This report has been compiled by Lucy Philpott, a student studying MSc Africa andInternational Development at the Universi...
TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                                                         ...
4.2.2 Dissemination of Gender-Related Policy.................................................................................
6.3 Local Level Recommendations..............................................................................................
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURESFig.1: Female enrolment throughout the education systemFig.2: Female enrolment across primary an...
ACRONYMSCARER – Centre for Rights, Research and          MoE – Ministry of EducationEducation on Rights                   ...
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI would like to thank the LCD staff in Edinburgh and Malawi, all of whom assisted me in thedesign, organis...
EXECUTIVE SUMMARYBackgroundDespite achieving equal access, gender disparities remain throughout the primary education syst...
1.0 INTRODUCTION1.1 PURPOSE OF STUDYThe study outlined in this report has been conducted on behalf of Link CommunityDevelo...
BOX.1: INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION TARGETS INCREASING ACCESS TO EDUCATION MDG 2: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, bo...
Further to this, female pupils remain marginalised within Dedza. Despite equal access beingachieved with 50.4% of primary ...
lowest achieving districts for female literacy, with the female literacy rate being 43%, which is11% lower than the male e...
2.0 REVIEW OF THE LITERATUREA literature review was initially completed to provide a contextual basis for the research pro...
emerging capabilities approach provides a more comprehensive framework for understandingthe role and status of education b...
Browne,2006; Akyeampong & Lewin,2009; Cremin & Nakabugo,2012). A study conducted byAinsworth et al. (1996) found a relatio...
‘quality education’, using the example that girls require different sanitation facilities, especiallyduring menstruation. ...
the most disadvantaged (Daun,2000; UNESCO,2003; Lewin,2009; UNGEI,2012). This has led tothe conclusion of a strong relatio...
suggests ‘quality’ of education is a crucial component in achieving international educationtargets. Furthermore, it seems ...
3.0 METHODOLOGY3.1 METHODSData was collected across three levels of the education system, national, district and local, us...
school was included to gain an insight into post-primary challenges regarding gender andeducation.          SCHOOL        ...
All FGD participants were asked similar questions, adapted to meet the needs of the particulargroup. All questions focused...
4.0 FINDINGS4.1 NATIONAL LEVEL FINDINGS4.1.1 Overview of Gender-Related Education PolicyWhilst there appears to be a numbe...
target of mainstreaming gender, acknowledging that women and girls currently remainmarginalised. Education is presented as...
The Readmission Policy is recognised as the only formal gender-related policy. However, there isevidence to suggest that f...
The PEAs and the District FPO for Gender are the main stakeholders responsible fordisseminating policy-related information...
Additionally, in reference to documenting dropout figures, it appears there are problems withthe way in which this informa...
   School chores appeared to be gender-specific in several schools – for example, in        Chilanga primary school, girl...
4.3.2.3 Mother Groups                                      Mother Group at Chipudzi Primary SchoolThe MGs in all participa...
4.3.2.4 Female Teacher NetworksFTNs have been introduced with the aim of supporting girls’ education and providing a suppo...
4.3.4.1.1 Lack of Girl-Friendly Facilities                                                  A lack of girl-friendly facili...
4.3.4.1.2 In-School HarassmentIn 5 out of the 8 participating schools, girls reported that they had experienced various fo...
4.3.4.1.4 Female Role Models                                       A lack of female role models was cited as a major barri...
December and February when food is scarce. All schools where hunger was reported        were not part of a school feeding ...
expected to take on the responsibility of looking after the home and family if one or both        parents are lost. There ...
Throughout this study, it was difficult to ascertain clear information on the various culturalpractices that occur. Based ...
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"
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Lucy Philpott, LCD "Research Summary: Girls' participation in Primary Education in Dedza Malawi"

  1. 1. This report has been compiled by Lucy Philpott, a student studying MSc Africa andInternational Development at the University of Edinburgh, on behalf of Link Community Development. lucyphilpott@yahoo.co.uk
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGEList of Tables and Figures............................................................................................................. ....................ivAcronyms..................................................................................................................... ..........................................vAcknowledgements............................................................................................................................................viExecutive Summary............................................................................................................ ..................................11.0 Introduction....................................................................................................................... ..............................2 1.1 Purpose of Study........................................................................................................................... ......................2 1.2 Research Focus and Aims...................................................................................................................................2 1.3 Research Objectives............................................................................................................................ .................2 1.4 Research Background........................................................................................................................ ..................2 1.4.1 Girls’ Education in Malawi.............................................................................................................2 1.4.2 Girls’ Education in Dedza...............................................................................................................3 1.5 Overview of the Report......................................................................................................................................52.0 Review of the Literature....................................................................................................................... .........6 2.1 Primary Education within Development Discourse......................................................................................6 2.2 Gender, Education and Development.................................................................................................... ..........7 2.3 Girls’ Education in Sub-Saharan Africa.................................................................................................. .........9 2.4 Conclusion and Implications...........................................................................................................................103.0 Methodology.................................................................................................................................................12 3.1 Methods............................................................................................................................................................ ..12 3.2 Sample.................................................................................................................... .............................................12 3.3 Interviews............................................................................................................................. ..............................13 3.4 Focus Group Discussions............................................................................................................................ .....13 3.5 Ethics........................................................................................................................ ...........................................14 3.6 Limitations............................................................................................................................. .............................144.0 Findings..........................................................................................................................................................15 4.1 National Level Findings...................................................................................................................................15 4.1.1 Overview of Gender-Related Education Policy.........................................................................15 4.2 District Level Findings....................................................................................................... ...............................16 4.2.1 Knowledge of Gender-Related Policy.........................................................................................16 i
  3. 3. 4.2.2 Dissemination of Gender-Related Policy....................................................................................17 4.2.3 Information and Monitoring of Gender Issues..........................................................................18 4.3 Local Level Findings............................................................................................................. ............................19 4.3.1 Knowledge and Implementation of Gender-Related Policy....................................................19 4.3.2 School-Level Structures for Supporting Girls’ Education........................................................20 4.3.2.1 School Staff...................................................................................................................20 4.3.2.2 PTAs and SMCs...........................................................................................................20 4.3.2.3 Mother Groups.............................................................................................................21 4.3.2.4 Female Teacher Networks..........................................................................................22 4.3.3 Monitoring Female Dropout.........................................................................................................22 4.3.4 Gender-Specific Barriers to Girls’ Education..............................................................................22 4.3.4.1 Internal Factors............................................................................................................ 22 4.3.4.1.1 Lack of Girl-Friendly Facilities...............................................................23 4.3.4.1.2 In-School Harassment..............................................................................24 4.3.4.1.3 Academic Achievement and Post-Primary Prospects.........................24 4.3.4.1.4 Female Role Models.................................................................................25 4.3.4.2 External Factors............................................................................................................25 4.3.4.2.1 Poverty.......................................................................................................25 4.3.4.2.2 Parental Attitudes towards Education..................................................26 4.3.4.2.3 Gender Roles and Expectations..............................................................26 4.3.4.2.4 Gender-Based Violence............................................................................27 4.3.4.2.5 Adverse Cultural Practices......................................................................27 4.3.4 NGO Intervention............................................................................................................. ..............285.0 Conclusion.....................................................................................................................................................29 5.1 The Nature of Current Gender-Related Policy.............................................................................................29 5.2 Existing Structure for Disseminating Policy Information...........................................................................30 5.3 The Reality of Gender-Specific Barriers.........................................................................................................306.0 Recommendations........................................................................................................................................31 6.1 National Level Recommendations..................................................................................................................31 6.2 District Level Recommendations........................................................................................... .........................31 ii
  4. 4. 6.3 Local Level Recommendations.............................................................................................. ..........................31References............................................................................................................................................................33Bibliography........................................................................................................................................................37Appendices..................................................................................................................................... .....................41 Appendix.1: The Readmission Policy...................................................................................................................41 Appendix.2: The Readmission Policy Revised Guidelines................................................................................42 Appendix.3: EMIS Annual Return Questionnaire..............................................................................................45 Appendix.4: DEMIS Monthly Return Form........................................................................................................61 Appendix.5: Local-Level NGO Interventions.....................................................................................................63 iii
  5. 5. LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURESFig.1: Female enrolment throughout the education systemFig.2: Female enrolment across primary and secondary education in DedzaFig.3: Dropout rate by Standard, inc. national average for girlsFig.4: Survival rate by Standard in DedzaFig.5: Promotion rates by Standard in Dedza, inc. national average for girlsFig.6: National pass rates for PSLCE for boys and girlsFig.7: Interviews conducted at national and district levelTable.1: Sample of schoolsFig.8: District education structures for gender issuesFig.9: Example of an EMIS data return for dropout from a Dedza SchoolFig.10: PSCLE results and pupils selected for secondary education at Chilanga Primary School, 2011Fig.11: Proportion of male and female teachers in Dedza iv
  6. 6. ACRONYMSCARER – Centre for Rights, Research and MoE – Ministry of EducationEducation on Rights MoEST – Ministry of Education, Science andCPEA – Coordinating Primary Education TechnologyAdviser NESP – National Education Sector PlanDCDO – District Community DevelopmentOfficer NGO – Non-Governmental OrganisationDEM – District Education Manager NGP – National Gender PolicyDEO – District Education Office PEA – Primary Education AdviserDEP – District Education Plan PSLCE – Primary School Leaving Certificate of EducationDEMIS – District Education ManagementInformation System PTA – Parent Teacher AssociationEMIS – Education Management Information SFP – School Feeding ProgrammeSystem SIP – School Improvement PlanEfA – Education for All SMC – School Management CommitteeFAWEMA – Forum for African Women SSA – Sub-Saharan AfricaEducationalists, Malawi Chapter TDC – Teacher Development CentreFGD – Focus Group Discussions UNESCO – United Nations Educational,FPE – Free Primary Education Scientific and Cultural OrganisationFPO – Focal Point Officer UNGEI – United Nations Girls EducationFTN – Female Teacher Network InitiativeGABLE – Girls Attainment in Basic Literacy UNICEF – United Nations Children Fundand Education Programme UNSD – United Nations Statistics DivisionGBV – Gender-Based Violence UPE – Universal Primary EducationGoM – Government of Malawi USAID – United States Agency forLCD – Link Community Development International DevelopmentMDG – Millennium Development Goals WAD – Women and DevelopmentMG – Mother Group WID – Women in DevelopmentMGDS – Malawi Growth and DevelopmentStrategy v
  7. 7. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI would like to thank the LCD staff in Edinburgh and Malawi, all of whom assisted me in thedesign, organisation and implementation of this project.I would like to thank my Dissertation Supervisor and Programme Director for theirguidance, advice and feedback.I would like to thank the participants of the study, without whom this research would nothave been possible.Lucy Philpott vi
  8. 8. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYBackgroundDespite achieving equal access, gender disparities remain throughout the primary education system acrossMalawi, and girls remain disadvantaged. This is particularly true in Dedza District, where large numbersof girls are dropping out of school and those in school are performing below national averages foracademic achievement. This study aimed to investigate local-level perspectives on gender issues in order topresent an initial scoping of the complex issues relating to gender and education in the targeted district ofDedza. This was done through examining national policy, district and local structures and gender-specificbarriers directly influencing girls’ participation in education.MethodsData was collected at national, district and local levels using semi-structured interviews and FGDs. Keyinformants were interviewed at national and district levels to investigate gender issues within a widereducational context, and in-school FGDs with school staff and community members were used to gainlocal-level perspectives on the current issues impacting on girls’ education in Dedza.FindingsThis study highlights that multiple challenges exist in relation to girls’ education, evident across national,district and local levels:  National gender-related policy currently lacks coherence and relevance and is therefore inadequate for its intended purpose  Current structures for disseminating policy information to all relevant stakeholders at district and local levels, including the NGO community, are insufficient  Inadequate policy has led to limited translation and misinterpretation of national aims and targets  There is no clear framework for action to implement gender-related policy and associated strategies at district and local levels, and there are insufficient resources for implementation  External factors that impact on girls’ participation in education existing beyond the school environment at community-level appear to have had an inadequate level of considerationConclusionsThe complexities of gender inequalities extend far beyond the education system and are beingcontinuously perpetuated by parental attitudes, cultural practices and gender-based violence. It iscrucial that policy adopts an expanded vision of gender equality in order to reflect the realities ofgender-specific barriers to education; a vision which goes beyond a framework of ensuring equaltreatment of girls and boys and acknowledges the individual and differential needs of girls. Inaddition to policy design, the presence of effective structures for disseminating policy information atdistrict and local levels is of equal importance, to ensure that gender-related targets and associatedstrategies are communicated in a coherent and consistent way to all stakeholders who are responsiblefor their implementation.RecommendationsRecommendations presented are organised around the national, district and local levels of theeducation system and focus on policy design, dissemination and implementation. They includestrengthening gender-related policy and existing structures for dissemination, strengthening school-level structures and understandings of gender issues, building the capacity of relevant school-levelstructures, increasing community involvement and coordinating the practice of external agencies. 1
  9. 9. 1.0 INTRODUCTION1.1 PURPOSE OF STUDYThe study outlined in this report has been conducted on behalf of Link CommunityDevelopment (LCD) with the aim of providing a local-level perspective on gender issues ineducation within a targeted district in Malawi. This report represents an initial scoping of thecomplex issues relating to gender and education and the findings will inform future LCDresearch and intervention.1.2 RESEARCH FOCUS AND AIMSThe study was conducted within the targeted district of Dedza, located in the Central Region.Dedza is one of the two districts in which LCD operate within Malawi and was purposelyselected for this study in order to provide a broad understanding of locally-specific challengeswith regards to gender issues in education. The primary purposes of the study are twofold:  To identify policies and structures relating to gender and education at national, district and local levels  To investigate gender-specific barriers which influence girls’ participation in primary education in Dedza1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVESThe study consisted of conducting research at national, district and local levels and aimed tocover the following objectives:  To identify and document existing national gender-related education policy  To identify district structures responsible for gender issues in education in Dedza  To identify current issues and challenges regarding gender and education at school-level, including gender-specific barriers to education  To identify other NGOs working in Dedza in relation to gender and education and to summarise on-going and future interventions  To provide recommendations to propose possible future intervention1.4 RESEARCH BACKGROUND1.4.1 Girls’ Education in MalawiLike many other countries, Malawi is committed to achieving the international developmenttargets which relate to educational access and gender equality (see Box.1:p3) and considerableeffort has been made to improve education, particularly for girls. A number of interventions atpolicy level, including the GABLE programme in 1991 and the introduction of FPE in 1994(Kadzamira,2008; Al-Samarrai & Zaman,2007; Inoue & Oketch,2008), have led to a significantimprovement in primary enrolment. Girls, who had previously been under-representedcompared to their male counterparts, currently make up 51% of primary enrolments(GoM,2011:24), showing considerable progress toward the achievement of eliminating genderdisparities. 2
  10. 10. BOX.1: INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION TARGETS INCREASING ACCESS TO EDUCATION MDG 2: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. EfA 2: Ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities have access to complete free and compulsory education of good quality. GENDER EQUALTY AND EDUCATION MDG 4: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education, no later than 2015. EfA 5: Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005 and achieving gender equality by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to (and achievement in) basic education of good quality. (UNESCO,2000; UN,2011)However, despite a significant increase in female primary enrolment, very few girls make thetransition to secondary school and even fewer enrol at tertiary level (see fig.1). Furthermore, thesurge in primary enrolments has compromised the internal efficiency of the primary educationsystem: the average pupil/teacher ratio is 76:1; the average pupil/classroom ratio is 105:1; and athird of primary pupils fail the PSLCE exam (GoM,2011). Despite ongoing efforts to mainstreamgender throughout every aspect of education, it is believed that the current conditions within theeducation system have a greater impact on girls, who remain disadvantaged in terms ofretention and achievement in education. Fig.1: Female enrolment throughout the education system (data from UNSD,2012)1.4.2 Girls’ Education in DedzaDedza, located in the Central Region of Malawi, is divided into 19 zones with a total of 217primary schools and 36 secondary schools (GoM,2011). The problems that exist at national levelappear to be reflected and magnified in Dedza. At primary level, the pupil teacher ratio is 80:1,and the permanent pupil classroom ratio is 199:1 (GoM,2011). 3
  11. 11. Further to this, female pupils remain marginalised within Dedza. Despite equal access beingachieved with 50.4% of primary enrolment being females (GoM,2011), gender disparities remainthroughout the education system, and the retention and achievement of girls fall below nationalaverages. Fig.2 Female enrolment across primary and secondary education in Dedza (data from GoM,2011)Female dropout is a particular area of concern in Dedza. A greater number of girls drop out ofschool compared to boys, especially in the senior classes (Standard 5 – Standard 8), and femaledropout is consistently above the national average across every standard, with senior classespresenting the biggest problem. Failure to retain girls, particularly past Standard 5, is alsoreflected through district survival rates, which show the percentage of a cohort of pupils enrolledin Standard 1 who are expected to reach successive standards. Fig.3: Dropout rate by Standard, inc. national average for Fig.4: Survival rate by Standard in Dedza (data from girls (data from GoM,2011) GoM,2011)In addition to poor retention, girls consistently have lower levels of academic achievementcompared to boys, as well as performing below national averages for girls. Last year, fewer girlswere promoted from each standard to the next with the exception of standard 4 (see fig.5). Theunder-achievement of girls is reflected nationally, whereby fewer girls are passing the PSLCE(see fig.6). Further to this, the 2008 National Census revealed that Dedza was one of the four 4
  12. 12. lowest achieving districts for female literacy, with the female literacy rate being 43%, which is11% lower than the male equivalent and 16% lower than the national female average (NSO,2008).Fig.5 Promotion rates by Standard in Dedza, inc. national Fig.6 National pass Rates for PSLCE average for girls (data from GoM,2011) for boys and girls (data from GoM,2011)1.5 OVERVIEW OF THE REPORTThe rest of this report is organised into 5 further sections:  Section 2 presents a literature review outlining current academic debates surrounding gender, education and development in an African context.  Section 3 describes the research methodology, outlining methods, sample, ethics and limitations.  Section 4 presents research findings from national, district and local level, focusing on gender related policy and gender-specific barriers which impact specifically on girls’ participation in education.  Section 5 draws conclusions from the research findings.  Section 6 outlines recommendations for future implementation. 5
  13. 13. 2.0 REVIEW OF THE LITERATUREA literature review was initially completed to provide a contextual basis for the research projectbased on contemporary academic debates on the research focus. The following review isstructured around three sections: ‘Primary Education within Development Discourse’, ‘Gender,Education and Development’ and ‘Girls’ Education in Sub-Saharan Africa’.2.1 PRIMARY EDUCATION WITHIN DEVELOPMENT DISCOURSEThe Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) formalise contemporary development thinking andincorporate multiple disciplines, including education (Cremin & Nakabugo,2012). The secondMDG, ‘Achieve universal primary education (UPE)’ (UN,2011:16), highlights that expandingaccess to education is an international target; a target which is reflected in the Education for All(EfA) framework (UNESCO,2000). While UPE is an undisputed global priority, severaltheoretical perspectives exist demonstrating contrasting motivations underpinning thejustification for UPE: human capital approach, rights-based approach and human capabilities approach(Robeyns,2006; Barrett & Tikly,2011; McCowan,2011; Walker,2012).The human capital approach, firmly situated in an economic school of thought, emphasises theinstrumental role education plays in national development through drawing a direct relationshipbetween education and economic productivity (Schlutz,1971; Becker,1975). From thisperspective, “[t]he central rationale for investing in education...lies in the contribution thateducation can make to economic growth” (Barrett & Tikly,2011:4), based on a cost-benefitanalysis where the rates of return justify any investment in education (Heward,1999;Soudien,2002; Canton & Lindahl,2007; McCowan,2011).In contrast, the rights-based approach prioritises the intrinsic value of education (Robeyns,2006).Underpinned by international legal frameworks, including the Universal Declaration of HumanRights (UN,1948:Article 26.1) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN,1989:Article 28-29), the motivation for UPE stems from the declaration that education is a fundamental humanright (McMillan,2010; Barrett & Tikly,2011; McCowan,2011). From this perspective, education isbelieved to promote development outcomes through providing the opportunity to raiseawareness of rights in a wider context, thereby securing rights beyond education, which rightsadvocators argue to be the driving force for development (Subrahmanian,2005; Greany,2008).The human capabilities approach, inspired by the works of Amartya Sen and Nancy Fraser, is builton ideas of individual freedoms and social justice (Sen,2005; Walker,2005; Barrett & Tikly,2011;Cremin & Nakabugo,2012). This approach views education as a tool to enable individuals tooperate their ‘capability set’, their full potential (Walker,2005), as well as providing theopportunity to enhance their capacity to achieve further capabilities (McCowan,2011). Educationis therefore valued both instrumentally and intrinsically, “Being knowledgeable and havingaccess to an education that allows a person to flourish is generally argued to be a valuablecapability....[b]ut being well-educated can also be instrumentally important for the expansion ofother capabilities” (Robeyns,2006:78), which is believed subsequently to fuel developmentoutcomes.While the human capital and human rights approaches are widely recognised for their importantcontribution to ongoing discussions regarding education and development, many argue the 6
  14. 14. emerging capabilities approach provides a more comprehensive framework for understandingthe role and status of education because it incorporates and extends on the fundamental ideas ofboth human capital and human rights (Unterhalter,2005; Robeyns,2006; Barrett & Tikly,2011;McCowan,2011; Walker,2012). McMillan (2010) highlights a shared limitation of the humancapital and human rights approaches is the disregard for the process, and thereby the quality, ofeducation, claiming both approaches agree on promoting ‘education’, yet neither promotes aparticular definition, therefore implying it is a fixed concept (Robeyns,2006; McCowan,2011).Many authors argue the reason why the capabilities approach is of higher merit is that ‘quality’is inherently acknowledged as an essential element to the process of education, therebyextending beyond simply acknowledging the importance of access to education andacknowledging the content of what is being taught and subsequently learned (Robeyns,2006;McCowan,2011). Barrett & Tikly (2011:7) argue that framing education through humancapabilities provides more ‘form and substance’, by forcing the acknowledgement of factorsinternal to the process of education, such as inclusion and relevance, which impact onindividuals’ ability to operate their capability sets. This is further supported by Unterhalter(2005:120), who claims the capabilities approach moves beyond the rhetoric of human capitaland human rights and addresses underlying social factors necessary to allow learners to reachtheir full potential.The concept of quality shapes a significant debate within the literature, whereby many arguethat, in order to meaningfully meet education targets and achieve possible developmentoutcomes which education can promote, the quality of the education process is an essentialcomponent. Pigozzi (2006), Lewin (2009) and Barrett (2011) urge for an ‘expanded vision’ ofaccess to education, whereby factors relating to the content and quality of education (forexample, learning environment, teaching methods, facilities and resources) are simultaneouslyconsidered alongside the need for increased enrolment. The importance of quality in educationhas been acknowledged by several multi-national agencies, such as the World Bank (2002:432)and UNESCO (2003), and has been operationalised by UNICEF (2005:4), who offer acomprehensive framework of quality education through their ‘Child Friendly Schools’ initiativewhich aims to promote “...a multi-dimensional concept of quality and address the total needs ofthe child as a learner”.2.2 GENDER, EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENTWomen’s contribution to development has been widely recognised since Ester Boserup’s (1970)feminist critique of mainstream development theories, ‘Woman’s Role in Economic Development’,where she argued gender was an important factor to consider in development thinking andinitiatives. As shown by Visvanathan (1996:18-19), Heward (1999:1-2) and Datta & McIlwaine(2010:370-371), Boserup’s work subsequently sparked the Women in Development (WID) andWoman and Development (WAD) approaches, which further highlight women’s contributionsand emphasise the need to include females in development processes. Equal inclusion of womenand men within development has been internationally recognised, with MDG3 outlining the aim,“Gender equality and the empowerment of women” (UN,2011:20).Many authors have documented evidence that educating females can enhance theircontributions, having a transformational impact on a wide range of development aims,promoting desirable social, cultural and economic outcomes (UNESCO,2003; Barrett & 7
  15. 15. Browne,2006; Akyeampong & Lewin,2009; Cremin & Nakabugo,2012). A study conducted byAinsworth et al. (1996) found a relationship between education levels and fertility rates, showingwomen who had received higher levels of education were more likely to use contraception andtherefore had fewer children. This finding is supported by Pitt (2005), who additionally identifiesa positive relationship between maternal education and child health and survival. The childrenof an educated woman are more likely to go to school, showing female education has agenerational impact, which Akyempong and Lewin (2009) argue has implications for thesustainability of the UPE target. Additionally, Barrett & Browne (2006) conclude that educatedwomen are more confident to make business-related decisions, making them more economicallyproductive. The benefits of educating females is believed to be more pronounced in developingcountry contexts, where women bear more responsibilities, including the upbringing of children,care of the home and farming, which impact on both human development and nationaleconomic growth (Barrett & Browne,2006).The relationship between gender, education and development has been recognised among globaleducation and development actors. In addition to UPE, the international community iscommitted to eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education,operationalised through the MDGs (UN,2011:20) and EfA (UNESCO,2000:8) targets. The focuson gender equality in education has resulted in widespread successes, with many developingcountries either reaching gender parity or significantly reducing the gender gap in enrolments atprimary level (UN,2011:20).However, many authors contest whether equal access to education is an adequate measure ofgender equality in school, claiming that enrolment rates only give a partial account of genderinequalities (Unterhalter,2005; Subrahmanian,2005).Dunne et al. (2006:78) state, “International efforts to increase educational participation, especially of girls, in the poorer countries of the world and attempts to improve the quality of the school experience have tended to assume that the institution of the school is universally benign or at least ‘neutral’. However...the school is a social arena marked by asymmetrical power relations.”This statement highlights the need to consider gender issues internal to the process of education,thereby including gender when addressing the concept of ‘quality education’. Aikman et al.(2011:46) support this by claiming there is a need to examine “gender dynamics withinclassrooms”, and urge for an expanded vision of gender equality, whereby qualitative factors, aswell as quantitative, are considered. Robeyns (2006) and Barrett & Tikly (2011) apply thecapabilities approach to outline how to address gender inequalities in education in a morecomprehensive and meaningful way, demonstrating that framing education in terms ofcapabilities forces the acknowledgement of gender-specific challenges within the schoolenvironment, which consequently can impact on the ability of boys and girls to reach their fullpotential. Further to this, a relationship between gender, quality education and development isdemonstrated by Ainsworth et al. (1996), who show the relationship between female educationand lower fertility rates only occurred as a result of sustained education that was of goodquality.UNICEF (2005) argue the process of schooling must cater for physical, emotional andpsychological needs of both boys and girls, as well as academic needs, in order to be considered 8
  16. 16. ‘quality education’, using the example that girls require different sanitation facilities, especiallyduring menstruation. Aikman et al. (2005), Subrahmanian (2005) and Unterhalter (2005) arguefor gender-sensitivity throughout the education process, for example gender-sensitive teachingmethods, curricula, assessment modes and resources. Gender-sensitive pedagogy is a conceptwhich has been adopted by several international organisations, for example FAWEMA (2011)and UNICEF (2005), who both run gender-sensitive teacher training projects in numerousdeveloping countries.2.3 GIRLS’ EDUCATION IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAIt is widely documented that, despite successes of increased access, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)remains the most disadvantaged area in terms of educational success (Daun,2000;UNESCO,2000,2005; Akyeampong & Lewin,2009; EfA-FTI,2011; UNGEI,2012). Globally, thereare around 67 million children out of school (EfA-FTI,2011), and around a third of these childrenlive in SSA (Akyeampong & Lewin,2009). Further to this, of the total number of children out ofschool in SSA, over half are girls (Lewin,2009; EfA-FTI,2011).While there is an agreement that improving the quality of education by incorporating gender-sensitive approaches is a crucial component in improving the educational experience for girls inSSA, many additionally argue that this is only part of a broader equation. Aikman et al. (2011:45)argue addressing gender inequalities, “...demands an understanding of how gender inequalities are experienced, maintained and reinforced, not only in school and through schooling but in society where the economic, political and social context may deny rights to girls and boys differently and undermine their experience of education and the value it could have for their lives beyond school.”This view is reflected in a growing body of literature which presents the argument that, inaddition to addressing the aspects of quality and gender internal to education, external factorswithin the wider social context need to be considered in order to fully understand, andsubsequently begin to address, the gender inequalities and disparities that exist(Subrahmanian,2005; Unterhalter,2005; Dunne et al.,2006;Akyeampong & Lewin,2009; Barrett &Tikly,2011; Chisamya et al.,2011; McCowan,2011). This highlights the existence of both internaland external factors which influence girls’ participation in education.Subrahmanian (2005) outlines the complexity of gender inequalities, showing they arehistorically and culturally embedded within societies, stating, “The construction of gender inequality has rested on ‘naturalising’ a range of differences between women and men in order to legitimize their differential treatment and inequality of resource distribution...masked as ‘culture’, [gender] identities and ideologies become stubbornly defended as traditional and immutable”. (ibid:398)This view is supported by Unterhalter (2005), Aikman et al. (2011) and UNESCO (2003), all ofwhom agree that gender inequalities in education are part of a wider context, which reflectdeeply embedded social norms and gendered attitudes, roles and expectations.Several authors document a relationship between household income, gender and participation ineducation, evident within several nations in SSA, and conclude that girls from poor families are 9
  17. 17. the most disadvantaged (Daun,2000; UNESCO,2003; Lewin,2009; UNGEI,2012). This has led tothe conclusion of a strong relationship between poverty and girls’ engagement in education(UNESCO,2003; Aikman et al.,2011). Poverty has also been associated with further externalfactors that influence girls’ education, such as child labour, where poor families encourage theirchildren to work instead of going to school (UNESCO,2003), and early marriages, which areviewed as a way of securing daughters’ financial futures (Chisamya et al.,2011).Gendered attitudes and differential expectations of men and women are also documented asexternal factors which influence girls’ engagement in education. Drawing on research in Malawiand Bangladesh, Chisamya et al. (2011) demonstrate that gendered attitudes can have a directimpact on girls’ education, for example parental attitudes that educating boys is more valuablethan educating girls, as well as an indirect impact, for instance the expectation that girls shouldmarry young and then take responsibility of a home and family rather than going to school.Negative cultural practices are shown to have a detrimental impact on girls’ education. UNESCO(2003:124) state, “Many [cultural practices] are linked to the construction of sexuality of youngboys and girls, and in most cases result in restrictions being placed particularly on the freedomsof girls to enjoy their right to education”. This view is supported by Colclough et al. (2000) whofound girls in societies where initiation ceremonies occur often drop out of school following theirinitiation due to the induced misconception that they are now adults; a phenomenon thatUNICEF (2010) term ‘false adulthood’.A further factor which has been shown to influence gender inequalities within education isgender-based violence (GBV) (Subrahmanian,2005; Bisika et al.,2009; Aikman et al.,2011). Asstated by Bisika et al. (2009), there is a limited body of knowledge documenting the extent andimpact of GBV within developing countries, but it is a factor which is attracting increasinglymore focus. The topic of GBV has been comprehensively addressed in a recent publication by theUnited Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI,2012), which concludes GBV is a majorbarrier to achieving gender equality, both in education and within society. There are severalstudies which document the existence of GBV both within schools and within communities,suggesting violence against girls is both an external and internal influencing factor(Subrahmanian,2005; Bisika et al.,2009; Aikman et al.,2011; UNGEI,2012). With the acknowledgment that gender inequalities in education are a reflection of broaderinequalities within society, many authors argue that addressing gender inequality in educationcannot be done in isolation but that broader inequalities need also to be addressed, transforming“...power structures that maintain girls or boys in positions of marginality ordisadvantage”(Aikman et al.,2011:57). Highlighting this, Subrahmanian (2005:398) argues, “...gender ideologies are encrypted in institutions that govern daily life, and thus translate into deeper structural inequalities that are not likely to be removed unless there are clear efforts to rethink and rewrite the basic rules that underpin institutional thinking.”2.4 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONSIt is clear from the literature that there are potential development gains to be made fromeducating girls, especially in developing country contexts such as SSA. However, it is evidentthat a complex network of challenges currently exists, hindering the progress of achieving thenecessary targets relating to education and gender equality. A dominant theme in the literature 10
  18. 18. suggests ‘quality’ of education is a crucial component in achieving international educationtargets. Furthermore, it seems gender-sensitive approaches need to be incorporated into thevision of ‘quality education’ in order to meaningfully meet the target of gender equality ineducation. However, it is evident that establishing gender-sensitive school environments is notenough to fully address the challenges which relate to girls’ education as gender inequalitiesextend beyond the school environment and are embedded within societies. External factors, suchas poverty, attitudes, cultural practices and GBV, must additionally be considered to fullyimprove the educational experience of girls.This literature review provides a comprehensive contextual basis in which to situate thesubsequent research project. Firstly, it provides a theoretical justification of why girls’ educationis an important area of focus. Secondly, it presents methodological implications, highlighting theneed to focus beyond the education system by incorporating further stakeholders, such ascommunity members, with the aim of uncovering external socio-cultural influences. Finally, itprovides an explanation as to why it is important to conduct locality-specific research. Buildingon the acknowledgement that the social, cultural and historical context in which girls are locatedis crucial in understanding gender-specific challenges and inequalities, Aikman et al. (2011:57)argue there is a need for, “...a close examination of the complexities of gendered power in thelocal as well as regional and global settings”, suggesting a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach toaddressing gender inequality in education is insufficient and understanding individual socialcontexts is crucial. 11
  19. 19. 3.0 METHODOLOGY3.1 METHODSData was collected across three levels of the education system, national, district and local, usingqualitative approaches:  National policy was identified and evaluated  Semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants at national and district levels to investigate gender issues in a broader educational context  In-school FGDs were used to gain a local-level perspective of current issues regarding gender related policy and girls’ education in DedzaThe research design was created in collaboration with LCD Malawi, and the methods used werebased on previous successes of LCD projects. Primary data was collected over a six-week period,between 5th May and 15th June 2012, and the findings are based on the collective themes whichemerged throughout the study.3.2 SAMPLEA total of 18 national and district key stakeholders were interviewed. Participants were selectedbased on their involvement with gender issues and education: Fig.7: Interviews conducted at national and district levelA total of 9 schools were visited in Dedza (8 primary and 1 secondary). The schools were locatedin a number of different zones and were purposely selected on the basis of the distribution of thethree main ethnic groups in Dedza – the Chewa, Ngoni and Yao. It was ensured at least oneschool had a female head teacher and one UNICEF-sponsored school was selected. A secondary 12
  20. 20. school was included to gain an insight into post-primary challenges regarding gender andeducation. SCHOOL ZONE DOMINANT GENDER OF ETHNIC HEAD GROUP TEACHER Chilanga Primary Chilanga (TDC) Chewa / Yao Male Dedza Boma L.E.A. Dedza Boma Chewa Female (TDC) St. Joseph’s Bembeke Ngoni Male Demonstration School Dzenza Primary Mthandiza Chewa Male Chilamba Primary Kalinyeke Ngoni Male Linthipe Secondary Linthipe Chewa / Yao Male Chipudzi Primary Mankhamba Ngoni Male Kanyenda Primary Kanyenda (TDC) Yao Male Kapesi Primary Dedza Boma Chewa Female School (UNICEF- sponsored) Table.1: Sample of schoolsNumerous stakeholders participated in each school:  Head Teacher  Sample of teachers (mixed sex groups)  Sample of female pupils  Sample of male pupils  Representatives of school community groups (PTA, SMC and MG)  Sample of girls who have dropped out of schoolPupils were selected from Standard 5 and above as these classes have been identified as havinghigher dropout rates. A sample of village heads and religious leaders were also chosen toparticipate in order to explore external factors which influence girls’ education.3.3 INTERVIEWSA semi-structured design was used with questions organised around four central themes -knowledge and engagement with national/district policy, current interventions, current challenges, andpossible future action. This design allowed participants to speak freely about issues relatingdirectly to them in order to gather rich qualitative data. Interviews were adapted to suit thedifferent categories of participants. All interviews were conducted face-to-face and in English.3.4 FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSIONSEach participating group at school level formed separate FGDs in order to explore multipleperspectives, and also as a way to ensure data triangulation. Focus groups were planned to haveno more than six participants, however FGDs with school community groups and communitymembers (village heads, religious leaders and girls who have dropped out) varied in numbersfor they consisted of participants who attended on invitation. 13
  21. 21. All FGD participants were asked similar questions, adapted to meet the needs of the particulargroup. All questions focused on issues relating to national policy and girls’ educationspecifically. A translator was used in all FGDs so participants could articulate responses invernacular, with the exception of samples of teachers where FGDs were conducted in English.The translator varied between schools – an LCD staff member was used in some cases, andwhere this was not possible at school-level teachers fulfilled this role.3.5 ETHICSAll primary research was passed by the University of Edinburgh Social and Political SciencesEthics Review, and all research done with children was conducted in line with the LCD ChildProtection Policy. All participants were given the option to withdraw from the study at any timeand all participants named in this report have given consent.3.6 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY  The topic of the study is extremely broad and, although it meets the aim of providing an initial scoping of current issues, gathering sufficient data to understand each issue in depth was not possible due to the limited time available.  A limited number of schools were included (9 out of 217) due to the timescale of the project, making it difficult to make generalisations for Dedza as a whole. Additionally, 3 of the 9 participating schools were located at Teacher Development Centres, meaning they may have more input from PEAs, which may be misrepresentative of schools in general.  Several key informants were unavailable meaning that their perspectives are missing from the data. Additionally, a limited number of NGO representatives were interviewed due to time constraints.  All data at local-level was collected in schools, meaning it was difficult to fully understand community-based influences and it was not possible to talk to children who had never engaged with the education system.  The use of a translator in interviews and FGDs may have led to inaccuracies and misinterpretation of responses, especially where school teachers fulfilled this role. There were several occasions where the translator gave answers when FGD participants had not spoken – these occasions were noted in transcripts to avoid over-reliance on spurious data.  Many interviews and FGDs raised highly sensitive issues that participants were reluctant to talk about, making it difficult to understand in detail some of the key factors affecting girls’ education – this applied in particular to culturally-specific practices (e.g. initiation ceremonies and GBV).  A lack of detailed knowledge and experience of local social structures, language and culture may have led to the inadvertent misinterpretation of some of the issues raised. 14
  22. 22. 4.0 FINDINGS4.1 NATIONAL LEVEL FINDINGS4.1.1 Overview of Gender-Related Education PolicyWhilst there appears to be a number of national gender-related policies, they are disorganisedand inconsistent, making them incoherent and inaccessible to those who are expected toimplement them at district and local levels. The National FPO for Gender explained that “nopolicy in Malawi is black and white”, claiming policies take on many different forms, includingletters and memos which have been adopted as policies.It is clear that both gender and education are embedded “Girls’ education needs to be putwithin several national policies and there are numerous on the education agenda...it needsnational strategies which aim to achieve gender equality in to be made a priority in itself”education. However, despite wide acknowledgement that Fieldwork Interview: Representativegirls remain marginalised in education, there is yet to be a of UNICEF Malawiformal policy relating to girls’ education specifically.The following policies outline national targets that relate to gender and education. It is evidentthat policy recommendations align into two distinct strands:  Tangible Components – various practical and measurable factors, such as pupil seating plans, enrolment and selection, and infrastructure improvements  Conceptual components – more abstract elements, such as incorporating gender- sensitive teaching methods and addressing deeply entrenched attitudes based on gender stereotypesMalawi Growth and Development StrategyThe MGDS (GoM,2007) outlines the overarching strategy for national development with theultimate aim of poverty reduction. Gender and education are recognised to be two crucialcomponents in the process of development. The MGDS highlights the need to improve theinternal efficiency of the education system for both boys and girls, but makes no reference togirls’ education in isolation. Gender is presented as a cross-cutting issue and the existence oflarge gender disparities are acknowledged, where women remain marginalised both socially andeconomically. The MDGS outlines an overall target of ‘mainstreaming’ gender to enhance equalopportunities for both sexes, through building the capacity of relevant institutions, strengtheningpolicy coordination and implementation and breaking down the cultural beliefs whichperpetuate gender inequalities, as well as using education as a key tool for empowering women.National Gender PolicyThe NGP is currently undergoing a review following the expiry of the pre-existing policy whichran from 1999 to 2005, meaning there is currently no policy in operation which relatesspecifically to gender. The revised policy currently exists in draft form and is not yet widelyaccessible but is due for national release within the next 6 months according to participants. Therevised NGP reiterates the notion that gender is a cross-cutting issue and reflects the national 15
  23. 23. target of mainstreaming gender, acknowledging that women and girls currently remainmarginalised. Education is presented as a crucial tool for achieving gender equality andnumerous targets to improve the internal efficiency of the education system are outlined,particularly targeting girls, promoting girl-friendly learning environments, gender-sensitiveteacher training and curriculum reviews, and extensive community involvement to reduceentrenched cultural attitudes which naturally marginalise girls in education.National Education Sector PlanThe NESP (MoEST,2008) reflects the aims and targets outlined in the MGDS and the draft NGP.The NESP incorporates primary, secondary and tertiary education, as well as early childhoodeducation, adult literacy and out-of-school children. All targets and proposed interventions areorganised around three priority areas - Access and Equity, Quality and Relevance, and Governanceand Management – and gender is incorporated under each. In terms of girls’ education, the NESPoutlines targets to increase female enrolment and completion, particularly in senior classes(standards 5-8), through eliminating gender-biases and making the school environment ‘girl-friendly’. The NESP additionally advocates for the introduction of Mother Groups, schoolfeeding programmes and monetary incentives for the needy. There is a clear focus on improvinggirls’ access to secondary education through a target of 50-50 selection and the aim ofintroducing additional boarding hostels for girls.Readmission PolicyThe Readmission Policy was introduced in 1996 as a direct response to the high levels of femaledropout due to pregnancy. The policy aims to allow girls to return to school after having a baby,stating, “...a girl who is pregnant be withdrawn from school for one academic year and be re-admitted upon application as long as there is assurance of safe custody of the child. Such an opportunity shall be given once in a girl’s education” (appendix.1: p.41)The policy has since been reviewed upon reflection of implementation difficulties and additionalguidelines are now available, which clearly outline the necessary procedure for the withdrawaland readmission of girls who become pregnant (appendix.2: p.42).4.2 DISTRICT LEVEL FINDINGS4.2.1 Knowledge of Gender-Related PolicyThe disorganisation that exists at national level regarding gender-related policy appears to bereflected within the DEO. Due to the ambiguous nature of national policy documentation, it isunsurprising that policy documents are not readily available at district level; throughout thecourse of this study, no policies were available to view within the DEO or at the Ministry ofGender, Child and Community Development Dedza office. The overarching District EducationPlan (DDC,2010) acknowledges aspects of national policy but only briefly acknowledges theconcept of gender, instead focusing predominantly on improving school infrastructure. 16
  24. 24. The Readmission Policy is recognised as the only formal gender-related policy. However, there isevidence to suggest that further policy components have filtered down from national to districtlevel but this information is not recognised by district-level stakeholders as policy. Based on theresponses of participants within the DEO, understandings of national gender-related policiesseem to have been broadly translated as the equal treatment of boys and girls, whereby the moretangible aspects of such policy are predominantly acknowledged at district-level:  50-50 enrolment at primary-level  50-50 selection at secondary-level  Equal opportunities to complete all school subjects  Equal and separate sanitary facilities  Equal designation of school duties  Mixed sex seating plans  Equal distribution of female teachersHowever, the more conceptual components of gender-related policy, such as gender-sensitivepedagogy and addressing gendered attitudes and stereotypes, appear to have received littleacknowledgement.4.2.2 Dissemination of Gender Related PolicyThere are multiple district-level stakeholders responsible for operationalising national educationstrategies, including disseminating and supervising the implementation of gender-related policy: National Level District Education Manager (male) Coordinating Primary District Focal Point Officer for DEMIS Officer Advisor Gender, Disability, (female) (male) HIV/AIDS, School Health and NutritionAssistant DEMIS Assistant Coordinating (male) Officer Primary Advisor (also PEA (male) for Bembeke zone) (female) Assistant District Focal Point Officer for Gender, Disability, Primary Education HIV/AIDS, School Health and Advisors (1 PEA for Nutrition (female) each zone) (6 female, 13 male) School Level School Staff Mother Group FTN Fig.8: District education structures for gender issues 17
  25. 25. The PEAs and the District FPO for Gender are the main stakeholders responsible fordisseminating policy-related information, and the flow of information between district andschool levels relies on these members of staff making direct visits to each individual school.However, there appears to be a number of challenges regarding the dissemination of gender-related policies:  There is no clear framework of information for district officials to provide to appropriate school level stakeholders, which appears to be a direct result of the disorganised nature of national policy.  There is no reliable procedure for the dissemination of policy information – the PEAs and District FPO for Gender outlined sporadic training sessions and open days with school- level stakeholders, stating the frequency of such events was restricted due to time and transport constraints, thereby highlighting the level of contact between the DEO and separate schools is varied.4.2.3 Information and Monitoring of Gender IssuesThere are 2 main systems for school level data collection:  The EMIS is a national level system, where comprehensive data relating to pupil participation, school infrastructure and school staff is collected on an annual basis via a questionnaire booklet (appendix.3: p.45).  The DEMIS is a district level system, where similar data is collected on a monthly basis via a ‘monthly return’ form, completed manually by school level staff and returned to the DEO via PEAs (appendix.4: p.61) - the DEMIS is a USAID initiative and is currently in the third year of piloting in targeted districts, of which Dedza is one, with plans to roll it out nationally over the next 6 months according to participants.All data in both the EMIS and DEMIS is disaggregated by gender where possible, in order toidentify priority intervention areas based on gender.The DEMIS requires schools to document enrolment, attendance and exam results by genderand by standard, as well as information relating to teachers, school infrastructure and schoolexpenditure. This information is used at district level only and aims to inform districteducation officials where disparities exist, for example where numbers of female teachers arelow, in order to inform future interventions and support strategies. However, the DEMISAssistant Officer explained a number of challenges relating to data collection:  There are difficulties in getting the DEMIS forms returned each month as it relies on school staff or PEAs going directly between the schools and the DEO; for this reason, data is often late.  Data is often inaccurate which subsequently affects the overall effectiveness of the DEMIS system.  School-level staff have received limited training on how to complete EMIS and DEMIS data forms, whereby only Head Teachers have been trained - it has been proposed that district officials go to each school and support data collection but this option is limited by time and transport constraints. 18
  26. 26. Additionally, in reference to documenting dropout figures, it appears there are problems withthe way in which this information is collected. In all participating primary schools, HeadTeachers were unable to provide dropout figures for the current year as this information isrecorded annually at the end of each academic school session as part of the EMIS data. Thissuggests there is limited monitoring of dropouts throughout the school year. The examplebelow shows an EMIS data return from a Dedza school in 2011, which documents highnumbers of dropouts but reasons for dropout are unknown. This, again, has a significantimpact on the effectiveness of the data systems, by simply mapping the quantitativemagnitude of dropouts and overlooking the qualitative reasons behind the figures. Fig.9: Example of an EMIS data return for dropout from a Dedza school4.3 LOCAL LEVEL FINDINGS4.3.1 Knowledge and Implementation of Gender-Related PolicyAspects of national gender-related policy have filtered down to school-level but, similarly todistrict-level, this information is not formally recognised as national policy. Knowledge of policyat school-level appears to be limited solely to the more tangible components, and the notion ofequal treatment of boys and girls is again the main translation of national targets. School-level staffin all 8 participating primary schools highlighted the same four gender-related strategies, whichare additionally reflected in SIPs:  Mixed sex seating plans  Mixed sex group work  Equal questioning during lessons  Equal distribution of school and extra-curricular activities, responsibilities and choresHowever, despite there being awareness of these components of gender-related policy, thereappears to be challenges regarding implementation:  During lesson observations in all participating schools, it was apparent that mixed sex seating plans were not in place despite teachers outlining this as a requirement. 19
  27. 27.  School chores appeared to be gender-specific in several schools – for example, in Chilanga primary school, girls could be seen fetching water to clean classrooms, while many boys were using farming tools to weed and dig in the garden.  Despite there appearing to be equal access to all extra-curricular activities, it was apparent in several schools that gender-specific extra-curricular clubs existed which appear to reinforce gender-stereotypes, for example girl guides clubs teach girls how to cook and sew and boy scouts clubs teach outdoor activities including football.Similarly to district-level, the Readmission Policy was recognised in all participating schools andmost school-level participants were aware of the policy content, including the female pupilsthemselves. However, it appears the Readmission Policy is inadequate in fully addressing theproblems which exist in practice; only 2 out of the 8 primary schools reported having had 1 or 2girls return to school after having a baby despite citing pregnancy as one of the most commonreasons why girls dropout. Participants outlined that often girls are unable to return to schoolbecause they receive no support in looking after their child and sometimes girls choose not toreturn to school for fear of embarrassment or isolation due to the negative stigma attached toyoung mothers.4.3.2 School Level Structures for Supporting Girls’ EducationGirls’ education was recognised as an area of concern in all 8 participating primary schools, andgender issues feature on the agenda of a number of school-level structures, including schoolstaff, PTAs and SMCs, as well as MGs and FTNs which have been established with the solepurpose of supporting girls’ education.However, there appears to be no exclusive provision which aims to support girls’ education inpractice. The majority of school-level strategies include boys and girls together due to theoverarching interpreted aim of providing equal treatment to both sexes, thereby restrictingschool-level support for girls. Additionally, MGs and FTNs appear to be facing a number ofchallenges which are further restricting their ability to support girls in education.4.3.2.1 School StaffAll participating schools claimed to have a female member of staff responsible for supportinggirls through any problems they faced. However, this was rarely cited by girls themselves whostated they usually talk to their class teacher, Head Teacher or simply confide in friends.4.3.2.2 PTAs and SMCsThe PTA and SMC groups in all 8 participating primary schools outlined that they consider boysand girls together, rather than separately, when discussing ways to improve the educationalexperience for children. Both groups acknowledged several gender-specific factors whichinfluence girls’ participation in education at community-level, such as early pregnancy and earlymarriage, but appeared to have limited strategies in place to limit the impact of such factors. Theactivity of the PTA and SMC varied between schools but the common focus of their work waspredominantly on improving school infrastructure, although some groups alluded to working toreinforce the notion of equal treatment for boys and girls with teachers and members of the localcommunity. 20
  28. 28. 4.3.2.3 Mother Groups Mother Group at Chipudzi Primary SchoolThe MGs in all participating schools appear to possess the most comprehensive awareness ofissues affecting girls’ participation in education. In reference to girls’ education specifically, MGsexpressed a desire to improve school infrastructure in a way that would create a girl-friendlyenvironment, for example improving female sanitary provisions. All MGs outlined a number ofstrategies in place to support girls in school, but highlighted that they now offer their services toboth girls and boys to ensure equal treatment:  Guidance and counselling sessions  Community awareness campaigns on the importance of education  Generating and providing financial support to needy pupilsHowever, it became apparent that MGs face various challenges which affect the implementationof such strategies; this was reflected in the variation in implementation and intensity of MG-ledinterventions between individual schools (see Box.2).BOX.2: MOTHER GROUP ACTIVITYCHIPUDZI MOTHER GROUP DZENZA MOTHER GROUPThe Mother Group at Chipudzi Primary School meet The Mother Group at Dzenza Primary School meetevery Tuesday and provide a wide range of services once a month to talk about issues affecting both boyswithin the school and the community. In meetings and girls in the school. They provide guidance andthey explore factors which deter girls and boys from counselling to girls and advise them on how to dressschool and devise possible strategies to overcome appropriately, especially during their monthlysuch factors. In school, they meet with pupils to periods, and discourage sexual relationships. Theydiscuss the importance of education and offer currently focus their effort within the school andguidance and counselling on various aspects, such as have limited input within the community.expected behaviour, appropriate dressing, hygieneand sanitation, HIV/AIDS and child rights. In the The Mother Group at Dzenza is no less enthusiastic.community, they identify girls and boys who have They expressed their desire to help pupils, especiallydropped out of school and work with them and their girls, within the school but said they lacked thefamilies to encourage them to return to education; so necessary resources to provide the help that isfar 7 children have returned to school as a direct required, for example providing uniforms, learningresult of this. The MG additionally encourages materials, food and soap.parents to become more involved in their child’sschooling by looking through exercise books and “We are so poor...we have nothing toasking about school each day. provide to girls, we can only give instruction and this is not enough”Additionally, they manage an income-generatingbusiness on the school site, whereby they have Fieldwork FGD: translation of Dzenzaplanted cotton plants which they plan to sell in order MG member’s responseto assist needy children with educational needs. 21
  29. 29. 4.3.2.4 Female Teacher NetworksFTNs have been introduced with the aim of supporting girls’ education and providing a supportnetwork for the female teachers who work within the district. However, there appears to be anumber of challenges relating to the activity of the FTNs:  There are difficulties in arranging FTN meetings due to time and transport constraints – usually meetings are held in TDCs which can mean teachers are expected to travel long distances.  There is a lack of ideas on how to support girls in education – the chairperson of the Bembeke FTN explained several previous interventions had failed and they have run out of ideas, and motivation, to progress forward.  There are difficulties starting up new interventions due to a lack of resources – even where interventions aim to generate income, challenges exist in the initial start-up phase.4.3.3 Monitoring Female DropoutMonitoring dropout during each school year is difficult due to the way in which dropout figuresare documented. Despite being unable to state how many children had dropped out during thecurrent year, the Head Teachers in all 8 participating primary schools claimed to have aprocedure in place to follow up dropout cases, whereby if a child is persistently absent thefamily would be contacted to discuss the child’s academic future. If this was unsuccessful, theMG would be asked to intervene. However, there appear to be several problems regarding thissystem:  Many registers in the participating schools are incomplete so identifying a child who has been absent presents difficulties.  In half of the schools there were discrepancies between the official enrolment rates and the actual numbers of children in each standard, again making absenteeism and dropout difficult to identify.  No Head Teacher was able to state how many times this procedure had needed to be implemented within the current academic year.  No Head Teacher was able to state how many children had dropped out and later returned as a result of this procedure.4.3.4 Gender-Specific Barriers to Girls’ EducationThis study highlighted a number of gender-specific barriers affecting girls’ participation ineducation. The problems cited appear to align with the current academic debates presented inthe literature review, and can be categorised into internal and external factors. It is evident thatmany of the following challenges are interlinked and interrelated but for the purpose ofpresenting research findings each factor will be presented individually.4.3.4.1 Internal FactorsThere are a number of factors internal to the school environment, which appear to be pushinggirls out of education: 22
  30. 30. 4.3.4.1.1 Lack of Girl-Friendly Facilities A lack of girl-friendly facilities is believed to affect girls’ motivation to participate in school, causing absenteeism and disengagement, which is believed to be a contributing factor to eventual dropout. During menstruation girls have additional needs and current facilities appear to be inadequate to meet these needs, presenting several unique challenges for girls. Over half of the participating schools had a lack of classroom furniture, which means children are forced to A classroom lacking necessary infrastructure at Dzenza Primary School sit on the floor. Children are expected to stand when answering questions andgirls, who usually wear ‘Chitenjes’ (a wrap of cloth), have to arrange them eachtime they stand to avoid embarrassment, especially as some children areunable to afford underwear. This challenge is heightened for girls duringmenstruation because girls fear leakages which may show on their clotheswhen they stand.Additionally, in all participating schools, the toilet facilities for girls were amajor area of concern. All schools had separate female facilities but they areconsidered to be inadequate for the needs of girls, particularly duringmenstruation. None of the schools had washing facilities, which can presentproblems for a girl experiencing her period. Sanitary towels are rarelyavailable to girls in Malawi so pieces of cloth are most commonly used asalternative protection. A PTA Member at Chiramba Primary School said,“There are no pads available...girls think it is better to go home and find water towash” (fieldwork FGD), causing absenteeism for up to a week each month The ‘Chitenje’among female students. Examples of toilet facilities from participating schools 23
  31. 31. 4.3.4.1.2 In-School HarassmentIn 5 out of the 8 participating schools, girls reported that they had experienced various forms ofharassment at school, which subsequently creates a non-conducive learning environment forgirls making them feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. Girls reported having received verbal andphysical forms of harassment from male students, in the form of inappropriate touching of theirbreasts and buttocks and verbal teasing related to sexual issues.In all schools where such reports were made, Head Teachers denied the existence of suchbehaviours and there appeared to be no structures in place to try to eliminate these behavioursor to support girls through such issues.4.3.4.1.3 Academic Achievement and Post-Primary ProspectsSchool-level staff in all participating primary schools said boys consistently out-perform thegirls, although teachers believe the gap is closing. Participants raised concerns that low academicachievement can be a cause of dropout because it lowers a girl’s self-esteem, as well as reducingthe chances of successfully progressing on to secondary education which is believed to lower themotivation to complete primary school.Throughout this study, 9 girls who have dropped out of school were interviewed and 4 of themsaid they had done so because they were unable to read and write. Christina, 16, who was inStandard 4 when she chose to leave Chipudzi Primary School in 2011, said the fact she did not doas well as her friends made her feel embarrassed and she did not like coming to school.Further to this, although limited numbers of girls pass the PSLCE, it appears that of those that dothe chances of being selected to secondary education are also limited. There are significantly lesssecondary schools in Dedza compared to primary schools, which means places are restricted.Last year at Chilanga Primary School, although few girls passed the PSLCE, no girls wereselected to secondary school. This is also true for boys, where just 1 boy out of 26 successfulcandidates was selected. In 5 schools, concerns were raised over the numbers of girls, and boys,who had been successful throughout primary school but were then not selected for secondaryschool; this is believed to have a negative impact on younger children by lowering theirmotivation to complete primary school knowing they too may fail to be selected despite workinghard. Fig.10: PSCLE results and pupils selected for secondary education at Chilanga Primary School, 2011 24
  32. 32. 4.3.4.1.4 Female Role Models A lack of female role models was cited as a major barrier to girls’ participation in education in 5 out of the 8 participating primary schools. Female teachers currently only make up 38% of the total primary-level teaching force, and increasing the numbers of female teachers is believed to be a strategy to raise the numbers of female role models in schools. However, participants in 4 schools shared the view that, although it is important to have female teachers in schools, this is not an adequate strategy to fully address the limited role models available to girls (see Box.3). Fig.11: Proportion of male and female teachers in Dedza (data from GoM,2011)BOX.3: ROLE MODELS IN ST JOSEPH’S DEMONSTRATION PRIMARY SCHOOL “Female teachers are not really role models because we are too familiar” Fieldwork FGD: female teacher, St. Joseph’s Primary School St. Joseph’s Demonstration Primary School in Bembeke has 13 female teachers and just 4 male teachers. However, teachers still cited a lack of female role models as a major barrier to girls’ participation in education. In an FGD, a male and female teacher discussed their concern over the lack of role models for girls, saying that the teachers themselves were not enough to act as role models because the children are too used to them. The male teacher explained that during a previous research project run in the school in 2009, girls were asked who their role models were to which they replied, “We have only teachers”. Both teachers said there is a need for successful female professionals, such as female MPs, police women, bankers, mechanics and drivers, to come into the school and work with girls to break down gender stereotypes and inspire girls to achieve through education.4.3.4.2 External FactorsIn addition to internal factors, there appear to be numerous external socio-cultural factorsexisting within Dedza which appear to be pulling girls out of education, all of which emulatecurrent findings within associated literature:4.3.4.2.1 PovertyPoverty was consistently cited as a major barrier to education, particularly the education of girls,by all study participants. Many of the challenges that exist external to the school environment atcommunity-level can be seen to stem from the overarching barrier of poverty:  Hunger - In 6 schools, children reported feeling hungry at school and said they usually only eat one meal per day each evening, which subsequently affects their performance and attendance due to tiredness – hunger was said to be a bigger problem between 25
  33. 33. December and February when food is scarce. All schools where hunger was reported were not part of a school feeding programme.  Lack of resources - In 7 schools, the lack of resources and necessary learning materials was said to affect girls’ participation in school – many parents said they were unable to afford uniforms and exercise books, but also cited the inability to provide necessary basics, such as soap, which is believed to have a greater impact on girls, especially during menstruation.  Child Labour – 5 of the participating schools are located near to a trading centre and all of these schools cited child labour as a factor that severely disrupts children’s engagement in education. School staff explained that many children are often absent on market days, which can be up to twice a week, meaning they can drop behind in their studies which often eventually leads to dropout due to low achievement. It was also highlighted that girls are sometimes encouraged to take on paid domestic work in order to contribute to a family’s income.4.3.4.2.2 Parental Attitudes towards Education Parental attitudes were cited as a barrier to girls’ “Uneducated people do not make the participation in education by stakeholders at connection between education and success national, district and local levels, including MoE and just believe educated successful people staff, DEO staff, NGO representatives, teachers are born that way” and school community groups, where participants stated that many parents do not Fieldwork Interview: Representative Of Concern Universal, Dedza value education and therefore do little to encourage their children to attend school. It isbelieved that these views are accentuated by the high levels of adult illiteracy within Dedza,currently at 52% (DDC,2010).Additionally, it is believed, where the importance of education is acknowledged, cultural beliefsdictate that educating a boy is of more value than educating a girl, meaning many familiesprioritise the education of a son over educating a daughter.4.3.4.2.3 Gender Roles and ExpectationsIt appears that expectations put on girls are often incompatible withschool, and subsequently disrupt girls’ participation in education:  Household Responsibilities - Girls are expected to complete various tasks within the home, such as cooking, cleaning, fetching water and looking after younger siblings, which consequently impacts on education by causing absenteeism and lateness, as well as interfering with out-of-school time to spend on studies. During FGDs at school-level, boys and girls claimed to be given similar household tasks, but 8 out of the 9 girls who have dropped out said they now spend their time fulfilling household chores and duties.  Child-Headed Households – Concerns were raised in 5 schools regarding orphaned children because, most commonly, girls are Girls seen fetching water during school hours 26
  34. 34. expected to take on the responsibility of looking after the home and family if one or both parents are lost. There are currently 2233 girls in schools in Dedza who have lost both their parents (GoM,2012), which is encouraging, but the number out of school is unknown.  Early and Forced Marriages - There is an expectation that once girls have reached puberty they should marry and are then expected to take on the role of being responsible for the home and bringing up children, thereby leaving school. Girls in 5 schools reported knowing girls who had married and had subsequently left school. Girls in several schools claimed marriage is often forced by parents because it is believed to secure a daughter’s financial future. Additionally, members of several MGs said it was sometimes seen as shameful for a girl to become pregnant out of marriage so, to ensure this does not happen, parents encourage their daughters to marry young.4.3.4.2.4 Gender-Based ViolenceGirls in 6 of the participating primary schools mentioned child abuse as a challenge which theyface within their communities, with girls saying rape is a common occurrence. Both boys andgirls in 5 schools said they know of girls who have been raped and as a result have stoppedcoming to school. During a FGD, one girl at Kapesi Primary School said she is scared to go outalone in her village because she knows that rape sometimes occurs. It is a particularly worryingissue where girls are travelling long distances to and from school unsupervised.GBV is an issue which is acknowledged nationallywithin Malawi, featuring as an area of concern in “Girls say that some adults entice themthe MGDS (GoM,2007), yet there appears to be no with money and then rape them...alsoprocedures in place to overcome it, especially for because we are in a trading centre manychildren. The National FPO for Gender stated, people pass through and take advantage“there is a culture of silence about [GBV]...no one of the girls”talks about it. It is not seen as abuse, it is seen as Fieldwork FGD: Translation of male‘negative culture’. We have to catch it but we cannot pupil’s response, Chiphuzi Primary Schoolcatch it through the silence” (fieldwork interview),and highlighted that there are limited procedures in place for reporting cases of violence andlimited support services available for victims. During FGDs, pupils said girls are often too scaredto report abuse and are even sometimes threatened by abusers.4.3.4.2.5 Adverse Cultural PracticesStakeholders from national, district and local levels raised concerns over the detrimental impactcultural practices have on education, particularly that of girls. The three main ethnic groups in Dedza (Chewa, Ngoni and Yao) each have differing “Initiation training is more relevant to cultural traditions and practices, including initiation a girl than academic schooling as it fits ceremonies for young boys and girls. Initiations differ with the roles and responsibilities she between the three groups but it is believed that all has been expected to fulfil throughout contain a ‘training’ element, whereby young boys her life” and girls are given guidance and counselling about Fieldwork Interview: DCDO, Ministry of Gender, their maturing needs and are trained for the roles of Child and Community Development, Dedza being a man or woman in society. 27
  35. 35. Throughout this study, it was difficult to ascertain clear information on the various culturalpractices that occur. Based on the responses of various study participants, there are concerns thatelements of initiation training can adjust girls’ thinking towards education, whereby girls aretold they become an adult after initiation and begin to believe getting married and havingchildren is a greater priority than attending school.There are particular concerns regarding the Yao initiation as it is believed to contain varioussexually orientated components. According to study participants, girls are taught how toperform sexually and are encouraged to practice sex with men in the community, which hasimplications on the further issues of sexual abuse and unwanted pregnancies. Referring to theYao, the National FPO for Gender raised concerns over the sexualised elements of culturalpractices, stating “they call it ‘traditional cleansing’ but actually it is rape. Ironically, what is called‘cleansing’ is actually making them more unclean” (fieldwork interview). Further to this,participants voiced worries that such elements consolidate the cultural notion that women holdan inferior position in society, thereby perpetuating deeply embedded gender inequalities.4.3.4 NGO InterventionsThe gender-specific barriers affecting girls in Dedza have been acknowledged by a number ofNGOs, and this study highlights some of the ongoing interventions being implemented with theaim of improving girls’ education (appendix.5: p.63). Although the study was only able toincorporate a small number of NGOs, several challenges are evident relating to the interpretationof national policy and ongoing local-level interventions:  Interpretation of national policy – Although most NGOs appear to work in line with national policy, as with district and school levels, the disorganised nature of government gender-related policy also appears to be reflected within the NGO community. The incoherence of national policy, and thus national targets and aims, mean NGOs have had to interpret national goals in their own way. Additionally, many of the NGO representatives interviewed demonstrated that the concept of gender equality had been translated into the equal treatment of girls and boys.  Interventions - Despite there being collaboration between NGOs and the DEO at district-level and the MoE at national-level, it seems there is limited collaboration between the different NGOs themselves. For this reason, many NGO interventions appear to be similar in nature, as well as overlapping in practice. A representative from UNICEF Malawi raised concerns over the lack of coordination and collaboration between various NGOs operating within Malawi as a whole, and shared her desire for a more holistic and collaborative approach to tackling the challenges being faced in terms of girls’ education. 28

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