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IV: an approach to identifying and planning effective interventions.


This chapter outlines a general approach that may be helpful to educators, planners and decisionmakers in the region in moving from analysis to action. The previous chapters have summarized the knowledge about problems related to the education of girls and women in SubSaharan Africa and the causes of these problems, and it has reviewed some of the interventions being used to tackle the problems. Three general observations that provide a basis for the approach outlined here stand out from this material:

* The problems of female education in Sub-Saharan Africa are inextricably linked with the general deterioration in the supply and quality of education;

* The issues related to female education are usually complex and require multiple interventions simultaneously; and

* There is much more knowledge and understanding about issues related to female education in the region than is so far being used to implement change.

Links with the general deterioration of education

The problems of girls' education are closely integrated with the severe problems of educational supply and quality in the region, especially among the poorest communities and in rural areas where poor school services, traditional cultural influences, and the lack of employment possibilities are entrenched. The constraints on education in general are so great that when girls are targeted outside larger programs to revitalize overcrowded and underfunded education systems, any gains offered to them will be diluted significantly, if not completely, by problems affecting the whole system. It may be that the greatest success for girls can be achieved when girls are targeted within comprehensive reform programs, and that, since girls are the disadvantaged half of the population, improvements in their education will increase the program impact on boys. But if girls are to be helped in their educational attendance, attainment and performance, it is necessary to rank-order the problems of girls' education to be given priority in a given setting, and to integrate activities that target girls into overall programs to improve education.

Complexity of issues

This study describes the complexity of the problems affecting female education by examining issues that influence the supply and the demand for girls' schooling. The analysis in Chapter II demonstrated that demand and supply issues are intertwined at the political and institutional, the school, the community, and the student levels. One could separate households from community in this categorization of the source of the problems. To identify how to ameliorate a problem such as girls' access or their repetition of a grade, the complex framework of reasons for the problem demands full consideration at each of these levels, and the reasons affecting girls must be compared with the reasons for the same problem as it affects both boys and girls. For example, the analysis in Chapter II indicates that biases in textbooks, a supplyside issue at the school level, should be improved. However, without simultaneous attention to possible changes in curriculum content and expected teacher behavior towards girls (institutional issues) and to raising community and student awareness that biases are depressing girls' results, changes in the textbooks will have little impact on girls' learning. Similarly, the general availability of books in the schools, and teachers' treatment of all students, frame the context in which these biases in textbooks influence girls' learning. The approach outlined in this chapter attempts to help planners and implementors define the complex relationship among causal factors influencing key issues that they have chosen to address.

Phases in moving from analysis to action

The gap identified between how much is known about the issues affecting the education of girls and how little is being done about these issues has to be closed. We propose three phases in moving from analysis to action. First, the priority problem in a given system or locale must be identified; then the principal controllable causes of this problem need to be diagnosed; and, finally, alternative mixes of possible interventions can be developed, assessed, and planned in detail to form an intervention program. Since this approach has not been fully implemented in the field, it is necessarily indicative of the complete process that people may go through to apply what is known elsewhere to the constraints on female education in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Selecting the most pressing problem

In selecting the most pressing problem affecting girls' education in a given setting, both the overall problems of the education system and the specific performance of girls need to be considered. In most countries, the general problems are well documented, and general strategies for dealing with them exist (Colclough and Lewin 1993, Lockheed and Verspoor 1991). This information needs to be summarized and made available to inform discussion of the specific problems of female education in a specific education system.

To help more clearly specify the locally-relevant problems of female education, AFTHR Technical Note No. 7 defines statistical indicators according to four kinds of problems related to female participation in education (Hartnett and Heneveld 1993):

* Access which refers to the decision to enter girls in school;

* Achievement which is the academic performance of girls once they are in school;

* Attainment which is the length of time girls remain in school and the level of education to which they progress; and

* Accomplishment which refers to their success once they leave school.

Different educational systems will have different priorities for each of these problems. For example, in Mali, less than half the male population enters primary school, but the girls' admission rate is still less than half of this (Table 4.1). However, once in school in Mali, while the girls' completion rate is low, it is comparable to the boys' rate. In Malawi, roughly the same percentage of boys and girls enter primary school, but the girls' completion rate after entry is roughly half the boys' rate. It is clear that the two countries need to address female participation issues differently.

Table 4.1 presents a full country statistical profile for Mali. This single table can be used to rank-order the issues affecting girls' education. It lists the data on eighteen indicators according to the female rate (data on females for each indicator as a percent of all relevant females) and the Gender Ratio (GR) (the female rate divided by the comparable rate for males). It can be seen that only 17 percent of the female age group entered primary school in 1990, and this rate was only .56 of the boys' rate. However, as the table also shows, once in school, girls are almost as likely to complete primary schooling as boys (GR = .89), and that those who complete are almost as likely as boys to continue from primary school to secondary school (GR = .98). At the bottom of the country profile, the cumulative effects of differences between men and women in education are suggested by the three outcome indicators: In Mali in the late eighties, womens' mean years of schooling and labour force participation rates were, 14 and 18 percent, respectively, of the men's', and their literacy rate was 59 percent of the men's'. Using this analysis is the most pressing current issue for female education in girls' access to schooling in Mali.

At this stage in defining possible interventions, the statistical indicators provide a useful stimulus for selecting and defining key problems. Later, these indicators can be used to set targets for what interventions should accomplish in expected changes in selected indicators, and they can also be used to monitor progress over the life of a program and to compare performance among geographic units before, during, and after, interventions.

As a first step in moving from analysis to action, a country's statistical profile, or a profile of some other organizational unit, can help structure discussions establishing which problem areas are most important. Its one-page format provides an easily-read basis for reflection and debate on the data, during which discussants will bring to bear their own experience in the education system and consider existing government policy. Back-up statistics on the indicators for both females and males (preferably broken-down for geographic or administrative sub-units) and on the general state of the education system should inform the discussion. All stakeholders--parents, teachers, older students, educational administrators and community leaders--will easily comprehend these summaries of information, so making broad participation in discussion possible before planners and decision-makers act.

Diagnosing the causes of the key problem

Chapter 2 of this report presents a typology of the factors affecting female participation in education. The factors are organized as socioeconomic, sociocultural, or school-related.

Additional dimensions to these categories are offered in AFTHR Technical Note No. 15 which provides analytic questions that can help clarify factors that influence female participation in education at the household, school, community and national levels (see Annex 2). By assessing how much each factor contributes to the key problem, it should be possible to identify which factors probably need to be dealt with if an intervention is to be successful. Annex 3 provides a checklist of factors that will contribute to solving the key problem in different degrees, depending on the specifics.

Once a preliminary determination has been made of which factors are the major contributing causes of the key problem, it is necessary to assess how well understood these factors are in the system in which improvements are contemplated. Here, consideration in detail of the questions related to each factor will be helpful (AFTHR Technical Note No. 15; Annex 2). Finding answers to the relevant questions requires first assessing the information already available in the general research literature and in the country. Then, if additional information is needed, there are a variety of participatory methods for getting at the causes of the problem. The Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) methodology that has been applied so successfully in agriculture has a rich literature that describes the techniques used. These can be adapted for education (Gueye and Freudenberger 1991; International Institute for Environment and Development (1IED), RRA Notes; Theis and Grady 1991). Recently a study in the Gambia (Kane and de Brun 1993) and a World Bank Sector Study on Togo (Togo: Scolarisation et Scolarite des Filles dans I'Enseignement Primaire. Draft, 10 June, 1994) have used participatory methods to look at questions of female education, and a handbook for conducting participatory research on the education of girls, and a video and manual on how to carry out fieldwork on girls' education are available (Kane, 1995a, 1995b). These sources, and others, provide a rich array of simple to complex tools for involving people in the assessment of the factors that keep girls from being educated. Generally, these participatory methods rely on focus groups, workshops, and local meetings. Through a qualitative discussion of what is going on in the society and in schools, the definitions and weighting of factors causing the problem can be agreed upon.

Once there is consensus that the causes of the problem have been explored in depth, as much through discussion as through formal research, a definitive statement of the expected causes of the problem that clearly lays out the conditions in the society and in the schools that need to be changed if the problem is to be alleviated is prepared. This statement will form the basis for designing an integrated program of interventions.

Planning the interventions

During the participatory process suggested for defining the causes of the problem, ideas and suggestions for its resolution through interventions will undoubtedly be raised. In addition, planners and educators may want to brainstorm possible interventions. A true brainstorming session requires that a group of people knowledgeable about the key problem, the factors affecting it, and interventions tried elsewhere list together all the ideas, without criticism. Afterwards, this list of ideas needs to be evaluated, revised, and reduced in light of local knowledge and of experience elsewhere, until the ingredients of a potentially effective, affordable, and manageable program of actions have been defined.

A group of primary education specialists in Sierra Leone brainstormed without criticizing each other's ideas. Within fifteen minutes this group identified three obstacles that would require minimal expenditures to change: 1). currently, Government policy requires that all unmarried teachers who become pregnant leave the teaching service; 2). all female teachers are required to wear uniforms (men are not required to do this) that they must purchase themselves; and 3). women do less well than men on entrance examinations to teacher training colleges. The group decided that there might be an increase in female teachers if the pregnancy regulation were changed, if female teachers were given a clothing allowance, and if female candidates for teacher training had coaching classes for the entrance examination. The evaluation of ideas for interventions generated through brainstorming and discussions should consider:

* cultural acceptability;

* political feasibility;

* affordability;

* government and education system capacity to implement;

* other criteria that may be considered important in the given context; and

* the indicators that will be used to monitor progress and 'success' in implementation.

One method arrays all the possibilities in a matrix with the ideas down one side of the matrix and the evaluation criteria across the top. Each idea can then be rated with words or numerically (1-5, for example) (see Annex 4), and then these results can be discussed to arrive at an overall view of the ideas and a sense of which can be included in the program to alleviate the priority problem. The discussion of different participants' ratings on the criteria will probably also identify uncertainties about implementing the ideas and suggestions for revisions. These uncertainties and suggestions should be recorded so that the results of the discussion at this stage are available for the next planning steps.

Once the priority issue or issues have been defined and possible interventions identified, detailed planning must follow. During this planning, existing knowledge on the issue and experiences of others in tackling it can be examined as the discussion evolves the details of interventions. For each intervention, it will be necessary to specify in detail:

* the target audience (parents, for example);

* the beneficiaries (for example, x number of girls between the ages of 6-9 in a certain locality);

* the activities to be undertaken (for example, free uniforms, tutoring for girls);

* the resources required to carry out the activities.

The definition of activities should be in sufficient detail for everyone to envision what will happen when these are implemented. For example, if free uniforms are to be provided, the design might be that the PTA will make them, in which case delivery of uniforms would not be required, but the provision of cloth, sewing machines and thread would need to be specified.

Once notes are in hand on each intervention, the planners should step back and analyze how these actions fit together. This requires identifying how each action will potentially reinforce or obstruct another. Again, a matrix can be used to array all the interventions on each axis of the matrix (with "x's in cells where each intervention intersects). Comments on how the interventions interact can be noted in each cell. Annex 5 provides an example of such a matrix.

Once this table is filled in with notes, it can be discussed for comprehensiveness in dealing with the priority issue. Questions such as the following should be asked:

* Will these activities collectively have the desired effect on the issue they are meant to address? Why or why not?

* Are there interactions among them that will be counterproductive? That can be strengthened by changes in the design of the intervention? If so, what should be changed in the design?

* Are there possible interventions or interactions that have not been included in this summary of the interventions? What are these?

* Are there outlets among interventions that have been identified that do not seem to fit with or reinforce the others? If so, can these be discarded without negative impact on the overall objectives of the interventions?

As a result of this analysis, the planning team should be able to specify in detail what the components of the proposed intervention program will be and to quantify the resources required to undertake the intervention. Once this stage is reached, a detailed plan for the program can be prepared. Annex 6 presents a generic outline for such a program design.
Table 4.1
MALI: Country Profile12
Female Participation in Education

Indicator Female Gender
 Rate Ratio

Primary admission rate. 1990 17% 0.57
Gross primary enrollment ratio, 1990 17% 0.57
Repetition rate, primary, 1990 28% 1.03
Persistence to grade 4. 1987 68% 0.91
Primary completion rate. 1990 37% 0.89
Continuation rate from
 primary to secondary, 1990 62% 0.98
Gross secondary enrollment ratio, 1990 8% 0.88
Repetition rate, secondary, 1990 27% 1.07
Secondary completion rate. 1990 73% 0.80
Continuation rate from
 secondary to tertiary, 1990
Gross tertiary enrollment ratio, 1990 0.2% 0.15
Enrollment in sciences at tertiary, 1990 48% 0.87
Female teachers as of total. 1990:
 Primary 22.6%
 Secondary 14.0%
 Tertiary NA
Mean years of schooling, 1992 0.1 0.14
Adult literacy rate, 1990 24% 0.58
Labour force participation rate. 1990 10% 0.18

NA = not available

Source: Hartnett, T., and W. Heneveld. 1993. 'Statistical
Indicators of Female Participation in Education in Sub-Sahara
Africa.' Technical Note No. 7. Human Resources and Poverty
Division, Technical Department, Africa Region, Washington,
D.C.: World Bank.
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Copyright 1995 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Girls and Schools in Sub-Saharan Africa: From Analysis to Action
Publication:Girls and Schools in Sub-Saharan Africa
Date:Sep 1, 1995
Previous Article:Girls' education components in world bank-financed projects.
Next Article:V: conclusion.

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