Girls’ education has been a high development priority for decades. While some progress has been made, girls are often still at a great disadvantage, especially in developing countries, and most especially in African countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, less than half of primary school teachers and only a quarter of secondary school teachers are women, and enrolment figures for girls are low. One common policy prescription is to increase the number of women teachers, especially in the many countries where teaching remains a predominantly male profession. This policy prescription needs to be backed by more evidence in order to significantly increase and improve its effective implementation. The available research seems to suggest that girls are more likely to enrol in schools where there are female teachers. Moreover, increasing the number of trained teachers in sub-Saharan Africa depends on more girls completing their school education. To date, however, there has been no comprehensive literature review analysing the effects of being taught by women teachers on girls’ educational experience. This paper aims to make a start on filling this gap by examining the evidence on the effects in primary schools, especially in African countries. It also identifies and examines the barriers women face in becoming and staying teachers, and considers policies to remedy their situation.
Augmenter le nombre des enseignantes primaires dans les pays africains : conséquences, obstacles et politiques – L’éducation des filles constitue une priorité absolue de développement depuis plusieurs décennies. Même si certains progrès ont été réalisés, les filles sont encore souvent très défavorisées, surtout dans les pays en développement et en particulier africains. En Afrique subsaharienne, les femmes représentent moins de la moitié du corps enseignant primaire et seul un quart des enseignants secondaires, et les taux de scolarisation des filles sont particulièrement bas. Une prescription stratégique commune consiste à accroître le nombre des femmes enseignantes, notamment dans les nombreux pays où l’enseignement demeure un métier typiquement masculin. Mais cette prescription doit être étayée par un corpus plus consistant de données pour en étendre et améliorer sensiblement l’application. Les études existantes semblent constater que les filles sont plus susceptibles d’être inscrites dans les écoles dotées de femmes enseignantes. Par ailleurs, la multiplication d’enseignants qualifiés en Afrique subsaharienne dépend du nombre de filles qui achèvent leur scolarité. Mais il n’existe à ce jour aucune étude exhaustive qui analyse les conséquences sur l’expérience éducative des filles de l’enseignement dispensé par des femmes. Les auteurs de cet article font un premier pas pour combler cette lacune, en explorant les données sur ces conséquences dans les écoles primaires, notamment des pays africains. Ils identifient et examinent en outre les obstacles que rencontrent les femmes pour embrasser et continuer à exercer la profession, et envisagent les politiques qui pourraient remédier à leur situation.
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Education for All (EFA), coordinated by UNESCO, is a global commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, youth and adults with six goals to be met by 2015. For more information see http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-all/.
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This paper was produced through a Grant from the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) to the University of Maryland. All opinions expressed are those of the authors alone.
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Haugen, C.S., Klees, S.J., Stromquist, N.P. et al. Increasing the number of female primary school teachers in African countries: Effects, barriers and policies. Int Rev Educ 60, 753–776 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11159-014-9450-0
- Girls’ education
- Women teachers
- Gender issues