Gender Responsive Pedagogy in Early Childhood Care and Education Capacity Building Workshop co-organized by IICBA in Ethiopia

On 17 and 18 October 2019, UNESCO IICBA together with Addis Ababa University and the project team ‘Beyond Access: Improving Quality of Early Years Reading Instructions in Ethiopia and South Sudan’, funded by NORAD, organized a capacity building workshop on Gender Responsive Pedagogy (GRP) in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in Adama, Ethiopia. In attendance were 28 participants, including professors, researchers and master’s students from universities in Ethiopia, as well as practitioners of GRP and ECCE. Dr. Binyam Sisay, Program Officer, and Ms. Danat Tesfaye and Ms. Ruixi Liu, Interns, attended the event on behalf of IICBA.

The workshop aimed to equip participants with knowledge of GRP for ECCE, to identify its progress and challenges from global, regional and national perspectives, and to build networks to exchange and promote relevant research.

Dr. Binyam presented IICBA’s work on capacity building in Africa at all levels, emphasizing its role in strengthening teachers’ capacity through regional frameworks and national policy development, practical trainings, and evidence-based research. “Africa is the youngest continent with more than 60 percent of the population considered to be young” he stated. He then highlighted the potential and challenges of ECCE in Africa as well as the significance of GRP during this stage. Afterwards, he shared projects and resources on ECCE and GRP from IICBA.

This was followed by an introduction of the GRP in ECCE Toolkit for Teachers and School Leaders presented by Ms. Ruixi and Ms. Danat. The Toolkit is mainly produced by the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and VVOB - Education for Development, with contributions from IICBA and the African Union Committee. The presentation provided an overview of its objectives, users, structure, and practicalities. It also further demonstrated three major aspects emphasized in the toolkit, which are the importance of early childhood in forming gender concepts, the critical role of educating teachers and building the leadership of decision-makers with brief explanations about how to use the Toolkit.

Afterward, ECCE expert, Ms. Abebech Tulema, comprehensively presented Early Childhood Development (ECD) and GRP, regarding the concepts and practices internationally as well as in Ethiopia. In the afternoon, Mr. Biniyam Gebreyes discussed ECD in Ethiopia, including the history, progress on policy and implementation level, including challenges. Dr. Abraha Asfaw presented on the challenges of ECD specifically at policy level in Ethiopia. Thereafter, Dr. Moges Yigezu took the view back to the African experience, reflecting on lessons learned from other African nations and discussed recommendations from African Early Childhood Network (AfECN).

Dr. Binyam wrapped up three points from the Day 1 sessions with participants:

1. Issue of contextualization: There are plenty of resources, such as studies, publications, and trainings, but the core actions are to synergize them to match with national conditions, to learn from the history, tradition, religion, schools, and to make the best use of resources.

2. Issue of capacity: Policies and framework are no use without actual implementation. Capacity is not about resources and materials, but more relevant to knowledge, commitment, and understandings.

3. Lack of awareness: At this stage, decision-makers, including policy-makers, teachers or experts, do not pay enough attention to ECCE. Learning about advanced experiences from other countries and strengthening partnerships and leadership across the board are aspects we should target.

The second day of the workshop was used to reflect on the major lessons from Day 1, regarding perspectives of early grade reading ,and to discuss the way forward. The next GRP for ECCE workshop is scheduled for January 2020 and is planned to include more participants from teacher training institutions and ministries.

Find more about the toolkit here: