UNESCO still sees education biased against girls

Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- UNESCO has expressed concern that many education systems still remained systematically biased against girls so much that the negative attitudes and experiences are being reflected in the generally low attainment and achievement levels for girls as compared to boys.
UNESCO representative in Zambia, Cheik Ndiaye made the remark Monday at the opening of the African Congress on Girls' Science Education in Chisamba, 80km north of Lusaka, warning that education of girls should be addressed as a matter of priority and urgently if Education for All was to be achieved.
Ndiaye noted that available data from almost all regions reveal that girls and women "are severely under-represented in mathematics, science and technology studies and related areas of employment".
"While we must address the constraints to the education of girls and women, the challenges, today, is also to improve the quality of education," Ndiaye suggested.
The meeting, which gathered participants from 20 African countries and France, is expected to prepare an African plan of Action for 2001-2005 as well as access girls' participation to scientific, technical and vocational education.
The plan is intended to break barriers for girls in secondary school by improving their effectiveness for science, technical and vocational education, as well as promote a positive image of women in scientific and technical careers.
Participants would also review a special project on Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education of Girls in Africa which was initiated by UNESCO in 1996 to assistance to educational planners and teachers to promote the participation of girls in those fields.
In his opening address, Zambian Education minister Reuben Musakabantu urged participants to find innovative ways of making science attractive to the girls and women so that their attitudes would begin to change in order to bridge the gap between girls and boys in science education.
He suggested that certain cultural issues make science and technical education unattractive to girls and noted that its mystification in the classroom and the non-practical approaches to teaching and learning it worsen the lack of motivation for girls to learn science.
He said in order to remove the suspicion and abstractness with which science is perceived in Africa there is need to make science literacy for all as an ultimate goal.
The five-day meeting would coincide with the total eclipse 21 June, which Zambians expect to view.

18 june 2001 22:56:00




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