EDD2018: Gender issues in education highlighted

Education International’s representatives have stressed the need to eradicate violence in and around schools and other educational settings, and recruit and retain more women to the teaching profession at this year’s European Development Days.

On the first day of the European Development Days (EDD2018) Forum, which took place in Brussels, Belgium, from 5-6 June, Education International (EI) Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst represented the organisation on a panel on Eliminating Gender-based Violence in and Around Schools and Educational Settings.

This panel was organised by the Belgian NGO VVOB Education for Development. The other panellists were Nora Fyles (Head of Secretariat, UN Girls’ Education Initiative-UNGEI), Anna Carmela Murra (Partnership Manager, VVOB), Anne-Birgitte Albrechtsen (CEO Plan International), and Hendrina Chalwe Doroba (Executive Director, Forum for African Women Educationalists-FAWE).

The panel highlighted the fact that violence in and around schools and other educational settings is one of the most persistent barriers to the right to education all over the world. Panellists felt that partnership approaches should be holistic and pay particular attention to breaking the silence and challenging taboos about gender-based violence in communities as well as within educational settings. Holst emphasised the fact that the objective of all programmes should be to become redundant, as the schools, teachers and communities they target become able to take independent action to address gender-based violence.

Challenges related to and faced by female teachers

On Day two of EDD2018, EI Senior Coordinator Dennis Sinyolo moderated a panel on Female Teachers and Gender Equality in Education. He was joined by Conceicao Gloria Sozinho (Director, Humana People to People, Teacher Training College Chimoio, Mozambique), Teopista Birungi Mayanja (Regional Coordinator, Africa Network Campaign for Education for All-ANCEFA) and Paul Mavima (Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Zimbabwe).

Panelists discussed some of the challenges faced by female teachers in some African countries, including the recruitment, retention and deployment of female teachers. All agreed that existing policies in these areas must have adequate financing if they are to succeed.

Background

A leading forum on development since 2006, the EDD is organised annually by the European Commission for practitioners and stakeholders in the development community “to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges”.

The EDD2018 overarching theme was Women and Girls at the Forefront of Development–Protect, Empower, Invest. Thematic areas covered were: the physical and psychological integrity of women and girls, promoting their economic and social rights and empowerment, and strengthening their voice and participation at all levels and in all sectors.

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