With over 32 million girls out of schools worldwide, there are many ways in which girl’s education can be promoted – a new website offers at least 17 examples of how to do so, Education International reports.
From 2014 -2016 the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), in partnership with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), launched the UNGEI Fund for Documentation of Good Practice in Girls’ Education and Gender Equality.
The UNGEI Fund provided technical assistance and small grants to 17 non-governmental organisations from across the globe, including Educaiton International’s (EI) affiliate in Uganda, UNATU, for the collection and identification of good practice examples in girls’ education. The result of this two-year project was the generation of a rich pool of evidence and materials – including case studies, synthesis report and a documentation guidance note.
The 17 case studies highlighted under the project found many different and creative ways in which girls’ education can be promoted. Overall, the case studies demonstrated that even small-scale programmes aimed at changing attitudes towards girls and women in the context of education, can contribute to gender equality in the wider society.
Most importantly, the case studies found that girls were enabled to aspire to professional and personal opportunities beyond school when programs engaged the boys and the community, fostered changes in attitudes and behaviors towards girls, and focused on increasing girls’ agency and self-confidence.
Teachers’ Action for Girls
One of the case studies selected by UNGEI is the joint initiative between UNATU, EI’s affiliate in Uganda, and CTF, the Canadian Federation of Teachers, also affiliated to EI, called Teachers’ Action for Girls (TAG). It focuses on motivating teachers and school heads to transform schools in support of the girl-child.
The overall purpose of the TAG program is to contribute toward the education of the girl-child by empowering teachers with knowledge, skills, and values to become lead actors in creating gender responsible school environments. It introduced an innovative girl-focused approach designed to advance girls’ education specifically and to challenge the impediments to girls’ success at school.
With a perspective being inherently focused on teachers, the projects’ approach to girls’ education improvement is that teacher organisations are an important partner in improving girls’ safety and success at school, because of their direct connection with teachers and school heads. The TAG project reflects this assumption in its name: Teachers’ Action for Girls.
Through the TAG approach, girls’ safety and equal opportunities at school is treated as a teacher’s professional responsibility. It put a great focus on gender equality training, using teacher-to-teacher professional development, and strengthening the teachers’ ability to make choices and act upon them. This leads to whole-school change and parental and community involvement.