challenges inhibiting the participation of girls in stem

Report
CHALLENGES INHIBITING THE
PARTICIPATION OF GIRLS IN STEM
EDUCATION: A CASE OF 5 A- LEVEL
SCHOOLS IN GWANDA CENTRAL
Dube B, Nkomo D & Nyama C
STRUCTURE OF THE PRESENTATION
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BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
RESEARCH QUESTIONS
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
METHODOLOGY
FINDINGS
CONCLUSIONS
RECOMMENDATIONS
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
• In Zimbabwe and other developing countries, a notable
gender gap exists in STEM Education.
• The performance of girls in science education suffers
considerably from expectations and influences of society
(Boilock, 2010)
• The patriarchal nature of communities tends to stifle the
rights of the girl child.
• The gendered experiences that babies are exposed to at
early stages of their lives tend to influence their future
careers (Tenenbaum, Snow, Roach & Kurland, 2005)
• Educational attainment of parents also contributes to the
subject uptake of children (Simpkins, Davis- keom &
Eccles, 2006).
Background (ctd)
• Boilock (2010) : a highly math- anxious female
teacher can influence girls’ achievement in Maths.
• Depressed self confidence and self esteem creates
disinterest in the subject and eventually drop out
(Stake, 2006).
• Teaching strategies that suit the learning of girls
need to be adopted (Ogunkola & Olatoye, 2005).
• Global trends have led to paradigm shifts
pertaining to quality and equity issues
• In Zimbabwe, no policy biased to the girl child’s
education in sciences exists
Statement of the problem
• The girl child has traditionally been perceived as
having subdued participation in areas that
require highly specialized technical and
cognitive abilities.
• This has influenced lack of sustained
performance and eventual success in academic
practices they engage in, particularly science
education.
• In view of this ,one wonders what actually
militates against participation of girls in STEM
education in Gwanda Central High Schools.
Research questions
• Which teaching strategies are adopted in delivering
STEM education in order to foster participation of the
girl child?
• What available learning resources and equipment
enhance the participation of girls in STEM education?
• What support programmes or services are provided
to improve the learning of the girl child in the science
subjects?
• To what extent do administrative policies guide the
participation of the girls in STEM education?
• How do perceptions of teachers, parents and students
influence participation by gender?
Purpose of the study
• Assess the teaching strategies adopted in teaching STEM
education to girls.
• Evaluate the availability, relevancy and adequacy of
resources and equipment that necessitates participation
of girls in STEM Education.
• Establish support programmes and services that are in
place to improve the involvement of the girl child in STEM
education.
• Examine the extent to which availed policies give guide to
the participation of girls in STEM education.
• Analyze perceptions of teachers, students and parents in
influencing participation of girls in science education.
Methodology
• This study adopted a case study design of the
qualitative approach.
• The case study design is intended to afford
the researcher to study contemporary
phenomena within its real life context and to
use multiple sources of evidence (Yin, 1984).
• This strategy allows for the collection of data
that can be presented through themes and
statistical analysis (Creswell, 2005).
Methodology (ctd)
• Mixed questionnaires and focus group
discussion were used to obtain data.
• The population of study comprised heads of
schools, teachers and students in the five
Gwanda Central High Schools.
• A convenient-purposive sampling technique was
used to draw a sample for the study.
• The sample constituted twenty five(25) science
educators, five(5) Heads of schools and fifty(50)
female students
Findings
• There are no peculiar teaching strategies that are
biased to the participation and achievement of the
girl child in STEM education
• Some administrators play an exclusive role of
selecting subjects for A-level students, while students,
teachers and parents play a passive role.
• The available science laboratories have limited
modern equipment and resources to cater for all
learners, girls inclusive.
• Lack of science centres has an influence on the
performance of girls in STEM education.
Findings (ctd)
• Support services and programmes such as career guidance
and counseling are availed in schools, however, there are
not particular to STEM education.
• The cultural ceiling phenomenon in the society has an
impact on the participation of girls in STEM education.
• Girls are made to believe that they cannot pursue
particular studies that seem inappropriate for their
gender. The masculine image of science escalates their
belief.
• There is a dearth of regulatory measures aimed at
supporting the girl child towards STEM education.
Conclusions
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Girls, like their male counterparts, have a capacity to
participate and achieve exceedingly in STEM education.
However, relevant stakeholders need to consider the
following factors:
Implementation of teaching strategies that are
commensurate to the needs of the girl child.
Provision of adequate and suitable learning resources and
equipment.
Provision of viable policies and legislation skewed
towards achievement of girls in Science education.
Advocacy aimed at sensitizing or changing the mindset of
communities towards the competencies of the girl child.
Recommendations
• The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should
establish and staff develop teachers on strategies that
improve participation of girls in STEM education.
• Recruitment and selection of A- level students should
involve critical stakeholders and ensure that gender equity
and equality issues are addressed.
• The Ministry of Primary and Secondary education should
increase the pool of girls studying sciences by offering
educational scholarships to girls engaged in this field.
• The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should
source funding from Government and Non- Governmental
organizations to establish vibrant science centres, at least
one per district.
Recommendations (ctd)
• Interested parties should increase career guidance
programmes and services aimed at sensitizing and
encouraging the girl child to study sciences at A-level.
• Communities should design and implement advocacy
and sensitization programmes through available
media to deal with dysfunctional cultural beliefs on
the participation of the girl child in the sciences.
• Government policies and regulatory measures should
be more supportive to all efforts aimed at increasing
the participation of girls in STEM education.
References
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Adya, M., Kaiser, K.M. (2005). Early determinants of women in the IT workforce: A
model of girls’ career choices, Information Technology and people,18, 230- 259
Buck, G. A. (2002). Teaching discourses: Science teachers’ responses to the voices
of adolescent girls. Learning Environment Research,5,29- 50
Britner, S. L. & Pajares, J. (2006). Sources of science self- efficacy benefits of middle
school students, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43, 485- 499
Creswell, J. W. (2005) Educational Research, Planning, Conducting and Evaluating
Quantitative and Qualitative Research. 2nd edition. Pearson Education
International. New Jersey.
Hannock, B. (2002). Trend Focus for research and development in Primary health
care: An Introduction to Qualitative Research. University of Nottingham: Division of
General practice.
Hendricks, C. (2006).
Improving Schools through Action Research: A
Comprehensive Guide for Educators. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Johnson, B. and Christensen, L. (2008). Educational Research (3rd ed): Quantitative,
Qualitative, and Mixed Approaches. London: Sage.

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