The Role of Women in Education

Sovichea Kon - Senegal


November 8, 2018

As I am sitting in a classroom filled with little youngsters between the
age of 5 to 7, I’m becoming more and more frustrated at the speed at which
the organization works. I have been sitting for nearly an hour. The lesson
has not begun. The teachers were standing around. The children are noisily
seated. In conclusion, everybody is wasting their time and eventually their
lives here. I could be out there doing something better by utilizing my
skills in a more efficient way. However, in the class, I was at a
disadvantage. I don’t speak much Wolof to be able to communicate. The
little kid does not speak French, least of all English.

As I am indulging into these pessimist thoughts, I start to ask myself how
can one spend time in a better way here in Senegal where the productive
output of the population is very minimal. If these children were not here,
they would have been running around their neighborhood all day long. Their
parents would need to go through the troubles of caring them at home. At
least being here, it can put them to disciplines, some learning, once in a
while learn something they are not going to be taught home. Of all these
reasons, it’s fair enough to say everyone deserves to be here, except I am
just impatient to sit and observe.

Speaking of patience, I had begun to realize one thing that the majority of
the staff member are women. One has a baby tied to her back the whole, the
others are between 20 to 35 years of age. The minority of staff who are
male, are not taking the teaching position, so in short, the teachers who
are educating these little children are only women. In a country like
Senegal, paternity deems more important and women are usually given a
secondary role to men where they are taught to be patient and take in
whatever life gives them. Given this societal context, we may then be able
to relate to my initial story which the teacher had displayed an incredible
amount of patience towards these chattering little devils.

As sad or ironic as it may be, just from the sample of the organization I
have been working with, the smallest class is about 50/50 split between the
two sexes while the oldest class is about 70/30 split between boys and
girls. I personally feel that girls should be the primary target in small
nongovernmental institutions because we know for sure that the government
will take care of the boys. Once educated, women have a lot of capabilities
in changing the fate of their families. At least if they become a
stay-at-home mother, they would be radiating their wisdom to all the
children. Given the example in the story here, we can have a more patient
generation of educators.

Sovichea Kon