Feminist research and boys’ schooling: gender equality and construction of African masculinities: an example of study of Africa-Asia Univeristy dialogue network.
Chege, Fatuma N.
MetadataShow full item record
Issues of gender equality and gender equity in education have been controversial for decades, and various studies have explored the problem from comparative as well as focused approaches. The Africa-Asia University Dialogue for Education Development (AA Dialogue) Network, an inter-university network of 28 universities (16 African and 12 Asian universities), is an officially accredited UNESCO-UNITWIN program, committed to conducting such studies following a common theme and framework. Participating universities are grouped into three themes that are key for EFA goals; A) Gender and Equity; B) Quality of Education and Educational Policy; and C) Teacher Professional Development. Many of our Gender and Equity group research explore access and retention among girls and women at the various educational levels (primary to tertiary) but few studies address gender in the context of disability, traditional cultures, or boys’ education. All AA Dialogue studies are guided by a human rights approach to equality and equity as well as the Education for All goal number 2: access and completion of primary education with a good quality, and the Millennium Development Goal 3 gender equity at all levels of education. In this symposium, we are presenting one example study from Kenya that explores potential/actual effects feminist research on boys’ education especially under girl-oriented programmes and policies. In Kenya, a few studies in the last decade are suggesting that, in specific educational subjects, the schooling of Kenyan boys is gradually deteriorating with a comparatively greater margin vis-à-vis that of the girls (Uwezo, Kenya 2010). Further, observations in some primary schools reveal that girls are becoming explicitly more confident than boys in engaging with schooling by quantitatively and qualitatively occupying comparatively greater learning spaces (UNICEF, 2008). It is under this context that this paper explores the basis of these emerging trends considering an argument that suggests that ‘as schools become increasingly feminised spaces, boys tend to develop their identities within restrictive concepts of masculinity rather than with schooling’ (Sewell, 2003; Bailey, 2003; Figuroa, 2000). Thus, this paper re-contextualises feminist research –theorising and methodology - by locating boys and men at the centre of feminist research alongside girls and women while concurrently underscoring the often elusive fact that it is by addressing the interests of both women and men as well as girls and boys that gender research becomes relevant in the acceleration of the attainment of the targets outlined in the EFA goals and the MDGs.