'Halt fees' plea to close literacy gap

17th October 2003 at 01:00
Abolishing school fees is the top priority for governments in the struggle to close the huge gap between male and female literacy, say aid agencies and charities such as Actionaid, Oxfam and Save the Children.

This will be a major issue for the Conference of Commonwealth Education ministers meeting in Edinburgh on October 27. "The majority of children who are out of school are girls. If education requires an economic investment, families will first invest in boys, not girls," says Sarah Kline, Oxfam's head of government relations.

"Fees disproportionately punish girls," says David Archer, head of international education with the agency Actionaid. Ending fees has dramatic effects on school enrolment. Earlier this year the Kenyan government dropped all fees, and more than a million extra children enrolled in primary schools, an estimated two-thirds of them girls.

Aid agencies say governments must also include literacy programmes for women, and not just concentrate on increasing primary school places.

"Women's literacy has a positive impact on girls in school. Mothers have seen the value of education and begin to insist on it for their own children," Mr Archer said.

Increasing the number of women teachers and giving stipends for girls'

attendance are all important issues. In West Africa a scheme to provide chaperones to accompany girls to school has increased the staying-on rate.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now