Case Study 2: Classroom Assistants in Sierra Leone and Guinea
The Healing Classrooms assessment shows that it is unreasonable to assume that CAs can easily protect girls while they themselves remain in relatively difficult and vulnerable situations. For example, women who depend financially on the income from their job may be unlikely to jeopardize their position by reporting any misconduct by more powerful male teachers.
Although they are trying hard, CAs may not have an easy time promoting girls' education and gender equality precisely. Why? Because the CAs themselves have not had full educational opportunities nor have they experienced gender equality. For example, most CAs have not completed their own education.
The IRC can take important steps to support the advancement and empowerment of CAs and, in doing so, help them to be more effective in protecting girls. These steps include:
Encouraging CAs to continue and complete their studies.
Offering CAs opportunities for training and professional development.
Providing CAs with opportunities to meet as teams and share experiences and strategies to provide mutual support.
Reflection/Discussion: What relationships (if any) exist between the male and female teachers in your context? What about male and female teachers and/or educational supervisors? If men and women are teaching in the same schools, what are the differences (if any) between their status, roles and responsibilities? How do you explain these differences? How do the relative roles of men and women in schools reflect the gender roles in general in your community? In what ways are/could schools be places for teachers to challenge gender roles, especially those that are limiting to either men or women?
Click here to learn more about the Classroom Assistant program.