Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Monday, September 24, 2018 06:30:32 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Female teachers key to achieving gender equality in education

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Concerção da Glória Sozinho :
At this year's European Development Days in Brussels, global leaders met to discuss the critical role education plays in sustainable development. Yet progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 - ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all - is in danger of stalling, due to a lack of gender equality in education and persistent barriers that prevent many young girls in developing economies - including my own Mozambique - from remaining in education.
Gender inequalities around the world are manifested in many aspects of education, including access, retention, and career choices. Female teachers provide an important solution to ensuring equal access to learning opportunities for both girls and boys. They can disseminate a culture of gender balance through education - not just in the classrooms but in local communities.
'Nobel prize for teaching' shines spotlight on innovative methods
Research shows that recruiting better teachers is the best way of improving learning outcomes for pupils, especially in less privileged settings. As a $1 million prize from the Varkey Foundation aims to raise the profile and status of the teaching profession, Devex speaks to nominees from developing countries about their unique ways of helping children learn.
However, countries such as my own have a problem. We are struggling to recruit and retain these women and addressing this must become a priority if any meaningful progress is to be made.
According to UNESCO, almost all girls in Mozambique enroll in primary school. Yet more than half drop out by the last grade of primary school, only 38 percent of girls start secondary school, and just 21 percent continue on to college.
The Mozambican government has rightly recognized the critical role of education in poverty alleviation and development, which now accounts for roughly 7 percent of GDP spending, higher than most neighboring countries. Primary education has been free for everyone for some years and the government is taking visible action to address nation-wide education challenges - yet the gender imbalance figures are still worrying.
"It is the cultural barriers to girls education which help maintain the status quo, people are still reluctant to send their daughters to the schools."
Poverty and access to education remain fundamental drivers of this situation, yet the biggest obstacle is one that cannot be solved by high-level donor pledges and policies alone. It is the cultural barriers to girls education which help maintain the status quo, people are still reluctant to send their daughters to the schools.
These cultural barriers are exacerbated by circumstance. A family that does not prioritize a girls' education may still send her to school if the school is close by, it's safe for her, and not costly. However, when you add safety, distance, indirect costs and lack of bathrooms - then it is likely that the girl child will not receive an education.
This makes her more likely to marry early and in some cases, the girl can be forced into a child marriage. Mozambique still has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world - with an estimated 48 percent of women aged 20-24 reporting they were married before reaching 18, and according to UNICEF, 14 percent before they turned 15 years-of-age.
Female teachers have the potential to transform this situation.
It is clear that there is a direct correlation between female teachers and retention of girls in school from secondary level upwards. They act as positive role models for girls; and the parents I speak to have told me they have more confidence to send their children to school if they know teachers are female. It is us who can help create a safe environment.
Additionally, we are better placed to go out into the communities and reassure parents that their girls are safe in school and better off educated. I know from experience that it is one thing to say child marriage is wrong - but explaining why it is wrong is something that happens far too little and is far more effective. If we are able to reassure the families only then can accompanying policies and funding have a real impact.
Despite the clear benefits female teachers have in improving overall gender equity - retention rates of female teachers remain low across Mozambique and indeed Southern Africa more widely.
Women are underrepresented in higher levels of education, particularly leadership positions, with female headteachers above primary school level in Mozambique still a rarity.
In many countries, the system is rigged against women. Headteacher positions are often not assigned on qualifications but on the influence the person may have in the community or among local authorities - meaning the odds are often stacked against us.
More generally, the school environment, particularly in rural areas, can be intimidating, and even dangerous for girls and women. Male teachers often assume that their opinions are more valid and isolate women from discussions, this exclusion is worsened by the absence of staff rooms and female spaces.
Girls and female teachers face high levels of harassment and violence in and around schools. School-related violence ranges from dangers on the journey to school and harassment by students - with concerns for female teachers' safety a leading cause of absenteeism or dropping out altogether. If a female teacher finds a school environment they are happy with - they risk being re-assigned to other, often unfamiliar schools to fill gaps. This causes many female teachers to fall away from the profession.
Coupled with the more general challenges faced by female teachers globally - recruitment, training, remuneration, and career advancement, the task of attracting females to the profession in Mozambique may at times seem insurmountable. However, through improved policies at a government level, greater funding for salaries and improved working conditions - we can begin to encourage more women into this profession and most importantly, retain them.
This is a battle with many fronts and one which requires us to confront deeply embedded cultural and social norms.
As the youngest child of 11 siblings, and the first to go out to work against the wishes of my family, I know and understand the complexity of the issue and the extent of the challenges that lie ahead. But it is only when we address the institutional and social barriers that prevent females from becoming or staying teachers that we will in turn address the social barriers that prevent girls from remaining in school.

(Concerção da Glória Sozinho has nearly two decades' experience in Mozambique's education sector, including in primary, secondary, and teacher training schools).

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Attack on Iran`s elite guards

IRANIAN Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused US-backed Gulf Arab states of carrying out a shooting attack on a military parade that killed 25 people, almost half of them members of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards. Khamenei ordered security forces to bring to justice those responsible for one of the ...

Sports »

Bertens defeats Tomljanovic to secure Korea Open win

AFP, Seoul :Kiki Bertens defeated Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic in the Korea Open final on Sunday, securing her third WTA Tour singles title of the season to continue her career-best year.The second-seeded Bertens came back from break down in the deciding set to defeat the Australian in two hours and 22 ...

International »

World leaders gather at UN under threat from unilateralism

AP, United Nations :With rising unilateralism challenging its very existence, the United Nations convenes its annual meeting of world leaders Monday and will try once more to tackle problems together as a community of nations, addressing threats ranging from Mideast conflicts to the effects of global warming - and also ...

City »

National Professor Anisuzzaman seen among others at the cover unveiling ceremony of a book marking the 80th birthday of eminent writer Hasan Azizul Haq organised by Bangladesh Culture at Jatiya Press Club yesterday.

Entertainment »

Nazira Mou to debut in film with Indraneil

Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Viewers’ choice popular actress Nazira Mou has been acting in small screen for many days. She got many offers for acting in big screen. But she did not agree to act due to disliking stories and her roles in those works. When Mou got the proposal from ...

Editorial »

CPJ reveals weakness of journalists by appealing to President

THE Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in a letter to the Bangladesh President has expressed deep concern about the Digital Security Act 2018, which was passed by the Parliament on September 18, and urged him to return it to Parliament for a review afresh.   If this legislation was allowed to ...

International »

Modi faces calls for resignation over French jet deal

Reuters, New delhi :Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced calls for his resignation over allegations of corruption in a military jet deal with France after former French president Francois Hollande was quoted as saying New Delhi had influenced the choice of a local partner.Indian political parties have been gunning for ...

International »

US official in Russia probe suggested taping Trump: Report

Reuters, Washington: The US official who oversees the federal investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump last year and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke a constitutional amendment to remove him from the White House, the New York Times reported on Friday.Deputy Attorney ...

Football »

Tabarez renews with Uruguay until Qatar World Cup

AFP, Montevideo :Despite failing health the veteran coach Oscar Tabarez has signed a four-year contract extension to remain at the Uruguay helm until the end of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the South American country's football federation said on Friday.Tabarez, who suffers from a nerve disorder that forces him ...

City »

People of the Shia community brought out a Tazia procession in the city on the occasion of Holy Ashura. The snap was taken from Azimpur area on Friday.

Entertainment »

Rishi Kapoor, Juhi Chawla to reunite for a comedy The film will reunite Kapoor and Chawla 22 years after their last film 'Daraar'

Frequent collaborators Rishi Kapoor and Juhi Chawla will reunite for a family comedy produced by Sony Pictures International and MacGuffin Pictures, reported Variety.The untitled film will be co-written by Hitesh Bhatia and Supratik Sen (Parched, Kai Po Che!), and directed by Bhatia. The film will reunite Kapoor and Chawla 22 ...

Editorial »

Rohingya crisis: UN is helpless without active cooperation of int'l community

THE United Nations was established with a mission to stop brutality and promotion of human rights across the globe but at present is apparently helpless to stop the Myanmar military atrocity on Rohingya ethnic community. Though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the ...

Cricket »

India rout Pakistan by eight wickets in Asia Cup

AFP, Dubai :India crushed Pakistan by eight wickets in their long-awaited Asia Cup match which failed to live up to its hype in Dubai on Wednesday.Pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-15) and part time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav (3-23) sent Pakistan, who won the toss and batted, collapsing to just 162 all ...

Football »

We aim to play SAFF U-16 Women's final: Choton

Bangladesh U-18 national women's football team head coach Golam Rabanni Choton said they aim to play the final of the SAFF U-18 Women's Championship which is scheduled to be held from September 28 to October 7 in Thimpu, Bhutan.He was speaking at a pre-departure press conference on Thursday at the ...

International »

US-North Korea relations making 'tremendous progress': Trump

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said US relations with North Korea are making "tremendous progress" from the days before his presidency when the two countries appeared close to "going to war."Trump said a recent letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un confirmed the positive track, which he said has ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news