Call for Abstracts: Conference on Girls' Education in Africa

1. Introduction

Africa has embarked on an ambitious development journey driven by Agenda 2063; a strategic framework that brings an African development perspective to the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 and guides the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. The global resolution has positioned education as the key to achieving most of the SDG goals. Africa, seizing the opportunity presented by SDG number 4; “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,” is renewing its commitment to transforming education to ensure girls and boys; women and men participate and benefit equally from increased education opportunities and resources. In 2016, African Union Heads of States and governments adopted the CESA 16-25 as a document that will guide education development in Africa and a means to achieve SDG 4. Underpinned by the vision of the African Union: Reorienting Africa’s education and training systems to meet the knowledge, competencies, skills, innovation and creativity required to nurture African core values and promote sustainable development at the national, subregional and continental levels, the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) has joined ongoing conversations on the need for Africa’s education and training systems to fully shed off the encumbrance of its colonial legacy and embrace an education that will enable them “create” a new African citizen who will be an effective change agent for the continent’s sustainable development (CESA 16-25, 2015).

As a follow up to the 2017 Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) education and training Triennale held in March in Senegal, FAWE is hosting the Conference on Girls’ Education in Africa under the theme: “Towards Gender Equality in Education: Positioning youth to Champion Africa’s Education Agenda.” The Conference on Girls’ Education in Africa will be held in Lusaka, Zambia from 23rd to 24th August 2017. It is expected to be a continuation of the conversations on education and training in Africa from the ADEA Triennale, albeit from a gender perspective. FAWE envisages the conference will firmly situate the gender equality agenda in Africa’s education development agenda so that girls and women become fully integrated in Africa’s human resource pool.

The conference will provide a necessary platform for Africa to share research knowledge, experiences, lessons and best practices generated through implementation of demonstrative innovations and to explore new pathways to gender equality in education at all levels. Of particular interest are innovative solutions to challenges encountered in Africa’s aspiration to realise gender equality in the much needed human capital to transform the continent.

2. Objectives

The overarching objective of the conference is; to reach consensus on realistic policy and programme solutions that can be adopted and replicated in education and training in Africa in to eliminate hindrances to gender equality.

Specific objectives:

  • Provide a forum for young people to engage in policy discourse on gender in education and training,
  • Share evidence-based research knowledge and innovative solutions for achieving gender equality in education in Africa,
  • Identify tested policies and programme interventions to accelerate efforts towards gender equality in education for possible replication in sub-Saharan Africa,
  • Examine strategies for building networks and partnerships for propelling the gender equality agenda for education in Africa
  • Outline FAWE’s strategic direction to guide the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan

3. The pre-conference preparatory process

As part of the preparations towards the Conference, FAWE is putting forward a Call for Abstracts for communities of researchers and implementers to submit abstracts of their research or programme/project profiles for review before being invited to produce full papers for presentation. The papers should articulate novel, relevant and viable policies and programme ideas, including those that centralize youth engagement, and have a proven record to convince adoption by Ministers of Education and other girls’ education practitioners. The Call has been organised within the domain of four strategic objectives of the CESA 16-25:

CESA SO 1/SO 4 - Revitalize the teaching profession to ensure quality and relevance at all levels

Quality education requires nations to provide children, youth and adults with the knowledge and skills to be active citizens and to fulfil themselves as individuals. The centrality of teachers’ pedagogy in improving quality learning outcomes and their role in achieving the gender equality goal cannot be over-emphasised. Under this cluster, contributors will share lessons and outcomes from successful models on training and continuous professional development programmes/interventions that have equipped female and male teachers with requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes to enable them create gender responsive school environments and respond to learning needs of boys and girls, men and women in the learning process at all levels, and for improved accountability especially to girls and women, who have continued to be marginalised by education practice.

CESA SO5 - Accelerate processes leading to gender parity and equity (equality)

Gender-based discrimination remains one of the most intractable constraints to realizing the right to education (UNESCO, 2015). However, inequality in access to quality education is especially more visible among people with disabilities, populations in remote and socially excluded localities, girls and women living in highly patriarchal societies, the poor, and people living in conflict and postconflict zones. As part of the global community, African states are expected to move their focus from enrolling girls and boys in school in equal numbers to ensuring that all children and youth not only remain in school and complete all education levels but that they acquire skills needed for healthy and productive lives.

FAWE expects contributions on education services for marginalised and at-risk groups, especially girls, and best practices and well-documented initiatives for engaging boys and men in the promotion of gender equality in education. Contributions will highlight innovative alternative learning initiatives for Out-of-School female children/youth, particularly persons with disabilities and those living in conflict and post-conflict situations’ experiences that provide opportunities for girls and women, not only to enrol and stay in schools but to also achieve quality learning outcomes; programmes creating safe and gender friendly learning environment that promote real learning; and innovations that have surmounted the challenges of providing education in conflict and post conflict situations and succeeding in mitigating school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV).

In addition, FAWE will expect contributions on initiatives that have been successful in building youth leadership and empowering girls to take charge of their own learning space and. Other areas of empowerment could include leading change in their schools and communities to address/eliminate second generation obstacles to gender equality at all levels of education and training and ensure safe and gender responsive learning environments. Successful joint regional/continental campaigns to address the complex issues that constrain girls’ full participation and the realisation of gender equality in education is yet another area of interest to tackle in the contributions.

CESA SO8 - Expand TVET opportunities (at both secondary and tertiary levels and strengthen linkages between the world of work and education and training systems)

Current discourse on the flaws in African TVET systems evolve around the relevance and quality of training and the low involvement of the private sector and its implications for the employability of graduates. Contributions under this cluster are expected to highlight how interventions have equipped people not only with vocational skills, but with …”a broad range of knowledge, skills and attitudes that are now recognized as indispensable for meaningful participation in work and life...’’ (UNESCO, 2016)

4. Mini-consultative workshops and market place opportunities for organizations

FAWE will organise a “Market Place” - space that will be made available for organizations wishing to showcase their work. In the conference’s proposed ‘Market Place’ organisations are invited to exhibit or host consultative side workshops on a specific issue/idea or policy brief in relation to promoting gender equality. Such organisations are requested to share a concept note/expression of interest stating clearly what they wish to do and the type of space required.

5. Submission guidelines

The length of the abstracts, concept notes/expression of interest should not be more than two (2) pages or 1,000 words excluding references/bibliography. The recommended font type is Calibri Body and the size should be 12. Margins should be normal i.e. 2.54 cm all round. Additional guidelines on preparation of full-papers will be provided to authors whose abstracts will be approved.

Important Dates

  • Friday 16th June 2017 – Deadline for receipt of abstracts
  • 23rd June 2017 – Invitation of successful abstract to develop full papers
  • 21st July 2017 – Deadline for receipt of full papers

Please send your abstracts to [email protected] and copy [email protected] and [email protected]

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS FRIDAY 16TH JUNE 2017