Perspectives

CTF International program supports girl friendly schools

By Barbara MacDonald Moore
February 8, 2012

CTF support for “Teachers’ Action for Girls” (TAG), developed by teacher leaders in Uganda, is recognized as an excellent model for making a difference in education for girls, especially throughout remote and unstable northern areas of the country. Photo was taken by Beverley Park, of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association who has led Canadian teacher engagement in the program.

So many people talk about it…
So many people advocate for it…
So many people donate to charity for it…
Teachers do it…

Most of us agree that greater education opportunities for girls are important for equitable social development. As you read this, people in many walks of life in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean are talking about, reading about, and advocating for equal opportunities for girls.

Across the marginalized areas of the world, we can recognize a variety of cultural, social and economic factors that impede both enrolment and completion rates for girls in schools.
When you visit schools in remote areas, you may feel far from the discourse, but you are on the frontline of the action. All Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) international cooperation takes place with teachers at the forefront of improving the delivery of quality, public education.

TAG: Teachers’ Action for Girls

CTF supports professional and welfare services of teachers in developing countries. We help teachers identify barriers to a safe and equitable school environment, foster understanding and action within school communities and create inclusive and girl-friendly schools.
Many schools in marginalized areas do not meet the following check-list:

  • A safe route to school, without fear of rape or other forms of violence
  • A safe route to school, without dangerous waterways or other obstructions
  • An environment free from abuse and harassment of girls by students or staff
  • Adequate latrines and “hygiene stations” for girls and boys
  • Equal opportunities for quality learning for girls and boys
  • Counselling to meet the needs of girl students
  • Outreach to parents on the value of girls education
  • Teacher in-servicing for non-sexist pedagogy
  • School activities and clubs that support opportunities for girls
  • Understanding of the impact of socio-cultural norms and traditions on equality
  • Adequate numbers of trained teachers
  • Adequate school facilities, texts and supplies

In some areas, teachers have no pre-service preparation. In many, in-service is only available through teacher organization initiatives. Most teachers are eager to adopt practical, child-centered practices and create relevant learning resources from local materials. This is a special challenge in multi-grade classes that often exceed 60 students.

“Adequate facilities ”may need to start with safe structures, fresh air and light, enough benches to sit on, some text books and materials to share, a repainted blackboard and perhaps a fence to define the school yard for children’s safety.
Change begins when present realities are seen as the starting point for something better.

You can support teachers’ action for girl-friendly schools within CTF programs. Interest is spreading across Africa and elsewhere as partners review their context and add items relative to their schools. CTF is eager to increase the action through training, coaching and support.

While TAG is not a game there are many ways for Canadian teachers to pick up the ball and help counterparts in Africa and other parts of the world reach goals by ensuring a welcoming environment for girls.
Are you a teacher? TAG, you’re it!

Barbara MacDonald Moore is the Director of the International Programs of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation.

Publication:
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Perspectives web magazine is published by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), a national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations that represent over 238,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada.

Editor In Chief: Francine Filion | Translation and Editing: Marie‑Caroline Uhel and Marie‑Hélène Larrue
Proofreading: Denise Léger
Graphic Design: Nathalie Hardy and Jean-Louis Lauriol | Web Design: Greg Edwards

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