[dehai-news] (UNICEF) Eritrea celebrates women teachers as role models for girl students

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From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (eritrea.lave@comhem.se)
Date: Fri Mar 06 2009 - 15:44:59 EST

Friday, March 6, 2009
Eritrea celebrates women teachers as role models for girl students
By Miriam Mareso and Kutloano Leshomo
Each year on International Women's Day, 8 March, the world pauses to
celebrate women's achievements. In the run-up to 8 March, here is the
story of one effort to inspire girls with women teachers as role models.
ASMARA, Eritrea, 5 March 2009 - The Hotel Embasoira in Asmara recently
hosted an award ceremony for women teachers, organized by the Ministry
of Education and supported by UNICEF. The event, a first of its kind in
Eritrea, celebrated the work and long-term achievements of 12 educators.
On hand for the ceremony were UNICEF Deputy Representative in Eritrea
Juan Carlos Espinola Ayala, UNICEF Chief of Education Dr. Ikem Chiejine,
the Director General of Research and Human Resource Development in the
Ministry of Education, Petros Hailemariam, and other senior government
The event was part of a government initiative to encourage women to take
up the teaching profession, increase the motivation of women teachers
and strengthen their work.
"The encouragement of women teachers is linked to women's liberation,
and this depends on the educational opportunities that the government
provides to women and girls," said Mr. Hailemariam.
Milestone in educational achievement
Mr. Ayala praised the commitment of the 12 women to their responsibility
as role models in their schools as well as their communities and
families. He congratulated the Ministry and all involved parties for
identifying such role models in a world where children are exposed to
mixed messages from the media - and where their values are often
corrupted by negative influences.
"This is one of the milestones of the Ministry of Education ... whose
work is particularly appreciated by UNICEF as they have taken the lead
in many issues linked to educational achievement," he said.
Each of the 12 teachers, two from each of the country's six regions,
received a certificate of acknowledgement, a dictionary and a
4,000-nakfa (US$270) cheque as a token of appreciation for their
contribution to educational advancement in Eritrea.
Inclusive selection process
The Ministry Developed criteria for selection of the teachers in
consultation with local school systems and UNICEF. The women were
honoured on the basis of their experience and exemplary contributions
within the school, the community and the family.
The criteria included the teachers' record of support for students who
may need extra attention to achieve academic results.
The selection process was designed to follow a bottom-up approach, with
students as well as peer teachers, school directors and regional
education administrators participating.
Overcoming the gender gap
Although women represent about 50 per cent of all teachers at the
elementary level, the ratio drops to less than 10 per cent at middle and
secondary schools.
On the other hand, unlike many other countries, Eritrea pays equivalent
salaries to female and male teachers.
However, teaching is still a male-dominated profession here. This gender
gap is generally due to lack of equal access to education for girls -
particularly in some of the regions - and complex socio-cultural
barriers that push girls to drop out before completing their education.
'I am very proud'
To provide long-term solutions to these problems, UNICEF is supporting
the Eritrean Government's work on equality in education, for both
students and teachers. In addition to the new awards for women teachers,
other strategies supported by UNICEF and implemented by the Ministry for
achieving equality in education include:
Teacher training focused on professional development for women teachers
Community advocacy and mobilization for girls' education
Incentives to support educational access and school retention girls from
disadvantaged communities
Complementary education provided for over-age, out-of school children,
also with a focus on girls.
The recent awards were well received by the teachers. One honouree,
Tsehainesh Hagos Hailu from Medeber Elementary School, said the award
will motivate her to work even harder.
"This gives me an opportunity to do my best in the future," she said. "I
am very proud of myself, my country, my Ministry and the teachers'

 UNICEF Image <http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/images/ibc-1-039.jpg>

 UNICEF Image <http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/images/ibc-2-017.jpg>



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