic for this week, is looking at why do governments fund education? This week, I've got joining me, professor Steven Bow, another colleague here at the institute, whose research area in this field. So, we'll get started straight away Steven. In many countries around the world, governments spend a lot of money on education. Can you tell us, why do you think, education is considered to be so important? >> That's a very big question. And I think it's, important to think about it historically. In many ways, what we understand by the modern education system, in most countries, came into existence, alongside the development of the modern state. Late 18th, 19th century. In a sense, education became one of the key vehicles for states, in terms of the management of their populations. In that period, and certainly in places like, like Britain. There was a huge movement of the population from countryside into the cities. Cities grew at a phenomenal rate. And they became, places that were disorganized, threatening, morally dubious in terms of the, the lives and practices of citizens. And states needed to find ways to, organize and manage that population. To translate them into a productive, but also, a docile citizenry. And education was one of the ways of, of, of doing that. Education was, one of the key strategies of state power. Alongside other things like, like health and what we now understand as various welfare services as, as well as things like, like sanitation. All of these things created an infrastructure which then allowed the state to organize, manage and maximize the productivity of the population. So, one of the fundamental, contributions of education in terms of, of a politics of modern society. Is, is, that it, it, it still contributes to the, to the management of the population. It's, it's a way for the state to ensure that its authority is distributed and accepted among citizens. So, for a long time education, I think, can be thought about as primarily having a, a political rationality to it, a political raison d'etre that it, it served this, this purpose. That it, it operated through a set of very, disciplined, procedures. Which in effect I hesitate to use the word, but in effect, it trained the population into a form of practiced civility. So schools even today are, are organized along very simple disciplinary lines in terms of, the organization of time and the organization of space and the organization of knowledge. So we divide schools up, into school days, into lessons, the curriculum's organized in terms of a yearly cycle, a termly cycle, a daily cycle, a weekly cycle. Students move between different settings in order to be have access to the different curriculum subjects. They move through years. They're organized in terms of year groups. There's a very simple, organizational structure. And all of that inculcates a particular set of practices. Which can then be used as the building blocks for other disciplinary relationships, in the rest of society. And in that respect, schools haven't changed very much. There have been some various experiments doing things differently in terms of time and space. But mainly, they, they, they have not been successful and if we look at schools today. Their essential organizing, procedures, are the same as they were in the 19th century. But in recent times, there has been a shift in terms of the priority between political and economic, purposes, in terms of education. There always was, to some extent, and economic dimension to this, this this political control. Because states were also came into being, in terms of or in relation to the needs of the economy and the needs to manage the economy. And to deliver a workforce to the economy, that was well behaved, that was fairly healthy. That had a commitment to work and had certain skills. Basic literacy and other sorts of skills. But in the, in, in the period certainly, the last 20-30 years. The economic has come, in many ways, to be the, the primary rationality for, for education. That increasingly now, education is presented certainly in policy documents, as having a direct relationship to international economic competitiveness. So, if you look at at policy statements general policy statements for education in countries around the globe. It's very difficult to find any exceptions to the pattern which suggests that education, is the major contributor to national economic competitors within the global marketplace. Policy statements, national policy statements, use almost exactly the same language, exactly the same terms, exactly the same arguments to justify a particular set of approaches to education. It's, it's striking, uncanny, in some ways. And that has become the, the driving force, for education policy in most countries. That is to say, the, the harnessing of education to economic necessities as they're presented, this, this global economic competitiveness. And in particular the attempt to produce, create a high skills labor force, or at least some of the labor force, a high skilled labor force, that will enable each individual country, to improve its competitive, competitiveness, vis-a-vis every other country. So now certainly, if you listen to politicians in, in the UK if you listen to David Cameron, Michael Dove, if you look at the white paper, the first white paper the coalition government produced and the foreword written by Nick Cleg and David Cameron, it articulates educational purposes, almost exclusively in terms of, of economic necessity. So for those two reasons, the political and the economic, education has been co, has come to be positioned as enormously important, for governments. and an en an enormously important strategy of government. A way of achieving political control and authority.