29th February 2020
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Teaching is a Female Profession with Men in charge

Teaching has been characterized as a ‘female’ profession, especially at lower levels of education. Very few men work in early childhood education, at least partly because of persistent gender stereotypes and norms. There are far more men at higher levels of education and in school leadership positions. Nearly 94% of teachers in pre-primary education, but only about half those in upper secondary education, are female. Disparity between male and female teachers exists not only across education levels, but also across regions.

Few girls obtain a good education, which means few are able to become teachers; gender norms require female teachers to teach female students. And safety issues constrain female teachers and students alike, exacerbating the problem. In rural areas, attracting and retaining teachers, particularly female teachers, is often a challenge. In many displacement settings, safety concerns and cultural practices result in a shortage of female staff. The share of female primary teachers was 10% at Dadaab camp, Kenya, in 2016, and 16% at Dollo Ado camp, Ethiopia, in 2014. Difficulty in recruiting qualified female teachers is compounded by inability to retain them in areas experiencing violence.

More targeted interventions are needed to improve the supply of female teachers for refugees. In Chad, the Little Ripples programme trained and employed Sudanese refugee women to provide early childhood education through play-based learning for 8,000 children aged 3 to 5 in 2 refugee camps. In Dadaab, Kenya, the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees project trained 400 teachers through onsite and online courses at all levels, with women included through affirmative action initiatives. In Kakuma camp Kenya, the Teachers for Teachers project was set up to establish an all-female cohort that would provide a supportive space for women to participate and share their experiences.

Teacher education is critical in preparing teachers to create a safe and inclusive classroom and school environment and to teach students how to act responsibly in school and out. Training materials should help teachers explore how gender discrimination and norms can be challenged. Gender-sensitive approaches can be incorporated at key stages of teacher education when classroom management and discipline approaches are introduced, in both pre-and in-service courses.

Culled from the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report

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