Children’s Corner with Panic Chilufya
YESTERDAY, Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating International Womenâ€™s Day under the theme: â€˜Planet 50-50 by 2030: step it up for gender equalityâ€™. In its quest to step up gender equality, Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS) a UK-based charity operating in Zambia decided to share some of its success stories. PEAS has built a network of sustainable schools in Zambia that will contribute to long-term societal change, poverty reduction and empowerment of young people.
GIRLS attending PEAS schools in Zambia, have recorded some of the best results to date in the recent Grade 9 exams, outperforming boys and achieving far higher than the national average scores.
Across the PEAS secondary school network in Zambia there is a focus on gender equality and on International Womenâ€™s Day (March 8), we spoke to the female head teachers, and their students, about the positive influence women leaders are having in the classroom.
Rose, 16 years old, attends George Secondary School in Ndola:
â€œA female teacher is great for me because I can talk about personal things without fear. Girls are treated equal to boys and the teachers always want the best from us.â€
â€œWhen I grow up I would like to be like Christine Kaseba. The reason being she is a very successful woman in her life.â€
â€œI want to become a nurse because it is the career I have been dreaming of.â€
Suzette, 15 years old, is in Grade 10 at George Secondary School:
â€œItâ€™s great to have a female headteacher at our school. I feel very free to talk to her about my problems.â€
â€œI want to aim high and take care of my future children. My grandmother is certainly my role model she always wants to educate people.â€
â€œHaving a female headteacher inspires me. She is an example to all educated women in the teaching institutions that they can rise to become headteachers. She shows that whatever a man can do a woman can also do.â€
â€œEducation is important to me because it will allow me to take care of my family and be a responsible woman in society.â€
â€œI want to become a surgical doctor. My grandmother is a nurse at the university hospital and she inspires me.â€
Female students at Kawama Secondary School responded as a group:
â€œMost schools are headed by men and it is hard for them to address the problems of girls. A woman is able to take care of the girls around her.â€
â€œBefore, a womanâ€™s role in society was to be at home doing the cleaning and cooking. Most women are now breadwinners and always councillors in most homes and organisations.â€
â€œMy role model is definitely Michelle Obama or Christine Kaseba.â€
â€œIâ€™d like to become a civil engineer when I finish school.â€
Teacher group answers at Kawama Secondary School:
â€œWe try to empower female students by providing roles like â€˜class representativeâ€™ or prefect. We want to be interactive with students and allow them to freely express themselves.â€
â€œWe have some fantastic students who are confident and able to articulate well in English. I know we have many pupils who will make great leaders of the future.â€
â€œThe job I do is extremely important for Zambiaâ€™s future. It has an impact on the student and their family but also on Zambia as a whole. I am proud to be making a positive difference and tutor some of the future leaders of our country.â€
â€œWe are particularly attentive to any gender imbalance tendencies be it verbal or physical. Girls and boys are given equal opportunities in terms of responsibilities and most clubs are spear headed by girls especially those that are stereotyped as being male dominated, like mathematics and science.â€
â€œThe importance of secondary education is that it makes people holistically ready. Even though not all will get white collar jobs, most will go out with a life skill because of sport which we all enjoy in school and agricultural science a compulsory subject. Better still, the spirit of self-assertiveness is instilled in them and they will definitely not live as illiterates.â€
â€œI have no doubt may one day end up as politicians. They take part in debate clubs at school and public speaking. I am also positive that because of the subject commerce which, encourages entrepreneurship many will venture into business.â€
â€œI am proud of the work I do with PEAS. Children at George Secondary School will not be confined to the area they are in now forever. They are Zambians who will be at liberty to live anywhere especially and Iâ€™m confident that they will. Former students are already making a positive impact on Zambia as some are already in colleges and some are contributing positively in family farming.
â€œThe job I do bridges the gap between them and other schools and they feel privileged as any other Zambia child who is in school if not much more because of the low fees.â€
Children’s Corner with Panic Chilufya