Forum for African Women Educationalists Malawi (FAWEMA) says there is need to address barriers hindering girl’s education in Lilongwe district.
The organization`s Project Officer for Innovations in Health Rights and Development (iHEARD) project, Loyce Tembo said this at Malingunde in Lilongwe on Monday, at the end of a Gender Responsive Pedagogy training for 68 teachers from Malingunde Education Zone.
She said evidence shows that girls drop out in upper classes as compared to boys due to some factors such as cultural barriers which regard boys as superior to girls.
“Girls are dropping out in upper classes compared to boys, because of societal and cultural beliefs so we want to ensure that teachers pay attention to the needs of boys and girls to ensure that girls are retained in schools,” she said.
She said the training was aimed at equipping teachers from 17 schools with knowledge and skills on how they can respond and identify the needs of boys and girls to reduce girls drop out cases.
“We believe teachers play a big role in promoting education for boys and girls in schools because they will be able to create a classroom set up which is gender responsive, language, sitting plan that are gender sensitive so that learners should learn in a conducive environment,” She said
One of the facilitators, a teacher trainer from Karonga TTC, James Zimba said the training was crucial for teachers as it has equipped them with skills to address gaps and issues that impinge on learners in a classroom.
“We have also trained teachers that as they work with the community they should enlighten the community on issues that impinge on girls’ education.
“Some issues are related to sexual reproductive health with some communities stopping girls from going to school when there are menstruating that means the girls miss out on learning for about seven days,” he said.
He said teachers need to stop favouring boys to girls in class saying both girls and boys are key players in development.
Gloria Banda a participant from Phirilanjudzi community Day secondary school said the gender responsive pedagogy training will help her train more teachers to mainstream gender issues in their programmes.
As teachers we will be able to use methods that incorporate both boys and girls when teaching, and this will provide equal learning opportunity for them,
“We will use the skills gained to train more teachers to be gender sensitive when teaching. Most girls are left behind, because teachers do not create a conducive environment for learning,” she said.
iHEARD is a five-year project funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) targeting 3,000,000 adolescent girls and young women aged between 10-24 years in primary and secondary schools to dismantle barriers that affect girls in the realisation of their sexual and reproductive health rights in Ntchisi, Dowa and Lilongwe districts.