Sunday 2017-09-24

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FORUM FOR WOMEN EDUCATIONALIST CONFERENCE ON GIRLS’ EDUCATION IN AFRICA

By Thulani Lushaba | 2017-09-02

Over 500 delegates from 33 countries gathered in Lusaka for the Forum for Women Educationalists (FAWE) Conference on Girls’ Education in Africa and forums 10th General Assembly under the theme: ‘Towards Gender Equality In Education: Positioning Youth To Champion Africa’s Education Agenda’. FAWESWA a member of SWANCEFA attended this conference and we share the following from the conference: Hendrina Chalwe Doroba, FAWE Regional Executive Director, gave an overview of the Girls’ Education Conference. She acknowledged the Government of Zambia and African Union for accepting to host the conference, and thanked the over 500 delegates who took interest in attending to address challenges in education in working towards SDG 4. Pathways, skills and knowledge ought to be imparted to young people towards achieving Agenda 2063. To this end, FAWE has partnered with many stakeholders to advocate for quality education. This conference explored various issues surrounding girl child education especially in marginalised communities. Young people are working at empowering each other with the help of all stakeholders in meeting agenda 2063, said Hawa Ssemega, FAWE Alumni Chair. Education is the engine for development. Quality education should thus be accessible to all to build the capacity of young people. The marginalised should also be involved and Governments must be at the centre stage in helping achieve this. A fund is needed in Africa to ensure that all girls are in school no matter their circumstances. SUPPORTING GENDER EQUALITY IN EDUCATION IN AFRICA: EXPLORING FRAMEWORKS The commitment of FAWE to meet its objectives has always been notable. Hon. Simone De Cormamond, FAWE Africa founder member emphasised the need for all stakeholders to play their part to achieve the goal of educating women and girls in Africa. An educated woman results in an educated nation and it is important not to lose track in discussing the good quality education does for women. Situating Women and Girls Education in Agenda 2063 H.E. Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner for HRST, AUC said education and human resource development provide a very important tool to attaining the Africa we want. Millions of children especially girls are still denied education in Africa and the means to a better future. They are more likely to even drop out of school. Attaining Agenda 2063 requires the addressing of critical issues especially around women and girls education and ensure quality education at all levels. Education is one of the four pillars in investing in youth to attain Africa’s Demographic Dividends. A significant proportion of the population out of school, left out, or with no access to STEAM subjects are women and girls. This then calls for all stakeholders not just FAWE to take action. The numbers of educated women should greatly increase to create an equal playing field with their male counterparts and create a better future. Access to higher and tertiary education should also be addressed especially for skills and technical training. Quality education means quality teachers and quality infrastructure. Teachers are supposed to be skilled and knowledgeable and infrastructure should be in place for good quality education. Barriers such as poverty and tradition should be faced head on to avoid the many limitations that they have on girl and women education. The AUC promotes national policies and incentives to encourage keeping women and girls in schools. Gender Equality Strategy for CESA and its implications on SDG 4 To achieve the call to action of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA), Dr Sibeso Luswata a consultant from Zambia said more strategies and actions beyond talk are needed as FAWE moves into the next 25 years. Quality education is a challenge in gender education itself. Ministers of Education are challenged to invest more in education and review curriculum in alignment with Agenda 2063. The AUCESA framework talks of investing in people and educating children is one way of creating a firm foundation towards a brighter future. Domestic Financing for Education: Prospects and Challenges Victoria Abioseh Egbetayo of Global Partnership for Education (GPE), said the means to unleash the full potential of an African youth is through education and to achieve it, domestic funding is most be sustainable. This is important (and not negotiable) when it comes to prioritising education. Education has multiple and significant benefits especially to the future of youth and national development. This makes the crisis of educational funding, especially in Africa an urgent matter to be addressed. GPE negotiates with countries to finance education; advocates for political will; addresses GBV; negotiates with donors to increase funding in education and for Governments to pledge more domestic funding. Declining Financing for Education Demands Global Pressure Matildah Mwamba of GCE reported that, “enough funding guarantees good quality education”. According to a UNESCO report, “donors are giving education a lower priority in their budgets”. This reflects a low level of political will. There has not been enough support to advocate for good quality education in terms of pressure on world leaders to fund education. More children are missing out on education and the girl child is most affected. More engagement with stakeholders and partners should be undertaken to petition ministries and governments to increase financing for education. It is also important to continuously research on educational funding gaps to and help increase financing through domestic taxation. Through innovative educational financing governments and stakeholders can raise resources to fund education. Innovative Approaches to Financing Education with a Particular Focus on Girls Education Plan Zambia’s Winnie Mabhena, said the increasing number of poor families, the chances of educating children, especially the girl child have diminished. Educational budgets have not been sufficient and have not met the real needs in the educational systems. Delays in budget allocations for the educational sector as well as inadequate infrastructure have made the situation even worse. The question of equitable distribution of resources remains a challenge and if good quality education is to be delivered, there is great need to prioritise educational funding. It was recommended that, funds allocated to the educational sector must be released on time and consistently. Countries should consider innovative ways to cut expenditure on emoluments while increasing provisions for learning materials and infrastructure investments. Skills education must be prioritised. Overall, countries must address issues affecting girls and educate them to be functionally literate. The Director of Projects at the Ministry of Education , Zambia, Joseph Mudere, said Zambia’s GDP has been increasing and thus, more should be contributed towards the educational sector. The three main pillars in education are teachers, functional infrastructure, and learning and teaching materials. The Ministry of Education is in a process for constructing more than 100 secondary schools and 10 of them are specifically for girls alone. To respond to these articles you can write to us at call us at 2404 9617 and like our facebook page Swaziland Network Campaign For Education For All (SWANCEFA).

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