Education is a fundamental human right which shall be made available equally to everyone (United Nations, 1948). Many governments have attempted to ensure the provision of this basic human right. However, still some disadvantaged groups have been falling behind, including girls and women. Both Goal 5 of the Dakar Final Framework of Action in the Education for All (EFA) Goals (UNESCO, 2000) and Goal 3 of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) (United Nations, 2006) emphasized the importance of gender equality in education within the process of international goal setting.
Senior decision makers of the SACMEQ Ministries of Education also considered the gender equality issue as one of the most important priority policy issues since the beginning of the SACMEQ studies.
The latest SACMEQ publication on gender discusses the trends in the magnitude and direction of gender differences in learning outcomes in the 15 SACMEQ school systems (click on title to download document).
While there has been much improvement in gender parity with respect to school participation rates since 1999, the gender equality issue in education needs to go far beyond parity (UNECO, 2003; USAID, 2008) to include issues such as the need for: (i) a safe and non-discriminatory school environment; (ii) the presence of enough teachers to act as gender role models; (iii) un-biased teacher-based dynamics in the classroom combined with teacher training in gender issues; (iv) un-biased curriculum content; (v) the absence of significant gender differences in learning outcomes; and (vi) a reduction in gendered choice of subject areas in tertiary education.
During SACMEQ III, several issues related to gender equality have been addressed in various ways, for example:
SACMEQ was one of the major partners during the IIEP’s Evidence-Based Policy Forum on Gender Equality in Education: Looking beyond Parity, which was organized in Paris, on 3-4 October 2011. Five presentations used SACMEQ II and III data:
SACMEQ data have been used in presentations and/or papers in collaboration with different units of UNESCO:
Co-operation with FAWE
A team of FAWE female researchers guided by Dr Linda Zuze has completed two research papers using SACMEQ Data:
“Gender gaps in academic achievement in 14 African countries: Evidence from SACMEQ”
“The relationship between teacher quality and girls’ performance in African primary schools: Evidence from SACMEQ II”.
The papers have been published under the theme “Strengthening gender research to improve girls’ and women’s education in Africa” of the FAWE Research Series Vol.1 – 2010.
- Policy Issue Series nr. 4: Saito, M. (2010) Has gender equality in reading and mathematics achievement improved?
- Policy Issue Series nr. 8: Hungi, N. (2010) Is there gender equity in school managerial positions?
- Ross, K.N., & Makuwa, D.K. (2009). Towards a visual comparison of education system performance. Paper presented at World Social Sciences Forum (Bergen, May 2009).
- Saito, M. (2004b). Gender equality in reading and mathematics achievement: Reflecting on EFA goal 5. IIEP Newsletter 22 (2).
- Saito, M. (2011a). Trends in gender equality in learning achievement Southern and Eastern Africa: Exploration of characteristics of educational environment and curriculum areas. Paper presented at IIEP Policy Forum on Gender Equality in Education (Paris, October 2011).