Gender mainstreaming in the education sector is key to contribute to the implementation of the Rectangular Strategy Phase 4 of the Cambodian government, the National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023 and the Neary Rattanak 5 Strategic Plan 2019-2023.
These aim to promote gender equality at all levels and strengthen the role of women as a backbone of the economy and society.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) implemented the Gender Mainstreaming Strategic Plan in Education 2016-2020 to achieve gender equality in the education sector by increasing women’s participation in delivering education services and establishing social positive attitudes.
The content of this article will therefore focus on the promoting and mainstreaming of gender equality in education.
The Ministry of Education clearly identifies education as an important tool for ensuring equality and the empowerment of women.
An important factor in eliminating the gender gap is in striving to better implement student enrolment, teacher training and the professional development of curricula and study patterns across the entire education system so students can achieve good results and successfully graduate.
This is reflected in the implementation of the principle of equity in enrolment, such as in providing scholarships to poor students, particularly females, and constructing dormitories for teacher trainees and female students.
The construction of additional school buildings and the establishment of secondary schools alongside existing primary schools, as well as providing additional teachers and classrooms, aims to provide better opportunities for female students to continue their studies for at least nine years or more and graduate.
To enhance the capacity and roles of females, MoEYS has conducted training courses in administrative skills, gender awareness, gender mainstreaming in policy development and planning, as well as other programmes.
In response to Goal 4 on education and Goal 5 on gender equality of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Ministry of Education has set out a range of priorities:
(i) Ensuring gender equality in the accessing of education and the quality of learning at all levels, both formal and non-formal;
(ii) Increasing women’s participation in delivering education services;
(iii) Ensuring the building of a positive education environment and positive societal attitudes towards gender issues;
(iv) Ensuring efficient interventions and measures to increase access to education for girls, including with the strengthening of infrastructure and increasing the number of secondary schools, especially in communes;
(v) Creating interventions and other measures to ensure the retention of female students in schools, particularly with the continuing of learning from primary to secondary and higher education;
(vi) Creating interventions and other measures to promote and encourage female students to study science, technology and mathematics, such as with orientation programmes and careers counselling for female students in secondary and higher education;
(vii) Educating on sexual and reproductive rights in schools, gender relations and responsible sexual behaviour to prevent young pregnancy;
(viii) Promoting education quality through teacher training and ensuring that teachers are adequately compensated;
(ix) The Mid-Term Review of the Gender Mainstreaming Strategic Plan in Education 2016-2020;
(x) Developing the Gender Mainstreaming Strategic Plan in Education 2021-2025;
(xi) Continued training on “Gender-Mainstreaming in Teacher Training” in order to further support management teams and trainers at NIEs, TECs, RTTCs and TTCs;
(xii) Continuing training on the “Establishment and Management of Girl Counselling” to school principals and girl counsellors to help counsel girls with problems.
The results achieved by MoEYS through the implementation of the Gender Mainstreaming Strategic Plan in Education 2016-2020 are as follows:
(i) The enrolment of boys and girls in any form of early childhood education has been similar over the past five years, with the Gender Parity Index (GPI) remaining equal at 1.0;
(ii) The enrolment of boys and girls at primary school is gender equal, with the gross and net enrolment GPI ratios remaining within the range of 1.0;
(iii) The GPI for upper secondary is 1.3, indicating a higher number of female students continuing in education than male students;
(iv) The gross enrolment ratio at higher education was 12 per cent – 12.2 per cent male, 11.8 per cent female – in the academic year 2019-2020;
(v) Male and female literacy rates vary widely by age group and geographical location, with women’s literacy slightly higher than for men in the 15-19 age group, while in the 60 years of age and older group, the rate for women is significantly lower than for men;
(vi) Youth physical education and sports have gender equality between male and female students in volunteer programmes and youth capacity development, as well as in national, regional and international sporting competitions;
(vii) An increase in the number of women civil servants at all levels;
(viii) Women have been empowered in leadership through their participation in training courses and studying abroad.
The Ministry of Education has been implementing the Gender Mainstreaming Strategic Plan in Education 2021-2025 based on the progress and challenges encountered in implementing the Gender Mainstreaming Strategic Plan in Education Sector 2016-2020.
These cover all sub-sectors in order to eliminate violence, women and child trafficking, exploitation and sexual abuse, and to provide inclusive and equitable quality education
services to empower and further promote women in leadership roles and at the management level.
The vision of the Gender Mainstreaming Strategic Plan in Education 2021-2025 is to eliminate gender disparities with a focus on full and equal access to education services.
Its mission is to provide equal opportunities for all children and adults with the same benefits in terms of enrolment, retention and improved learning outcomes at all levels and in all aspects.
This strategic plan has as its objective ensuring that all children and adults are provided with equitable and inclusive access to education to effectively achieve quality learning outcomes.
To achieve this objective, MoEYS has set out three goals:
(i) Ensuring gender equality with equitable and inclusive access to education and good quality learning outcomes at all levels in formal, non-formal and informal education
(ii) Ensuring the increase of women’s participation in delivering education services;
(iii) Ensuring the establishment of gender-sensitive educational environments and social behaviour.
In order to achieve these objectives, MoEYS has set out the following strategies:
(i) Researching, analysing, disseminating and raising gender awareness from the national to sub-national levels,
(ii) Lobbying and advocating,
(ii) Strengthening capacity development and monitoring,
(iv) Gender mainstreaming in the learning and teaching processes through curricula, teacher training programmes, school management and the developing of a gender-responsive educational environment.
(v) Promoting gender responsive activities and monitoring;
(vi) Strengthening partnerships.
The Ministry of Education is committed to promoting gender equality in the accessing of inclusive quality education, lifelong learning opportunities and increasing the participation of female educators, as well as building a positive educational environment and positive societal attitudes in response to gender issues.
MoEYS, in collaboration with the relevant ministries, institutions and development partners, will continue to strive to implement this strategic plan to achieve the best results to benefit the future of the Kingdom’s children and the generations to come.