Workshop: Education, Gender and Poverty
Hangar Conference Center, room Pará, 3:30pm By Ana Abelenda ICAE
"The answer is not standardized programs"
Which programs have actually worked in the field of women´s education? This was the main question of a workshop entitled: "Education, Gender and Poverty" organized by the Popular Education among Women Network (REPEM), an activity part of the parallel activities at CONFINTEA VI.
Sergio Haddad, of Açao Educativa, explained how exigibility of human rights works and how it can be used to guarantee the full implementation of the right to education. He named the four characteristics of the right to education as they were listed by the first UNESCO Rapporteur on the Right to Education:
Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability, and Adaptability. He stressed that the role of civil society must be to push for the recognition of adult education as a human right meaning that governments have the responsibility for its full implementation. Exigibility means every human being has the right to reclaim the full implementation of the right to education - including adult education - via social pressure, administrative or justice mechanisms.
Malini Ghose, from India, gave some pointers on how to make successful programs based on her experience in Adult Women Education in India. "Access is not just about provision" she said, explaining how the fact that there were public schools available in India did not guarantee the attendance of learners. She also stressed the fact that literacy has far more impacts than the acquirement of knowledge, for instance, women learners perceived gender violence more clearly in their daily lives.
As for the recommendations on successful practices she listed:
- to move away from the "deficit" approach where students are perceived to have a lack of knowledge
- to close the gap between the "us" and "them" exploiting curiosity and humor
- to build participation at all levels is essential
- The answer is not standardized programs, learners need to set the agenda
- To have a long-term vision and investment program because "the needs for literacy keep evolving"
- Invest in capacity-building of educators
- Monitoring and evaluation should take into account testimony of learners
As a closure to the panel, María Cristina Chavéz from Colombia shared her experience as an educator in the project "Cabeza de Familia Avanzar". Her organization received training from the REPEM and they have learnt to connect issues of macroeconomics with personal impacts. The women engaged in decision making and assumed leadership in their communities.