The Ministry of Education in Zambia, represented by Chief Curriculum Specialist Mr. Jack Chishala, announced today the government’s accelerated efforts to promote gender equality in the education sector and combat school-related gender-based violence.
Speaking at a panel discussion during the launch of UNESCO in Action for Gender Equality 2022-2023 report, on the sidelines of the 42nd Session of the General Conference of UNESCO, Mr. Chishala unveiled key initiatives undertaken by the Zambian government.
He highlighted the development of a curriculum for pre-service teachers that seamlessly integrates gender equality content.
The journey towards gender equality in education began in 2019 with a collaborative project between the Zambian government and UNESCO, aimed at training teachers and educational staff in gender-sensitive approaches.
Using the in-house curriculum program named “Connect with Respect” designed for 12 to 14-year-old learners, teachers underwent training on preventing gender-based violence in schools.
Mr. Chishala emphasized the positive impact of the gender equality curriculum, noting that learners are now equipped with the knowledge to recognize, prevent, and report different forms of violence within the school environment.
The government is further collaborating with UNESCO through the “Our Lives, Our Rights, Our Future” (O3 Plus) program, focusing on addressing gender inequality and creating safe and supportive learning environments.
The program also aims to tackle gender biases and stereotypes present in educational content and practices.
Additionally, Mr. Chishala highlighted the Ministry of Education’s partnership with the United Nations in Zambia to implement the Gender Equality and Women’s Participation Initiative (GEWPI).
He said that this initiative seeks to enhance existing gender strategies and programs, adopting a more integrated and strategic approach to respond to gender inequalities and emerging global megatrends.
Under the GEWPI project, the government, with support from UNICEF, is implementing intensified life skills and Health Education, as well as Child Safeguarding programs in schools in the Eastern Province.
Naomi Mweemba, First Secretary Press at the Zambian Embassy in Paris, expressed the government’s commitment to these initiatives.
Ms Mweemba noted that these groundbreaking efforts underscore Zambia’s dedication to fostering a more inclusive and equitable educational landscape, setting a positive precedent for gender equality initiatives globally.