Factors affecting the participation of girls in technical subjects : The case of David Kaunda and Hillcrest National Technical High schools

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Ziwa, Stephen
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In Zambia, currently, there are only two National technical high schools(Grades 10 to 12) in which girls are enrolled.However, it has been observed that there are very few girls participating in technical subjects in the two schools in spite of their status.The concern has been expressed about girls in technical subjects who are very few. The incentives provided to the National technical high schools by the government to support technical subjects do not seem to be making any significant improvement in the participation of girls. This study was set out to find out the factors that affect the participation of girls in technical subjects at David Kaunda and Hillcrest National Technical High Schools.The data were collected through questionnaires and interviews. They key informants included: pupils who study technical subjects, teachers of technical subjects, school administrators, and the officials from the Ministry of Education. The findings from the study showed that peer pressure, intimidation of girls by boys, poor attitude by the girls and negative family advice were critical contributing factors to very few girls participating in technical subjects. The results also generally indicated that other factors such as lack of motivation by teachers, non-availability of study materials,and poor study strategy by the girls contributed to very few girls in technical subjects.These factors were however not significant.In view of the research findings, the recommendations were made, inter alia, that school administrators should continue to advocate for the building of technical secondary schools and send female teachers of technical subjects to those schools; train more female teachers in this area; make technical subjects compulsory; and provide better incentives for technical subject graduates as well as to provide institutional framework for the disinterested absorption of female graduates in technical jobs. The challenge is that girls require to be sensitized early in their education life span so that they understand that technical subjects and technical jobs are not only for boys and men but for girls and women as well.