Medium-Term Strategy 1996-2001 designates Women and Africa as priority target
groups for action. In this context, a Special Project on Scientific, Technical
and Vocational Education of Girls in Africa was launched in 1996 as a joint
project of the Sections for Science and Technology Education and for Technical
and Vocational Education. The project is linked to the FEMSA project of
the ADEA Working Group on Female Participation covering activities in 12
African countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique,
Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia).
THE OVERALL OBJECTIVE
of the project is to assist in improving girls participation in scientific,
technical and vocational education (STVE) and related careers. Specific
objectives include to attempt to break the barriers for girls in secondary
school, notably by improving the quality and effectiveness of STVE, to
make an impact on the attitudes and stereotypes which prevent girls from
taking advantage of current opportunities in science and technology, and
to promote a positive image of women in scientific and technical careers.
At the Fourth World
Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995) it was generally agreed that the need
for an increased number of girls and women in science education and technical
professions and the need for women's increased participation in improving
technology in development issues, should be re-assessed to ensure that
more progress is made in these areas. In its Agenda for Gender Equity,
UNESCO commits itself to encourage 'equal access to knowledge in all fields,
notably within science and technology' and aims at 'substantially increasing
the participation of women in science and technical education programmes
and encouraging their access to scientific and decision-making bodies'.
Two recent international
meetings co-organized by UNESCO also underlined the importance of girls'
and women's full participation in scientific, technical and vocational
education. The Second International Congress on Technical and Vocational
Education (Seoul, 1999) included a specific theme on technical and vocational
education for all. In its Framework for Action, the World Conference on
Science (Budapest 1999), stressed that special efforts should be made
'to ensure the full participation of women and girls in all aspects of
science and technology' and to this effect 'promote within the education
system the access of girls and women to scientific education at all levels'.
- National surveys completed in 21 countries (Benin,
Burundi, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Madagascar, Mozambique,
Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Tanzania,
Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe).
publications can be opened with Acrobat Reader (.pdf files)
analysis of 21 country reports
for programme planning
experiments for girls
girls through comic strips, an example
included in 3 issues of CONNECT.
- Innovations in Science
and Technology Education (Volume VII).
- Financial support
to an international workshop for improving the access and achievement
of girls in science and technology, Mauritius, 17-22 June 1996.
- Organisation of
a Sub-regional workshop on STVE of Girls in Africa, Zimbabwe, 8-12 September
- Technical support
to the Lutsango Conference on Women in Science and Technology, South Africa,
and collaboration for the organisation of GASAT 9, Ghana, June 1999.
of the African Forum on Women, Science and Technology, January 1999 as
a preparation for the World Science Conference.
- Participation in
the FEMSA Regional meetings, 1997-1998.
- Support to the African
Women in Science and Engineering, Kenya, December 1999.
- Various national
workshops organized through UNESCO field offices.
The strategy to be
employed in the last biennium of the Special Project is based on recommendations
from various meetings held and needs expressed by partners.
Not only are girls
disadvantaged when it comes to access to education notably in the scientific,
technical and vocational fields, but also in terms of the quality, relevance
and appropriateness of the education and training received which reinforce
the negative attitude of girls towards scientific and technical subjects
and related careers.
Since major reform
in curriculum, textbook, examination and teacher training is unlikely
to be undertaken in the short-term, and since teaching approaches are
heavily influenced by the current nature of the education system, interventions
will start with micro level interventions.
a) The cooperation
with FEMSA will continue in 12 countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana,
Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia,
undertaken by FEMSA with technical support from UNESCO HQ and Field Offices.
Interventions will be supported in selected primary and secondary schools
and teacher training institutions addressing problems within the context
of existing syllabuses and examinations. The interventions will at the
same time point the way forward for more relevant and gender equitable
b) UNESCO will use
the draft working document 'Science experiments' published in 1999 in
national workshops with teachers and education specialists in order to
develop a resource kit on supplementary gender-sensitive science experiments
and activities. This activity will be undertaken in close coordination
with the Special Project on Women, Science and Technology of the Science
AWARENESS AND MOTIVATION
have been identified as being among the greatest impediment to women's
access to scientific and technological education, often due to unconscious
influences in the home from parental/family opinions, cultural and social
norms and lack of positive role models.
a) A major regional
meeting with full media coverage is planned to take place in Lusaka, Zambia,
June 2001, for which agreement in principle for collaboration has already
been obtained from the Science Sector (Special Project on Women, Science
and Technology), FEMSA, Palais de la decouverte (Paris).
b) Technical support
will be provided for the organization of science/career fairs and camps.