The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) has stated that at least close to 90 million youths on the African continent are out of school, of which 800, 000 are from Zambia.
Genera Education Minister Dennis Wanchinga said at the on-going Conference on Girls Education in Africa at Lusaka’s Intercontinental Hotel that Africa as whole and Zambia in particular has been lagging in the attainment of Universal Education for all due to poor school infrastructure, poor teacher quality, poor home environment as well as the huge number of pupils in most public schools.
He hoped that the on-going FAWE conference would address the major challenges that keep hindering the Girl- Child from attaining quality education such as gender inequality rooted in the African tradition that females are inferiorio to men.
“Zambia has a cultural background of the Girl-Child being subjected to doing household chores such as washing clothes and plates, doing dishes, sweeping and cooking while the boy child has time to go out to play and also to study, ” says Dr Wanchinga.
Bridget Skinna, United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Education (UNESCO) Representative to Zambia says she strongly believes in the transformation and advocacy of quality education for the Girl Child.
She said:”The need for advocacy and transformation of Girl-Child education cannot be overemphasized and as such, there is need for the African continent to put in place measures and guidelines on how to attain quality education for the Girl-Child on the continent such as the conference convened here today by FAWE.”
She, however, noted that the dream of attaining quality education and gender equality for the Girl-Child still remains a pipe dream and if not addressed, the dependence gap of women on men in Africa will keep broadening and will in turn cast a dark shadow on Africa’s development.
Speaking earlier, FAWE Chairperson, Professor Christine Dranzoa, said she was proud to announce that so far 20 national governments have enacted the School Re-entry policies for teenage mothers and also helped open up opportunities and resources for girls education; transformed classroom practices and environment to be more responsive to female learners.
She also said some other milestones that FAWE has so far scored include bringing about change of perceptions, attitudes toward female learners and teachers.
Zambia’s First Lady, Esther Lungu, stated that the fight for gender equality should not be left to FAWE a lone but all well-meaning Africans should participate so that the huge 67 percent gender parity in Africa can be achieved.
“Time has come for us to strengthen our mechanisms of ensuring that we beat our goal of Education for All by the year 2030 as stipulated in Second Development Goal (SDG) 4.
She also urged FAWE not to relent in their fight for gender equity and equality for the the girl child irrespective of the challenges faced.
The two-day Conference is being attended by delegates from 33 countries who, among them are 500 education stake holders, education planners, community based organizations and 12 educational ministers representing 12 countries, UN agencies, traditional leaders and private organizations, among others.