Advancing Gender Responsive Education in Ethiopia

Education experts, curriculum development experts, deans, teacher educators, and school teachers have been trained to address gender inequalities in education in Ethiopia.

Girls face major issues in the Ethiopian education system due to their family, social and cultural backgrounds. Female learners’ stay, completion and learning achievements drop visibly from upper primary grades up to secondary levels and worsen at preparatory, technical and vocational education and training, and tertiary levels. Only 30 per cent of female learners join universities, of which only one fourth actually manage to complete their studies (MoE, 2014). This issue calls for focused and participatory interventions, and equitable and targeted educational approaches. Interventions and approaches should include increasing awareness on gender disparities in education, revising education policies and strategies, as well as ensuring improvements in curriculum, teaching and learning, and teacher training.

Under the UNESCO-HNA Partnership for Girls' and Women's Education on "improving quality and relevance of education for adolescent girls in Africa", UNESCO-IICBA provides technical backstopping in gender responsive pedagogy and teacher training. UNESCO-IICBA recently developed a comprehensive Gender Responsive Education (GRE) toolkit with the aim to equip education professionals with adequate knowledge and skills to enable them to institute GRE in schools, colleges of teacher education and universities. The toolkit contributes to the enhancement of institutional capacities to develop gender responsive curricula, evaluate teaching and learning materials, create gender responsive classrooms and interactions, and eliminate stereotypes in teaching and learning practices.

A training workshop on the utilization of the GRE toolkit was organized by UNESCO-IICBA in collaboration with the UNESCO Addis Ababa Liaison Office in Adama, Ethiopia on 14-18 May 2018. The training targeted curriculum writers, teacher education experts, school teachers, teacher educators and deans of teacher education institutions (TEIs). The training focused on conceptual and practical issues of gender in education policies and programmes, explaining theoretical and practical aspects of gender mainstreaming and orienting on the use of the toolkit in day-to-day professional practices. One of the participants, Ms. Sergework Sisay, Guidance and Counselling Officer at the College of Education and Behavioural Studies of Kotebe Metropolitan University, commented, 

“before taking this training I was viewing the issue only from my theoretical knowledge of the matter; linking the concepts with practical experience the training provided me with new insights and it increased my level of sensitivity on the issue. Now, gender is going to be a concrete part of my professional life.”

As a result of the training, participants are now equipped to advance gender mainstreaming principles and practices in policies, standards, and teaching and learning, as well as in the management of schools, TEIs and universities. Following the agreed action plan, participants will create a learning community, where they will transfer their knowledge and skills in planning, managing and evaluating the implementation of educational programmes from the perspective of gender responsiveness. Ultimately, they will enhance accountability in the Ethiopian education system to ensure an adequate provision of GRE.

UNESCO-IICBA will continue to promote gender-responsive learning environments for girls and women in Africa through institutional capacity development, networking and advocacy. 

The UNESCO-HNA Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education is a five-year partnership formed in 2014 to accelerate gender equality in education in seven countries in Africa and Asia. Under the Partnership, the project on "Enhancing the quality and relevance of education for adolescent girls" focuses in particular on gender-responsive teacher training and professional development.