» UNESCO seminar focuses on fostering quality education for girls in Africa
13.12.2016 - Education Sector

UNESCO seminar focuses on fostering quality education for girls in Africa

© UN/Marco Domino

UNESCO and the African Union’s International Centre for Girls’ and Women’s Education in Africa (AU/CIEFFA) is organizing a seminar focusing on strategic investments to scale-up girls’ education in Africa.

The seminar, a platform for debate, hands-on learning and innovation, will be held at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris from 14-15 December and will particularly examine the critical transition to secondary education and beyond.

Up to 40 participants are expected from AU Members States, representatives of Regional Economic Communities, development partners, representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and UNESCO delegations.

With UNESCO support, AU/CIEFFA has undertaken research and policy advocacy to address girls’ barriers to learning. This includes the development of case studies in Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Chad, Tanzania and Zambia on inclusive approaches in learning in Africa with a focus on girls’ and women’s education. Representatives from Côte d’Ivoire, Chad and Zambia will attend.

Access, retention, performance

The seminar will review evidence on gender disparities in education in Africa including the main findings of the five case study countries. It will also advance knowledge, implementation and scale up of good policy and practice to address gender disparities in education and identify strategies and mechanisms to significantly reduce gender, geographical and social disparities in access, retention and performance in schools and universities.

Gender equality and education are central concerns in the new sustainable development agenda with one of the 17 goals, SDG 5, calling for gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment which is a requirement for the achievement of all the goals. The education goal, SDG 4, has its own target on gender equality in education.

Despite significant gains made since 2000 in achieving gender parity in primary education, gender disparities in girls’ participation widen in secondary education. This is particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa, which contains 7 of the 10 countries with fewer than 80 girls enrolled in lower secondary for every 100 boys. Nine million girls in this region will never enter a classroom, with extreme disadvantages in education found most among the poorest girls, and those living in rural or conflict-affected settings.

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