2015 Volume 2015 Issue 50 Pages 66-88
This research focuses on gender-sensitive curriculum at Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) colleges in Ethiopia to find out how college teachers implement the curriculum and what factors are affecting its implementation. The study also focuses on what students learn from the curriculum.
ATVET colleges are senior-secondary level public educational institutions that aim to train agricultural extension workers operating in each village. Agricultural extension is one of the methods of adult non-formal education for farmers to introduce them to new agricultural technologies and information. Since Ethiopia is one of the countries that highly depends on the agricultural sector, accounting for 41% of its GDP and 85% of its total employment, the government considers agriculture to be key for national development and places special emphasis on the agricultural extension system. Agricultural extension is considered the most important tool for improving farmers’ productivity and production. However, the participation of women in agricultural extension is very low because most of the farmers believe that this kind of work is for men. The government therefore developed a gender-sensitive curriculum for ATVET colleges as one of the strategies aimed at making agricultural extension more women-friendly.
According to officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, the gender-sensitive curriculum consists of three elements: 1) providing a gender and development course; 2) providing gender-related activities through a gender office at each ATVET college; and 3) making classes gender-sensitive by each teacher. However, the teachers can decide the details of the content of the curriculum, especially with regard to making classes gender-sensitive. While the word “gender” contains several meanings, each teacher understands the meaning of gender-sensitive curriculum and implements it in his or her own way according to their personal backgrounds and experiences. Therefore, what happens at ATVET colleges should be analyzed carefully. There is no study focusing on gender issues in education and training at ATVET college. This research contributes to finding out what happens on-site and to enhance the curriculum, which is important to make the agricultural extension more women-friendly.
In-depth interviews were conducted with 16 teachers at two ATVET colleges, twice per person. The teachers were selected according to the department and subjects taught (nine teachers from specialized subjects and seven teachers from common subjects). The common subjects are gender and development, communication, business practices, and civics and ethical education. Also, group discussions were conducted with 23 students. All the interviews and group discussions were recorded and transcribed with their permission.
According to the interviews, the teachers implemented gender-sensitive curriculum in different ways, which can be categorized into four groups: 1) providing gender and development as a subject; 2) having out-of-classroom activities for female students; 3) prioritizing female students in each subject; and 4) including gender and female-related content in each subject. What they implement is closely related to their assigned subjects. Gender course teachers implement 1 and 2, specialized subject teachers implement and other common subject (communication, business practices, and civics and ethical education) teachers implement 3 and 4.
The common subject teachers, including gender and development instructors, tend to discuss what they teach under the name of the curriculum. They believe that it is important for the students to learn gender-related knowledge since they will work for rural women. The teachers portray rural women as oppressed, uneducated, and passive people who must get out of the social (View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)