By Daniel Amanyire – Ministry of Education and Sports — Gender Unit
“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building
good governance”, Kofi Annan.
Taking direction from the same school of thought the paradox then is how we transition into actualizing bigger impact of gender equality in attaining the best desired out comes for the case of education. It is evident enough to note that indeed gender equality is a precondition for quality education and as such – Take away gender equality and throw great doubt on achieving quality education.
Uganda has made significant progress in promoting gender equality. Policies improving access have led to a drastic increase in enrollment for both girls and boys, and more girls than ever are completing school at all levels.
Policies like Gender in Education Policy and National Strategy for Girls’ Education clearly highlight the importance of gender equality – seeking to ensure that all learners have equal opportunities to learn. Teacher Training and Quality Assurance, the provision of a Safe Pupil Learning Environment, Community Involvement, Strengthening Systems of School Governance and Accountability all these are steps building up to quality education yet directly or indirectly speak to gender equality.
By the simplest of all standards, what could be the measure of quality education?
“There are some who argue that the threshold of quality education is met by focusing only on literacy and numeracy, but the SDGs are recognition that this definition is insufficient and outdated. Education is not simply a content delivery system; rather, it is a system designed to help children reach their full potential and enter society as full and productive citizens”.
These were the great thoughts of former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as he set the SDG process in motion 2012 by declaring that every child must be in school, and the quality of schools must improve so that students are prepared to be productive citizens, ready to lead the future. I will differ not from the above narrative as emphasis is made to the fact that quality education should give life purpose.
Therefore, gender equality provides an opportunity to measure the impact of quality education without merely basing our conclusions on abstract statistical figures which dehumanize marginalization and glaring unfairness, but rather taking keen interest in knowing which category of persons are tangibly benefiting from education through entire cycle. As we strive to attain quality education, our advocacy is to lobby for resources and direct policy to ensure that each child enters school healthy and adopts life skills, learns in an environment that is physically safe for all learners regardless of their social economic background/ physical and psychological abilities and such fairness is the true sense of gender equality feeding into quality education.
Five years into the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development, the world over is in high spirit to see the light of the transformative agenda. Cognize the linkages between SDG 4 and SDG 5, to fully realize the former there must be at most attention given to the later and yes this should galvanize actors across the board and help forge promising partnerships to continuously step up the engagement agenda to leave no one behind.