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close this bookAccess of Girls and Women to Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education in Africa (BREDA - UNESCO, 1999, 480 p.)
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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 of Girls to Science Education and Technical/Vocational Education in Africa: The Case of Tanzania

Cathleen SEKWAO*

Tanzania has an estimated population of 27.3 million as of mid 1995. About 51% of this population are women. The concern and role of women as a distinct social group has been a subject of discussion for the past three decades. However, the information and data available through research undertaken during this period have shown that women have been a missing link in development and hence the need to concentrate on making women visible.

Women's role in economy development has been greatly acknowledged on paper, but this has not been accompanied by practical measures. Whatever, activities women engage in, they arc seen to be routine activities without much economic significance. Most societies have different expectations of adult roles of men and women, with men generally in dominant and women in sub-ordinate positions. It is not an accident that things are this way or that society relegates women to such positions deliberately. There is evidence to suggest that in general, females are more conforming, more discouraged by failures, more oriented towards people, show more concern for feelings and desire to help others and have a greater ability to see others'points of view than men (Head, 1980). In general terms men have a greater desire to control than to be controlled, they are more oriented towards things than people, are less emotional, more objective and show more interest in abstractions which appear to have less relevance to the real world. From the way society reacts to the different sexes, it is expected that boys will be active and independent while girls should be passive and compliant Things start very early where parents have a tendency of treating then children in ways which create these sets of characteristics from infancy.

When children go to school these sex-linked behaviour patterns arc reinforced: conforming behaviour among girls is reinforced and they fear making mistakes or drawing attention to themselves. The way people handle boys and girls at home and in schools results in deferential responses to science and technology. It is often the girls who get easily discouraged in science and technology when things become rough. Although there have been changes in these trends with time, the changes are still insignificant.

* Dar-Es-Salaam Technical College - P.O. Box 2958 - Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, East Africa.

Oppressive gender relations seen in the gender division of labour, the unequal access to resources and women's sub-ordinate status within patriarchy are some of the societal constraints hindering women's full participation in development. These factors have influenced girls' access, performance and reinforced gender streaming of women into traditional subject fields. Women's workload is such that both as adults and as students, they are expected to undertake, a multiplicity of tasks at home as well as on the farm and in community-based activities. This workload constrains school girls' time for homework, and effective participation in science and technical subjects which require devotion of a little bit more time and eventually contributes to their poor performance. Women's low participation in the formal sector also has a historical and socio-cultural dimension.

Although there are no statistics to show the exact percentage of women employed in the formal sector before independence, different authors have indicated that they were comparatively few. In the pre-colonial era, there was a distinct social division of labour, where males, females and children had a role to play in society. In fact, the distinction between formal and informal sectors was not there. However, with the coming of colonialism, this order was disrupted especially with the introduction of plantation and settler farms as well as the establishment of a few consumer industries which highly favoured male employment; sex discrimination was therefore perpetuated further through colonial administrative and educational policies. Whereas men were seen as future workers and bread winners, women were looked upon as housewives and family labourers, totally under the subordination of their patriarchal husbands.

It is therefore note accidental that the few girls who received colonial education were encouraged to study subjects related to their domestic roles such as cookery, sewing, knitting, embroidery, etc. This tendency caused a great imbalance in the distribution of education opportunities for boys and girls. As a result of such discrimination in education, the majority of Tanzanian women remained illiterate.

It is worth noting that remarkable changes have taken place after independence, whereas the enrolment of girls in schools has increased over the years since independence. However the question of the type of education received is very important since it forms the basis of their placement at work.

CURRENT TREND IN PARTICIPATION OF GIRLS AND WOMEN IN SCIENCE, TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

At the primary Level

The duration of primary school education in Tanzania is seven years. Girls'enrolment in primary school reached a par with boys by 1986 due to the Universal Primary Education (UPE) policy of 1977 which culminated into the expansion of primary education. Science and technical subjects such as agriculture, home economics and handcrafts are included in the syllabus for both boys and girls and are compulsory. There is a shortage of resource materials for teaching science and technical subjects. There is also a lack of specialised expertise in technical fields. These problems definitely hinder students from getting a good background in science and technical subjects at primary level.

At the Secondary Level

Secondary education takes four years. In general there is marked drop in the number of girls in secondary schools. The diversification programme of secondary education launched in 1970 was a direct response to the government policy on education for self-reliance. The aim was to make secondary school education a useful end is itself and not just a preparation for higher education. Accordingly, schools were required to specialise in either science, agriculture, technical education, business education or home economics. Hence, science and technical education are optimal for both girls and boys at this level. Very few girls opt for these subjects (Sekwao, 1990).

In Tanzania, girl's secondary schools have not traditionally offered technical subjects such as masonry and brick laying, mechanics, carpentry, electronics, electrical fitting and installation, etc. Girls were not offered such subjects until 1976, when two of the public boys' technical schools were converted into co-educational and started enroling girls. Two more such schools started enroling girls in 1988 and 1989. At present there is a total of ten technical secondary schools in the country. Girls comprise 12% of the total enrolment in these schools and teachers comprise 17% (1996, See table 1).

The heads of co-educational secondary schools interviewed indicated that most girls did not perform as well as boys in mathematics, science and technical subjects, but performed as well as boys in arts subjects (Sekwao, 1990). Female students were said to lack concentration, interest, ambition and confidence in these subjects. They also had negative attitude towards them. The majority of teachers of mathematics, science and technical subjects at this level, are males (see table 1).

Table 1: Public Technical Secondary Schools

Name of School

Student enrolment

Teachers


Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Total

BWIRU BOYS TECHN.

313

0

313

30

1

31

IFUNDA TECHN.

655

154

809

51

6

57

IYUNGA TECHN.

864

0

864

54

13

67

MAZENGO TECHN.

1076

68

1144

64

12

76

MOSHI TECHN.

792

151

943

56

21

77

MUSOMA TECHN.

678

81

759

34

07

41

TANGA TECHN.

678

153

823

42

11

53

MTWARA TECHN.

397

119

516

33

7

41

TOTAL

5445

726

6171

364

78

442

Private Technical Secondary Schools

MINJA TECHN.

126

29

155

23

1

24

IHANJA TECHNICAL

312

99

411

10

3

13

TOTAL

438

128

566

33

4

37

GENERAL TOTAL

5883

854

6737

397

82

479

PERCENTAGE


12,7%



17,1%


Source: Ministry of Education and Culture, Technical Section.

Health is taught in some secondary schools in the form of family life education. Environmental education is also taught at this level. Both of these programmes have just been introduced and are still in the pilot stage.

The Tertiary Level

There are three technical colleges at present in Tanzania that offer post-secondary technical education. They provide three year courses for attaining a Full Technician Certificates (FTC) in Laboratory Technology, Architecture, Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics and Telecommunication and Automobile Engineering. Candidates for admission are mainly drawn from up to 70% technical secondary schools. A provision has been made by the government for girls from ordinary secondary schools with good passes in mathematics and science subjects to join these colleges.

The actual number and percentage of girls enroling in technical colleges has been declining for 11.2% in 1985 to 5.9%

Table 2: Enrolment in Technical College by Gender
(i) Enrolment at Dar-Es-Salaam Technical College


1985

1995


Female

Male

Total

Female

Male

Total

FTC MECH. ENG.

1

168

169

0

156

156

FTC CIVIL ENG.

0

264

264

2

236

238

FTC ELECT. ENG.

21

131

152

0

161

161

FTC. ELECT. & TELECOM ENG

26

63

89

25

54

79

FTC LAB. TECH

14

71

85

11

57

68

SUB - TOTAL

62

697

759

38

664

702

PERCENTAGE

8

92


5

95


DIP. MECH. ENG

0

60

60

0

0

0

DIP. CIVIL ENG.

1

54

55

1

22

23

DIP. ELECTR. ENG.

15

42

57

0

0

0

DIP. ELECTR. & TELECOM. ENG

18

32

50

2

24

26

SUB - TOTAL

34

188

222

3

46

49

PERCENTAGE

15

85


6

94


GRAND TOTAL

96

885

981

41

710

757

PERCENTAGE

10%

90%


5%

95%


Source: Dar-Es-Salaam Technical College

Table 3
(ii) Enrolment At The Technical College, Arusha


1985

1995


Female

Male

Total

Female

Male

Total

FTC Mech. Eng.

1

96

97

8

83

91

FTC Elect. Eng.

53

45

98

29

75

104

FTC. Civil Eng.

10

90

100

11

88

99

FTC. Auto Eng.

1

96

97

0

92

92

FTC. Highway Eng.

0

0

0

3

74

77

Total

65

327

392

5

412

463

Percentage

17

83


11

89


Source: Arusha Technical College

Table 4
(iii) Enrolment At Mbeya Technical College

FTC Mech. Eng.

1987/88

1995


0

63

63

0

139

139

FTC. Elect. Eng.

0

68

68

5

154

159

FTC. Civil Eng.

0

91

91

3

163

166

FTC. Architecture

0

48

48

3

65

68

Total

0

270

270

11

521

532

Percentage

0

100


2

98


Source: MBEYA Technical College

In reference to gender streaming, females are found to concentrate in specific “soft technical fields such as electrical, electronics and telecommunications and laboratory technology. They avoid mechanical and civil engineering. Most girls who join technical colleges do not opt for the teaching profession. This results in having very few female teachers in technical and vocational Colleges” (Lynch, 1990).

Table 5: Teaching Staff at Technical Colleges

Institutions

1986

1996


Female

Male

Total

Female

Male

Total

Dar-Es-Salaam

14

117

131

16

97

113

Arusha

1

72

73

5

56

61

Mbeya

1

25

100

5

53

58

Total

16

214

230

26

206

232

Percentage

6.9

93.1


11.2

88.8


Vocational Education and Training

Vocational education training is done in four areas i.e. training, implant and apprenticeship skills, evening courses for upgrading skills, trainings of instructors and plant supervisors. Currently there are 20 Vocational Training Centres which teach 34 trades in a two phase programme of basic training (1-2 years) plus implant training (2-3 years). Except for some subjects requiring secondary education, the courses are open to primary school leavers. The objective is for trainees to pass the Grade III Trade Test after one year of basic and 1 year of implant training, the Grade II after 2 years implant training and finally the Grade I after 3 years implant training.

The Vocational education training has grown in response to the demand for post primary education and/or training. Girls' participation in basic training programmes has been increasing generally over the years, from around 8% in the early 80's to 25% in 1985. Although the rising percentages are encouraging, they are still low given the equal numbers of boys and girls of the potential trainee pool of standard 7 leavers. However girls participation has dropped to 16.7% in 1996 due to drastic increase in school fees. This has not affected the males so much.

Enrolment patterns indicate that there is a higher concentration of girls in “soft” trades, although some have taken advantage of increasing diversification to take up new trades. Girls form a large majority of trainees in tailoring (95%), Catering (95%) Secretarial and Computer Training (94%) Office Machines (68%). Trades with a very low percentage of girls are foundry (0%), Panel Beating (0%), Truck Driving (0%), Pattern Making (0%), Shoe Making (2%) and Carpentry (3%): (1995; figure, Annex 4).

Girls are thus not only streamed into traditionally feminine trades, but are concentrated in trades of low technology and/or low empowerment opportunities.

Table 6: Enrolment in Vocational Training Centres 1988/89 By Trade And By Gender

Trade

Intake



Male

Female

Total

% Female

Carpentry

304

22

326

6.7

Painting

42

108

150

72.0

Plumbing

108

77

185

41.6

Boiler Mechanics

14

2

16

12.5

Brick Laying

336

29

365

7.9

Welding

191

13

204

6.3

Blacksmith-General

20

2

22

4.5

Fitter-Mechanics

162

44

206

21.4

Machinists

47

2

49

4.0

Electrical Installation

144

42

156

26.9

Motor Rewinding





Electrical Fitting

16

4

20

20.0

Electronics

18

2

20

10.0

Tool & Die Making

14

2

16

12.5

Pattern Making

15

1

16

6.2

Foundry

21

-

21


Machine Tool Repair

16

-

16


Instrument Mechanic

14

6

20

30.0

Motor Veh. Mechanics

119

5

124

4.0

Truck Mechanics

26

2

28

7.1

Diesel Eng. Mechanics

19

1

20

5.0

Panel Beating

26

-

36


Laboratory Assistant

4

13

17

76.4

Refrigeration

13

7

20

35.0

Office Machine Mech.

12

24

36

66.6

Shoe Making

10

10

20

50.0

Couture

11

127

138

92.0

Mechanical Draughting

28

15

43

34.8

Civil Drafting

38

31

69

44.9

Printingie

10

19

29

65.5

Road Construction

38

2

40

5.0

Total

1838

624

2462

25.3%

Source: Paper presented by W.Y. Ofondiek on * Increasing the Role and Participation of Women in Technical & Vocational Education Training and Employment * at a CAPA Women in Technical Education (WITED) Seminar in Mombasa, Kenya 24-28 September 1990.

Table 7: Enrolment Figures 1995/1996 in Vocation Training Centres By Trade And By Gender.

S. NO.

Trade

Male

Female

Total

% Female

1

Carpentry and Joinery

330

11

341

3.2

2

Mansory and Brick laying

301

15

316

4.7

3

Agro-Mechanics

80

5

85

5.8

4

Electrical Installation

326

75

401

18.7

5

Motor Vehicle Mechanics

207

10

217

4.6

6

Welding and fabrication

330

31

361

8.5

7

Sewing

5

104

109

95.4

8

Plumbing

136

30

166

4.5

9

Shoe Making

10

2

12

2.0

10

Tool and Die/making

34

4

38

10.5

11

Painting & Sign writing

39

41

80

51.2

12

Fitter Mechanics

281

40

321

12.4

13

Ginery Fitter

16

3

19

15.7

14

Machine tools repair

18

3

21

14.2

15

Refrigeration and Air Cond.

2

22

24

8.3

16

Foundry

21

0

21

0

17

Boiler Mechanics

22

3

25

8.0

18

Diesel Engine Mechanics

25

1

26

3.8

19

Industrial Electrical Fitter.

21

4

25

16.0

20

Instruments Mechanics

18

5

23

21.7

21

Electronics

27

4

31

12.9

22

Industrial Electrical Fitter

12

5

17

29.4

23

Catering

1

19

20

95.0

24

Pattern Making

27

0

27

0

25

Motor Rewinding

32

6

38

15.7

26

Fitter Turner

72

6

78

7.6

27

Office. Machine Mechanics

11

24

35

68.5

28

Pannel Beating

36

0

36

0

29

Truck Mechanics

75

5

80

6.2

30

Secretarial & Computer Training

2

36

38

94.7

31

Truck Driving

8

0

8

0

32

Lab. Assistant

6

8

14

57.1

33

Civil Draughting

19

11

30

36.6

34

Road Training

13

0

13

0


Total

2583

513

3096

16.6

There are as yet no gender breakdowns on other vocational training programme i.e. evening courses. There are very few teachers in national vocational training centres in technical subjects. However, the potential of women instructors as transformative breakthrough role models is high.

FACTORS INFLUENCING THE PARTICIPATION OF GIRLS IN SCIENCE EDUCATION AND TECHNICAL/VOCATIONAL TRAINING

There is a wide range of factors which researchers like Kalunga (1988), Sekwao (1989), TADREG (1990) and Chonjo (1990) have identified as influencing the participation of women in science Education and Technical Vocational training in Tanzania. Some of these factors are “ formal” in the sense that they are a part of institutional policies, practices and procedures. Others can be described as “ informal “ in that they arise from stereotyped attitudes and beliefs about women's role and capabilities. These factors are complex and inter-related.

For the purpose of this paper these factors are aggregated into three groups:

1. Socio-cultural attitude to personality characteristics of women at home and in the labour market;

2. The image and practice of Science, Technology and Mathematics (STM);

3. Socio-economic factors.

SOCIO-CULTURAL ATTITUDE TO PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMEN

It is argued that the under-representation of women in STM education and careers is a consequence of influence exerted on them by society, parents, teachers and media through the socialization process. (Kalunga 1988, Sekwao, 1990, Sekwao, 1991). Our traditional societies placed the human worth of female children below those of male. In our contemporary society we do not need to look closely at a person's face to see the half-hearted congratulations offered to a woman who delivers a girl, especially if she has no male children. This is to say, in the traditional past, a woman occupies a second class position right from birth. This attitude has not changed much in the present times.

The Home

The influence of the home on children starts at an early age and a number of appropriate and non-appropriate differences in treatment of boys and girls can be observed in the type of clothes for babies, the choice of toys, the behaviour of adults to young children, etc.

For example, boys are bought toys such as cars, aeroplanes space, men, etc., which are believed to help them to develop scientific skills. The girls, on the other hand, are given toys such as dolls and toy kitchen ustensils which encourage them to be aware of the needs of others and conscious of their own appearances.

The effect of these early experience are that girls and boys tend to undertake different activities at home and pursue different leisure activities. These different activities provide different experiences for girls and boys. Boys' activities afford greater opportunities for familiarising themselves with ideas and concepts which are likely to be used in science, technical and mathematics lessons. It is argued that this familiarity affects their subsequent confidence in the subjects and their ability to see the relevance of tasks in STM courses.

As the parents nurse and interact with the children, therefore they consciously and unconsciously transmit the dominant set of beliefs and value of society. In addition, the children are taught sex roles. As the children interact with parents and other relatives, they learn the rules for living, gaining incite into customs, values and attitudes and socially acceptable behaviour by the operation of social learning and conditioning in which “right” behaviour is reinforced through a system of reward and punishment. These help to build up the children's self concept.

Boys are seen as the future heads of the families. They are encouraged to be boisterous, aggressive, competitive and assertive. But girls are taught to be quiet, conformist, dependent and be “lady- like”. The way parents discipline children is often different. Boys are usually given physical punishments which build them courage while girls are punished by withdrawal of affection. This tends to increase the girls need for affectionate relationship.

The sort of activities that the children are exposed to and required to do at home are in areas that are considered proper for a particular sex. Girls are expected to help with household domestic work, such as cooking, washing up and looking after their younger brothers and sisters. Boys on the other hand, are shown how to carry out repair work, fix appliances and construct things around the house.

Even when boys give token help with domestic chores it is not seen as a skill that they should acquire. Boys are encouraged to be explorative and to develop independently. These are the skills required in STM education. Girls are usually restricted, overprotected and given little chance to stand on their own. This narrow the girls horizon while the boys are usually adventurous. To emphasise what I have said so far, I will quote “A poem about a School girl” extracted from Janwani Girls Magazine, 1991. This poem was written by There vis Mnjangira, who was then in form three:

A POEM ABOUT A SCHOOL GIRL

Look at the school girl
A bag full of books on her shoulder
Early in the morning she hurries to school,
She catches a bus to school,
The teacher gives her punishment
Why is she late?
In the School
She studies all subjects by heart,
When the time comes
She remains at school and studies very hard
When the examinations come
She passes
In the evening, she arrives home late
Her father beats her,
When she wants to explain
Her father beats her again
She tells her father
“ Dear my father, I was studying at school “
Her father asks her,
Where your studying about men? “
The girl cries loudly,
Her mother comes to see
Why her daughter cries
When she asks the father
He beats her also
The next morning
The girl gets up and washes her body
She goes to school
When the bell rings
She flurries home
She arrives home early, her father is happy
At her home she works very hard
No time to study
When exams come
She fails all subjects
Her father beats her, why does she fail?
Oh poor girls, what will she do?
Look at the school boy
He goes to school early
When the time comes for him to go home
He remains at school
He passes exams
When he goes home, he reaches home late
His father calls his daughter
He tells the daughter to give her brother food
The father doesn't beat him?
Because his is a boy.

Let us now look at the socio-cultural attitude to personality characteristics of women at school.

The School

The main function of the school is to educate and pass knowledge on the children but it also performs other important informal social functions which include the suppression of socially unacceptable behaviour in children and the transfer of dominant values of the society to children. The teachers are social agents in the school. This way, the school reinforces what the children have learnt about sex differences at home, in the media and the environment. The formal curriculum is the same for boys and girls but girls are usually exposed to the so-called “hidden curriculum” through subtle means which the teachers may hot be aware of these includes:

i. Differential Treatment of Boys and Girls

Boys and girls are treated differently in the school just like in the family. Boisterous, aggressive and rough behaviour is less tolerated in girls than boys. Boys are given more challenging activities to do than girls. Such treatments undermine the self-image of girls particularly related to the so-called tough, rough subjects like science, technical and mathematics.

It is common to notice that many teachers think that STM is more useful and important for boys than for girls such teachers tend to concentrate on boys, who become more active of their confidence than girls in the classroom. Kalunga (1988), reports that teachers attitudes and different treatment of students during science lessons have two major effects:

a. Girls develop a negative attitude towards the study of these subjects existing inferiority complex

b. Boys look down on girls and hence magnify girls' already existing inferiority complex.

ii. Teachers Expectations

Teachers' own sex biases and expectations are reflected in their pupils. They consciously and unconsciously expect less from girls than boys. These expectations are picked up by the students with far reaching effects on the girls self-image. The girls may develop apathy to high achievement. Teachers'expectations have been found to affect students' performance (Sekwao, 1991) and hence student attitude towards subjects.

iii. Sexist Text Books

The erroneous impression that STM subjects are meant for boys is also conveyed in these subjects'text books. Most illustrations, diagrams and charts depict males, thus affecting the self-image of the female students negatively. Little has been done to revise texts or curriculum to encourage real change in gender relations.

The Labour Market

There is a lot of sex stereotyping in occupations for women in society, and women tend to conform to this. Schools perpetuate the identity of women with domestic and non STM occupations through books used in these subjects and other areas of the curriculum. These images and stories inevitably implant in children's' mind the norms for their career prospects. It thus seems natural for them to follow the path laid out for them, especially if there are real-life examples of this. There is a deficiency of career models in STM for girls. In most cases girls are not aware of the job opportunities available for them that are related to science and technology (Sekwao, 1990). There is fear among certain groups of women that if they are highly educated and particularly in STM, they will not easily get men to marry them. This fear is associated with some men who are afraid of highly educated woman especially in STM, who are thought to be unfeminine, argumentative, opinionated and difficult to control. Due to the society's low expectations of women and employers'reluctance in employing women, particularly in STM careers, women are assigned unchallenging tasks and have to work doubly hard for their performance to be recognized. This is discouraging and frustrating on the side of women.

It implies that women are assumed incompetent unless they demonstrate competence, while men are always thought to be competent unless proved otherwise. These considerations of women as a whole become particularly relevant when applied to women in STM.

The fact that STM was reserved for men, makes people view women in STM as new comers, with little to do or say in these areas. This attitude, which is not openly proclaimed, though commonly manifested in subtle ways, has led girls to be discouraged from taking STM disciplines which require a devotion supposedly exclusive to men.

The Image of STM

Through the process of socialization, boys and girls are trained along a stereotypical line of behaviour. The feminine characteristics -unassertiveness, conformist, dependence and unadventurous are not suitable for competitive life outside the home.

The girls have no high career aspirations and so they tend to drift to occupations that are labelled “feminine” such as teaching, nursing secretarialship, beautician. African society (including Tanzania) by its beliefs, attitudes and assumptions, have built a “male myth” around STM careers as being difficult and masculine concerned with objects rather than people, based on facts rather than emotions, and known to make people dirty and rough. For these reasons STM programmes and occupations are regarded as men's domain. Women, the “weaker sex” who are not cut out for rough life, but should always look neat and beautiful, are not expected to venture into this area. The effect of these assumptions on women is that most of them develop a negative attitude to anything in STM jobs that fit the above descriptions.

Socio-Economic Factors

For the past two decades Tanzania has been going through a social and economic crisis which has had adverse effects on education in general. Increased budget cuts have led to the cost-sharing policy, reduced supplies of training materials especially in science and technical subjects and decline in teachers incentives. All these have resulted in a severe decline in school environment and examination performance in general. The decline affects girls more critically not only because they need more attention to “ catch up “ but also as real reform or transformative efforts are shelved for other priority issues (Mbilinyi, et al, 1991).

The rate of inflation has also increased, thereby exerting pressure on real wages as the cost of living rises. The crisis in people's incomes has led to major changes in survival strategies for households and communities with an impact on their perception of schooling. Research shows that girl's chances for schooling are strongly influenced by the Socio-economic position of their families. Although there appears to be no simple, unlinear relationship between gender income levels and the decision to educate a child, gender and future investment returns are a major factor in this decision. The parents of a family that is financially constrained would rather educate a boy than a girl for the reasons that they are dependent on adult sons for “old age insurance”.

However research findings indicate an increased rate of investment in girls' private secondary education (TADREG, 1989). These changes reflect the gradual withering away of certain aspects of old, patrilineal system at least in some areas of the country.

GOVERNMENT POLICY RELATED FACTORS

In Tanzania, like in many African countries, there are no written policies that discriminate against employment of women. However, unwritten discriminatory mechanisms are instituted into the employment interview and selection processes to prevent a number of women from being employed, particularly in STM careers.

This is because of the practice of women interrupting their service with maternity leave; absence from work to take care of sick children, husband and house girls, the need to close early from work by nursing mothers to breast feed their babies and other household chores.

Unfortunately there are no policies that require employers to provide supportive facilities for women such as day care centres, transport and special considerations for nursing mothers. There should be policies that encourage employers to take the reproductive roles of women positively.

Lack of incentives and special packages to encourage girls to study is another factor that merits mention. The fact that scholarships and special awards are hardly given to girls who do not have the natural affinity for STM is reason enough for such incentives to be institutionalized.

The policy of “equal opportunity for all” with which most governments claim they operate on, is itself misinterpreted. It is not possible to provide equal opportunities to people who are initially on unequal footing unless specific steps are taken. For an equal opportunities policy to be fulfilled, much ground work needs to be done to put women on the same footing as men, particularly in STM education careers. Only then will women have equal access to the available opportunities in training and employment.

INITIATIVES TO PROMOTE THE PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN IN SCIENCE, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND TECHNICAL/VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

The Quota System

The government's initiative of increasing the number of girls in secondary schools by lowering the entry standards does not seem to benefit them within the secondary schools, since they are not given special help to compensate for their underachievement at entry. The positive discrimination enjoyed by girls resulting from the quota system of Form I selection ends at Form 4. The Form 4 national examination which sanctions Form 5 entry is competitive, although girls do enjoy a certain limited advantage regarding minimum entry requirements. Not surprisingly girls perform more poorly than the boys at “0” level examinations particularly in STM and thus proportionately far fewer in Form 5 than Form 4 and fewer still in STM.

The quota system for girls in technical institutions has also not benefited them. This is because very few of them opt for science subjects at secondary school level and fewer still pass them. Hence there are not enough girls that qualify to take up the places reserved for them in Technical institutions. In most cases theses places are left unfilled or eventually they are filled up by the boys who qualify in large numbers. This trend also applies to places reserved for girls in certain “A” level streams.

Making Mathematics Compulsory at Secondary School Level

The Government's initiative of making mathematics compulsory at secondary school level is not enough when girls do not perform well in this subject.

In general, increasing the number of Form One places for girls will not solve the problem of girls' poor academic advancement, especially in STM, without dramatic improvements of achievement and thus of educational standards in general through policies and legislation affecting the social attitudes of students, parents and society at large.

Financial Educational Support to Girls from Poor Families

This World Bank project is in its pilot stage and it is well appreciated.

INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION

There are efforts to provide self employment opportunities/skills training in Tanzania. For Example:

a. There are two streams for vocational: one for self-employment for skilled crafts persons, the other is for more specialized skills for the employment market. The level of skills and types of marketable trades delivered from these two alternatives are quite different. A trainee geared for hardly expect to acquire high level, Women will most likely (given the evidence of history) be streamed out of the higher technology skills and relegated to the lower skill, self employment stream. Entrepreneurship skills training has been introduced in some vocational training centres.

b. The Commonwealth Association of Polytechnics in Africa (CAPA) has assisted its member institutions in Tanzania to develop the capacity for incorporating Entrepreneurship Development Education (EDE) into their curricula. This is due to the problem of dwindling employment opportunities in the formal sector for graduates from technical institutions and many others.

These programme are for both girls and boys but it is anticipated that the girls will benefit more because they are the ones who normally encounter more difficulties in getting employment than their male counterparts.

FUTURE STRATEGIES AND PLANS

From the preceding discussion and analysis, we have observed a number of areas which constrain women's participation in education in general and in science, technical/vocational education specifically.

In order to facilitate women's integration and benefits from these forms of education, priority targets should therefore be:

- to increase women's enrolment in secondary education in general and in science an technical/vocational education, specifically;

- to diversify the range of Women's subjects specialization; to revise and enlarge or transform the curriculum to attract and benefit women;

- to gender sensitive students, teachers, parents and policy makers for transformation;

- to support, encourage and motivate transformative teachers to further their efforts in science, technical/vocational education;

- to ensure equitable employment opportunities, marketability and adequate wage for skill and training levels;

- to seek and recruit women instructors for technical fields;

- to make an in depth study analyses and prioritize factors which lead to gender streaming and poor performance of girls in STM subjects, in order to take appropriate action

- to target negative gender relations through measures such as career and exposure campaigns and promotion of role models;

- to assess the impact of educational factors such as methodology, curriculum and classroom relations;

- to have a concrete national strategy to promote and popularise science and technology;

- to have affirmative action measures which are accompanied by remedial measures;

- to have a deliberate policy to increase women's participation in science and technical/vocational education.