Tue | Oct 19, 2021

Gender policy in education could help tackle society’s ills, says Dunn

Published:Monday | April 29, 2019 | 12:05 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Dr Leith Dunn
Dr Leith Dunn


If the nation integrates gender in education, it will produce a better return on investment and better educational outcomes.

That’s the word from Dr Leith Dunn, head of the Institute of Gender and Development Studies at The University of the West Indies, Mona.

“We invest a lot in education, but a lot of our children and young people fall through the cracks,” said Dunn, who was delivering the keynote address at the recent Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) education conference on gender and the teaching profession in Montego Bay.

“If we can somehow integrate gender into our curriculum, our teaching, our disciplines, and all our training, it means everyone will benefit more,” she said.

Gender policy for education needed

According to the educator, the nation needs to have a national gender policy for education if equitable returns are to be generated from the education system.

“We need to have a national gender policy for education to ensure that we achieve the goals of Vision 2030 and to have more equitable outcomes from our education system,” said Dunn. “Gender is a class-cutting issue, so we look at it in terms of class, race and special needs, we look at the differentials – so if you tackle that, it means that you can tailor your education, your teaching and learning to meet the needs of each group.”

Dunn said that while there is a national policy on gender equality, there’s no specific policy on gender in education.

“We do not have a gender policy for education, so if you had a gender policy for the education sector, it would mean that you could look at closing the gaps at early childhood, primary, secondary, and tertiary, but also address the special needs of our students,” said Dunn.

“And also, in terms of the teaching profession, it means you could have gender in teacher education so that down the road, we can change a lot of the attitudes and behaviours that are problematic for us today,” the educator said. “I am talking about anything from poor driving, the crime and violence, the battering and killing of our children and women, and the murder that is committed.”