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close this bookAccess of Girls and Women to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Africa (UNESCO, 1999, 480 p.)
close this folderPART II
View the documentScientific, Technical and Vocational Education (STVE) for Girls in South Africa
View the documentParticipation of Girls and Women in Science, Technical and Vocational Education in the Republic of Benin
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Africa a Case Study of Burundi
View the documentSpecial Project on Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education for Girls in Chad
View the documentThe Participation of Girls and Women in Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Ethiopia
View the documentStatus Report Baseline Information on Girls in Science, Technical and Vocational Education in Ghana
View the documentPromotion of the Equal Access of Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in the Republic of Kenya
View the documentThe Status of Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education of Girls in Madagascar
View the documentPromotion of the Equal Access of Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Malawi
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Mali
View the documentPromotion of the Equal Access to Girls in Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Republic of Namibia
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Niger
View the documentScientific, Technical and Vocational Education of Girls in Nigeria
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Science Education and Technical Education in Africa. Case for Uganda
View the documentThe Promotion of Equal Access of Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Africa Case Study of Senegal
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Vocational and Science Education in Swaziland
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Science Education and Technical/Vocational Education in Africa: The Case of Tanzania
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access for Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Togo
View the documentPromotion of Equal Access of Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Zambia
View the documentPromotion of the Equal Access of Girls to Scientific Technical and Vocational Education in Zimbabwe

Promotion of Equal Access for Girls to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Togo

Atayi Mawusi Ayele EDEM*

*Inspector for Technical Education and Vocational Training.

The issue of the promotion of girls in education and more particularly in science, technical and vocational education, is a burning issue in Togo as it is in many African countries.

The status of women varies widely from region to region in Togo. The Central Region, which is chiefly populated by Muslims, retains all the stigma attached to this religion concerning the status of women, while in other regions, traditional society began since colonial days to move away from those practices which obviously hindered the full expansion of women.

Generally speaking, the social role of girls and consequently that of women is always strongly linked to their place as future mothers or wives. In fact, the first education a girl receives is in preparation for those roles. Even in the most modern perception of the type of education that should be dispensed to a girl, most of it centers around the acquisition of knowledge and behaviour aimed at this ultimate role.

It is a fact that more and more girls are going to school. The Academic Statistics Yearbook for 1993-1994 noted an increase of 1.24%, but those same statistics also reveal that girls still have a long way to go compared to boys: 55% of girls in school against 78% for boys. There is also a high dropout rate at the end of the first cycle: 76.84% compared to 62.92%. This gap steadily widens as children climb the ladders of instruction and reach higher education, where young women are represented by only 12.28%.

For 1995/96, the school attendance rate dropped from 62.52% for girls in primary school to 17 1% in high school (Academic Statistics Yearbook, 1995-1996).

Women in the National Economy

Women are represented fairly well in the Civil Service, but it is still true that their jobs are most identified with those of the secretary-typist, teacher, midwife or nurse.

In Togo, there is no obvious policy discrimination against women as far as hiring or salaries are concerned, but a wide gap is observed between men and women. There are many causes for this, and one of the most obvious is the extremely low school enrolment level for little girls and older girls. In the Civil Service in 1993, there were just 6,669 women employed compared to 25,327 men.

In the private, modern, semi-public and industrial sectors, women represent approximately 4.9% of workers, according to data in the April 1997 report on the seminar “Strategies for Promoting Women.”

We no longer need to prove that women play a key role in contributing to the socio-economic environment. Their income-generating activities help support household expenses. In the big towns in particular, their remarkable business acumen has earned them a solid reputation: the affluent women known as “Nana Benz”1 are a perfect example of this.

1 Business women and women merchants who prosper so well that they usually own the latest Mercedes-Benzes, hence the affectionate name “Nana Benz.”

Women and Education

No statistics were available on the percentage of girls taking scientific subjects in high school or college, but an estimate can easily be made by comparing enrolment at the university level: out of 751 students enrolled in the Faculty of Science, 41 are girls; at the School of Medicine, there are 48 girls out of 370 enrolled. Please refer as well to Appendix II: Results of the Science and Technical Baccalaureate Exams, 1995. Out of a total of 6672 students enrolled, only 719 were girls.

In Technical Education and Vocational Training, it is the so-called “classic subjects,” i.e., secretary-office and trade, which receive the highest number of female students. In the industrial series, and especially in the long series leading to a Baccalaureate, there are only one or two girls per class. This figure rises slightly in the short streams (See Appendix I, Table I).

For 1995-96, of a total enrolment of 9,076 students, girls represented 28.26% (2,565). Of these 2565 girls attending technical and vocational schools, 2.34% or 60 students were enrolled in the industrial section. Out of those 60 students, 57 or 95% were in the short cycle.

At the National Higher Institute of Engineering (ENSI - Ecole Nationale Supeure des Ingeurs), out of 129 students enrolled in 1992-1993, only 3 were girls.

Women are also poorly represented in the teaching corps, even though the 1992-1993 Academic Statistics Yearbook shows that their numbers are rising. For example, out of a total of 12,487 teachers in primary schools, 2,007 are women. At the secondary school level (from 7th grade/1st form to 10th grade/4th form), there are 197 women for 2,246 men and 117 female teachers compared to 672 males teaching 11th grade/5th form through 13th grade/upper 6th form or last year. The diplomas received by teachers are also a good illustration of women's participation in this area (Cf. Appendix IV).

In Technical Education and Vocational Training: out of 573 educators, all series and streams combined, 56 are women. Of these 56, only a dozen or so are teaching in purely industrial streams, and often in the short cycles leading to a CAP or CFA (End of Apprenticeship Certificates). The others are found in such areas as typing or trade, and in general teaching areas such as French or English.

DETERMINANT FACTORS IN SCHOOL ORIENTATION FOR GIRLS

Negative Factors

It is extremely important to stress the negative influence of tradition on attempts to promote school attendance for girls. It is the traditional concept of a women's role that causes a block. Women are raised and educated to stay at home. They are only considered useful to society if they fulfill their roles of spouse and mother, and traditional education prepares them only for that. Very quickly, household chores take up all a girl's time, and she is unable to concentrate fully on her studies. The consequence is that only petty trades are open to girls for learning. The plethora of seamstresses, hair dressers, typists, and the like in our society illustrates this point very well. In general, trade is another opportunity open to her.

Parents also have the negative idea that the further their daughters advance in their studies, the more difficult it will be for them to marry.

Modem evils are added to the traditional ones: the attraction of the city and easy living, early pregnancies, prostitution, the lack of job opportunities These evils can all force young women to leave school very early.

It is also worth noting that the lack of representation of parents and girls in scientific, technical and vocational education, constitutes a handicap for promotional actions. The scientific series have always been reserved for boys. It is not unusual in Togo to see entire graduating classes having followed only the C Series (math) composed exclusively of boys. For the D Series (natural sciences), girls make up about 25% of the classes.

There is one phenomenon that has gone unnoticed until now, but which should be taken into account in analyzing the situation currently under study: that is the condescending attitude of teachers. Such teachers fail to stimulate girls enough to seek excellence, rigor and quality in what they do. A response or presentation made by a girl after she is called upon will not be evaluated as strictly as for a boy because “girls can't do as well” as boys.

In that sense, since math and science are considered to be beyond her abilities, one should not expect too much; it would be a waste of time to make too much effort to motivate her or offer tutorial courses.

Technical education and vocational training present the same profile. Just as mentioned above, classes in this tertiary field are often full, to the detriment of the industrial series. Moreover, vocational training is always considered to be the path chosen by less intelligent persons, and is thus less attractive.

In the past, laudable efforts were made to educate children, and the Government employed many programmes to encourage parents to send their children to school. However, there is a trend that is coming to the fore, albeit rather weakly. The economic crisis has resulted in a loss in purchasing power, thereby obliging parents to discriminate when making choices for their children; they prefer to educate their sons rather than their daughters, especially for the long-term studies (higher or university level). This is explained by the fact that to date, only sons are considered capable of feeding the family -not only their immediate families if they get married, but that of their parents as well, when the latter are too old to do so.

Positive Factors

There are several, of which two can be mentioned:

First of all, the effects of fashion, which are known to change behavior. In fact, more and more positions of responsibility are being assigned to women. Likewise, women managers are making their way into many companies and enterprises. In the educational system, there are women models who have been trained in the sciences. At the university, women occupy professors' posts and are very dynamic in their fields. The number of women doctors, pharmacists and laboratory technicians is also rising.

In technical education and vocational training, one is beginning to notice female trainers in masonry, auto mechanics and general mechanics.

Secondly, one must remember, as mentioned earlier, that the recruitment level and salaries are positive factors. Togo maintains the same texts and salary grids for men as for women. These could be considered good indicators.

MEASURES TO ADVANCE GIRLS' ACCESS TO SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION

While we can speak at length about the measures that the country has taken to encourage girls to attend school in general, the specific initiatives taken to promote girls in the areas that concern us here are rare and constitute exceptions.

Political Will

It is clearly stipulated in certain texts, specifically in the Educational Status Report for May 1992 (Actes des Etats Graux de l'Enseignement) and in the Declaration of Government Sectorial Policy for 1993, that efforts would be engaged to incite girls to take up scientific study.

Furthermore, only recently, the Inter-ministerial Committee for the Supervision of School Attendance for Girls was created by an inter-ministerial decree (Ministry of National Education and Ministry of Social Affairs and the Advancement of Women, No. 96-091/MENR-MPFPS of 18 October, 1996). The purpose of this organ is to propose strategies to the government.

In technical education and particularly vocational training, besides the special programme known as “Projet Education FAD II,” which has a component entitled “Support for Promotion of Girls,” there is also a will to promote girls. To that effect, we observe that the authorities responsible for the various recruiting exams are seeking means to increase the feminine population and are practicing what we can call “positive discrimination.”

Projects and Programmes

For science education in particular, there are no specific programmes or projects for young girls. It is non-governmental organizations and women's associations which have taken initiatives, but they have not yet been institutionalized.

At the technical education and vocational training level, Projet Education FAD II, “Support for Promotion of Girls” component is a project aimed at setting up strategies to raise parents' awareness, but also that of the girls themselves, to initiate a noticeable increase in the number of girls who enter training centres in those streams traditionally reserved for boys.

Effectiveness of Measures

It would appear, however, that all the measures tend to lack a serious touch; indeed, no positive results can be seen to date. Moving on to concrete measures seems to be a problem. Although we found many programmes and projects that are supposed to yield substantial results, unfortunately, no figures can be posted at this stage.

Difficulties and Constraints

A major difficulty is the lack of information about what opportunities might be offered. It was mentioned earlier that the most popular streams are the traditional ones. We believe that girls' lack of motivation and confidence to go into science, technical and vocational studies other than those taken by their mothers or elder sisters, is chiefly due to this lack of information.

The cost of studies is another hindrance. The state is confronted with tighter and tighter budgetary constraints, and can no longer ensure the education and training of its citizens as before. In order to encourage girls to commit themselves to the fields highlighted in this study, more facilities and means must be allowed, particularly the creation of scholarships and boarding schools.

The solutions to these two problems go beyond good intentions; strategies for information and awareness-raising must be devised as well as scholarship systems and perhaps loans granted to parents so that they cover the education and professional training of their daughters. Likewise, the creation of boarding schools would place the girls in a secure environment, thereby protecting them as much as possible from various kinds of lustful behaviour and demands, easy mores and the attraction of pleasure-seeking.

The necessity for these measures has been brought to the attention of the government through the recommendations set forth by many seminars and workshops focussing on girls and their education, but those recommendations have not yet led to any concrete actions. Indeed, many projects have been designed to tackle the problem, but are not yet operational.

SPECIFIC INFORMATION CONCERNING SCIENCE EDUCATION

In Togo, science is included in the school curriculum from as early as primary school, in the subject known as “Edusivip” (Scientific Education and Initiation to Practical Living), which covers courses about the sciences, agriculture, home economics and home crafts. It is taught once a week for 1 hour to 1 hour, 20 minutes. It involves integrated education covering issues experienced by the students, and centered around their immediate environment.

Starting in secondary school, the sciences expand to include several subjects: natural science or biology, physical science (physics and chemistry) and mathematics.

In “Seconde,” (11th grade or 5th form) after the BEPC, students can chose between the liberal arts series and the scientific series. The “D” Series is devoted to natural sciences, while the “C” Series focuses on math.

Health and environmental issues are integrated into other subjects, either in Natural Science, Moral and Civic Education, Population Study, or Edusivip.

Due to a coefficient system, science subjects are taught in all the series, even in the literary series. The scientific series have high coefficients, which makes it possible to select students with an aptitude for science.

In “Seconde,” after four years of high school, a differentiation is made between general education and technical education. Vocational formation can begin in the 9th grade (3rd form or 4).

FUTURE STRATEGIES AND PLANS

Just as pointed out early, initiatives are being taken by various actors, but in isolation: at the purely social level, by the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Advancement of Women and by international agencies, and at the educational level, by the appropriate Ministries: National Education, Technical Education and Vocational Training.

Unfortunately, these initiatives are still at the diagnostic and design stage, and must be incorporated into a plan that would assemble the results of the various works and seminars Based on such a strategy, one could also conduct well-targeted surveys in the areas under study. A true plan could then be devised striving for the promotion of girls' equal access to scientific, technical and vocational education in Togo.

Campaigns must be propagated pushing strategies that stress how important it is to train and sensitize people about the absolute necessity to facilitate girls' educational access and allow them to live in a secure environment (by granting scholarships and opening boarding schools).

These awareness-raising campaigns must target parents, the girls themselves and the school environment, and this should start as early as primary school to instill little girls with an appreciation for the sciences. Teachers should also be targeted for sensitization, for they are the ones responsible for training girls. It behooves them to do everything in their power to remove the mindsets preventing girls' advancement in the areas of science, technology and vocational training.

Positive discrimination must also be practiced for the admission of girls into science schools or into technical education and vocational training. This must never be taken to mean that training standards for girls should be lowered, however, but that they must receive better support.

Along that same line of thought, the creation of safe environments would shelter girls from material needs and would also help change the minds of parents who would not otherwise dare to allow their children to travel far from home to pursue their education.

APPENDIX I - Technical Education and Vocational Training

Table 1: Summary of Student Enrolment for 1994-1995

SECTIONS

1ST YEAR

2ND YEAR

3RD YEAR

COMBINED


M

F

T

M

F

T

M

F

T

M

F

T

Industrial, Short

616

11

627

507

5

512

310

7

317

1433

23

1456

Industrial, Long

204

2

206

240

0

240

167

0

167

611

2

613

Business, Short

471

362

833

517

423

941

64

79

143

1053

864

1917

Business, Long

620

256

876

1387

571

1958

736

253

989

2743

1080

3823

TOTAL

1911

631

2542

2652

999

3651

1277

339

1616

5840

1965

780

Table 2: Evolution of Student Enrolment from 1984 to 1995

Year

M

F

TOTAL

1984-1985

370

1251

4961

1985-1986

3763

1413

5176

1986-1987

4187

1521

5708

1987-1988

4419

1937

6356

1988-1989

4358

1598

5956

1989-1990

5034

1832

6866

1991-1992

6239

2148

8387

1992-1993

5760

1782

7542

1993-1994

6260

1964

8224

1994-1995

5840

1969

7809

APPENDIX II - RESULTS OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL BACCALAUREAT EXAMS - 1995

Series

Total Enrolled

Girls

Total Passed

Girls

C

328

8

83

3

D

4792

389

706

82

G1

223

154

122

84

G2

1142

168

460

70

E

50

0

8

0

F1

52

0

19

0

F2

25

0

14

0

F3

23

0

16

0

F4

12

0

8

0

Ti 1

25

0

13

0

Total

6672

719

1449

239

Main Subjects in Each Series

C: Math
E: Science and Technology
F2: Electronics
F4: Civil Engineering
Ti/1: Industrial Boilermaking and Piping
D: Natural Science, Physical Sciences
F1: Mechanical Building
F3: Electrical Engineering
G1: Administrative Techniques (Secretariat, Office Work)
G2: Management Techniques (Management and Accounting)

APPENDIX III - STATISTICS ON HIGHER EDUCATION

Table 1: Evolution of Student Enrolment at the University of Benin from 1985-1986 to 1993- 1994


1985-1986

1993-1994

SCHOOL

M

F

T

M

F

T

ESACJ/FDD

577

99

676

1283

244

1527

ESTEG/FASEG

829

88

917

1660

154

1814

EDS/FDS

600

28

688

710

41

751

EDM/FDM

286

37

323

322

48

370

ENAM/EAM

9

2

11

164

33

197

ENSI

66

0

66

126

3

129

ESA

367

8

375

307

9

316

INSE

48

1

49

16

0

16

EDL/FLESH

896

152

1048

2465

415

2880

ESACJ/FDD:

School of Law

ESTEG/FASEG:

School of Economics and Management

EDS:FDS:

School of Science

EDM:FDM:

Faculty of Medicine

ENAM:

School of Medical Auxiliaries

ENSI:

National Institute of Engineers

ESA:

Higher Institute of Agronomy

EDL/FLESH:

School of Arts and Social Science

INSE:

National Institute of Educational Sciences

APPENDIX IV: REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN SECONDARY EDUCATION, 1985 TO 1996

Diploma

1985

1996


Secondary

University

Secondary

University


M

F

T

M

F

T

M

F

T

M

F

T

Doctors & Engineers

0

0

0

14

2

16

15

3

18

93

2

95

Agr Professors

0

0

0

1

0

-

38

7

45

3

0

3

CAPES or Master's

5

0

0

55

21

76

91

14

105

235

32

267

Graduates or Similar

53

13

66

337

86

423

245

29

274

508

65

573

Duel 2, DueS2 Cap CEG

793

76

869

17

6

23

479

82

567

137

16

153

Duel, Dues 1 or Bac

808

86

894

11

4

15

1145

112

1257

75

0

75

Preliminary, BE

1274

165

1439

17

0

17

1112

112

1224

22

1

23

CEPE or CEPD

15

25

40

5

0

5

10

10

28

0

1

1