On Tuesday, July 6, the Faculty of Educational Studies (FES) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) inaugurated a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Committee to support the University’s affiliate Colleges of Education (CoEs) to address issues of gender, equality and inclusion by implementing their GESI Action Plans.
In 2020 the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) developed a National GESI Strategy and Action Plan for Teacher Education to ensure that, by 2025, Ghana has a responsive teacher education system that genuinely promotes equality and inclusion.
The GESI Strategy aims to achieve this through six specific objectives:
- Increase representation of females at all levels of teacher education.
- Facilitate effective implementation of GESI policies and related issues in Colleges of Education.
- Enhance inclusion and empower marginalized groups within teacher education.
- Create a safe teaching and learning environment for students, tutors and staff of Colleges of Education.
- Expand and improve infrastructure to achieve GESI objectives.
- Influence attitudes, behaviours and practice through communications and advocacy.
All five of KNUST’s affiliated Colleges of Education have developed GESI Action Plans to ensure that these objectives are achieved within their institutions. These Colleges are Akrokerri CoE, Wesley CoE, E.P. CoE, Bimbilla, St Joseph’s CoE and Tamale CoE.
The Dean of FES-KNUST, Dr. Winston Kwame Abroampa, Faculty members, Gender Champions from the 5 affiliated Colleges of Education and T-TEL staff were all present at the inauguration.
The Dean officially inaugurated the seven-member Committee and charged them to support, guide and work closely with the CoEs in their GESI efforts. Members of the GESI Committee are Dr. Mrs. Rebecca Essel –Chairperson, Mrs. Susan Asamoah – Registrar, KNUST, Mr. Samuel Antwi – STS Coordinator, Dr. Alice Kokor – Lecturer, Dr. Dacosta Aboagye – PD Coordinator, Mrs. Abigail Anderson – Registrar, KNUST, and Phoebe Ntewusu-Student Representative, KNUST.
The Dean of FES explained that the Committee is expected to ‘’provide the needed support in a coordinated and efficient manner to help the colleges implement their GESI Action Plans within the stipulated time’’. He advised the Committee to hold regular interactions with the colleges who have developed their GESI Action Plans. He suggested that each member of the Committee should be made responsible for each college to help coordination and reporting. “…Your first task as committee members, among other things, is to familiarise yourselves with each College’s GESI Action Plan to be able to provide them [CoEs] the needed support”.
In her response on behalf of the Committee, Dr Essel said, ‘’…GESI Action Plans drawn at the colleges will go a long way in addressing GESI inequalities’’. … We need to ensure there is no discrimination between males and females in addressing GESI issues … ’’. She assured the University that the Committee would work to justify their appointment as GESI Committee members.
Following the inaugural ceremony, each of the five colleges presented progress against their GESI Action Plans to Committee members. This was followed by a session on the roles and responsibilities of the Committee facilitated by Ms. Dinah Adiko, T-TEL’s GESI Key Advisor. Her presentation highlighted the Need for GESI, GESI Gaps in Teacher Education, CoEs GESI Progress, and the National Teacher Education GESI Strategy.
Colleges then presented some of the achievements made over the last twelve months including: increased female admission; encouraging females to contest for leadership roles; making college policies more GESI responsive; creating awareness of GESI issues among staff and students; extending tutor advertisements to allow female candidates to apply for teaching staff positions and providing training for Safe Space Focal Persons and Gender Champions.
With the inauguration of the KNUST GESI Committee these Colleges have confidence that even greater progress will be made in achieving their GESI objectives over the coming years.