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from Zambia

Date: 21/05/96

ZAMBIAN traditionists or ''Bana Chimbusa'' have been urged to impart the vast knowledge about girl- children to teachers to help girls overcome cultural obstacles that impede their advancement in education and society.

A teacher at the Banani Secondary School, in Chisamba Nancy Oloro, said instead of restricting their teachings to those who have reached puberty, and concentrating on sex education during the girl's confinement, the 'Bana Chimbusa' should have enormous knowledge on girls' behaviour which they could share with school authorities which could help the teachers in their work to mould the girls into bettercitizens.

Ms Oloro said,'' the elderly women have information on the behaviour of girls, which if shared with those of us who are still young, could help us in our work since we spend most of our time with the girls at school.

She said 'Bana-Chimbusa' wait until the girl has reached puberty and concentrate more on sex and yet they have a lot of information besides sex education which could be imparted to young girls before they matured to help them grow up into better citizens.

''So the duties of Bana-Chimbusa should not be restricted to elderly women but to the young women since they deal with girls especially in schools.''

Ms Oloro, who was a participant to a one day bahaii organised workshop on the education of the girl child said cultural obstacles hindering girls to advance in education were numberous because the african society still treated boys better than girls and yet the role women play in society is very important.

''Society would rather educate a boy in preference to a girl. This is one obstacle which should be removed if girls are to advance in education,'' she said.

The seminar was a follow- up to the inauguration of the Banani Secondary School for girls, run by the Bahaii faith.

Participants looked at a number of issues including the importance of moral education,'' its place in the school curriculum today.

The participants felt career guidance in schools should be re-inforced to give the girls confidence in their work.

As a way of making society support the girls in their advancement, school authorities could invite outstanding men and women to talk to them on gender issues and on their work. This will encourage them to plan their careers.

''This will help build gender awareness in students. Another way is to use popular theatre, where students can be involved and hold inter school competitions and later national competitions to promote gender balances,'' she said.

The participants also looked at ways of assisting female students to develop a broader vision of education and the role of women in today's society.

Ms Oloro said women and men should work together as partners in development because no country could develop without the involvement of women.

The participants also discussed ''promoting partnership between the voluntary sector, private and government'' which Ms Oloro said was crucial to the development of the education system in Zambia ''these should be seen as one and not as separate entities because they are all for one purpose. The improvement of education in the country.''

She said all organisations dealing or interested in the education of girls such as UNICEF, FAWEZA and government should pull resources if education for girls is to advance in the African region.

At Banani school, various clubs have been formed in which girls are involved. The school which has 114 girl pupils has a 93 percent Zambian enrolment while the rest comes from eight countries.

''Since the girls come from different backgrounds, we teach them to appreciate their cultures as well as those of their friends. We teach them to live together as a family and appreciate each other's culture because this is the only way they can learn about other cultures".

On religion, Ms Oloro said, the girls learn world religion - they explore other beliefs and not only the bahaii faith.

©Copyright 1996, Zambia Today
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