Title

Female and male mentors' views and practices about gender equality

Date of Award

7-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Professional Development Centre, Karachi

Abstract

Ever persistent gender inequalities in education have been subject of researches, scholarly discussion, and educational reforms in Pakistan for past decade. Education reforms, in particular, have explored possible impact of improved policy and practice on girls and boys opportunities of schooling. AKU-IED's Strengthening Teacher Education in Pakistan Project (STEP, 2008-2016) was one such reform effort, which aimed at integrating gender equality perspective in its interventions around improving the quality of delivery of primary and elementary education in the selected districts of Sindh and Baluchistan. The Cluster-Based Mentoring Programme (CBMP) was one of STEP's flagship interventions, which allowed a group of teacher mentors to help these mentee teachers of their respective clusters in improving their teaching practice. Besides improvement in teaching pedagogies and content knowledge, these mentors also focused on developing their mentee teachers' understanding of gender based inequalities in education and in society. Since these mentors played a forefront role in promoting gender equality in schools, it was important to develop insights into these individuals' own understanding of gender equality. This particular study, hence, aimed to investigate views and practices of two male and female mentors from a district in Sindh about gender equality. For this purpose, a case study method within the qualitative research paradigm was undertaken. The data were collected through observations of workshops and follow up visits of mentors, post-observation discussions, semi-structured interviews, and document analysis. The findings of the study indicate that both these male and female mentor had clarity on gender concepts. However, the application of these concepts in their work with mentee teachers reflected their struggle to maintain a balance between their theoretical positions i.e. gender equality and the socially approved conduct in local patriarchal context. The study further revealed that the female mentor faced consistent resistance from male mentee teachers who particularly contested the notion of gender equality. At times, these male mentees' participation in the workshops also indicated their disapproval of a female mentor assuming a position of a more knowledgeable person. The findings also suggest that the male mentor engaged male and female mentee teachers who generally followed his instructions throughout. The study showed that while both mentors were able to communicate different dimensions of gender equality through their work with mentors, their relationship with mentee teachers as well as their overall interactions with them were informed by the expectations of local patriarchal culture. The study supports the idea that mentors' (and teacher training faculty's) own understanding is fundamental for ensuring teachers are prepared for gender equality in classroom. The study recommends that the educators' capacity for gender equality is systematically built so that they can offer gender equality related programmes for teachers. The mentors (or educators) need more gender awareness programmes to keep themselves abreast to the challenge in the way of gender mainstreaming.

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