Monday, 4 February 2013How long do children take to get to school and back everyday? In four schools surveyed in Rwanda in 2010, one out of every three children spent more than two hours walking to and from school each day, often along difficult, mountainous roads in rural areas.
How many children can one teacher teach at a time? In the southern district of Mangochi in Malawi, there was a ratio of one teacher for every 192 students in 2000.
Are teachers’ salaries enough to cover the cost of living? In 2009, teachers in Liberia were earning the equivalent of US$75 per month, barely enough on which to pay rent and buy food, let alone school their own children.
Are gender equity policies really having a positive effect? Forty-two per cent of students at two leading Kenyan universities were not aware of existing government or university gender equity policies in 2010, while 35 per cent of teaching staff were unfamiliar with these policies.
The second volume of the FAWE Research Series sheds light on some of the hurdles that stand in the way of quality education for African children, especially girls. Building on past research, this volume draws linkages between gender-responsive schooling practices and girls’ achievement in primary and tertiary education.
The research focuses on selected institutions in five countries and their efforts in making formal schooling environments gender-responsive. It investigates the extent to which schools are endowed with appropriate infrastructure, and looks at the policies and support programmes in place that make for safe, nurturing and gender-responsive learning environments.
The studies highlight the centrality of teachers’ roles to students’ success. They point to the need to equip teachers with gender-responsive teaching and assessment methods and to provide the appropriate conditions to make formal schooling environments more appealing to and inclusive of girls. The aim is to encourage girls to stay in school and to eventually narrow the gender gap in achievement.
At university level, the research investigates problem areas that still require attention and proposes policies to optimise gender mainstreaming in institutions of higher learning. The research papers argue for the institution of more inclusive gender policies that will attract and retain women in higher education institutions.
FAWE is engaged in constant dialogue with governments, policy-makers, and development partners. The aim of its research is not only to add to the knowledge base on girls’ education, but also to support policy and advocacy efforts that contribute to gender equality in education and development.
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