Education is an important thing in shaping individuals to have a good knowledge and identity in life. Throughout the world, education has become the basis of community transformation. Each country is concerned with the development of education and is constantly improving their level of education to be better. Education can be seen as both an objective and component of development, as well as fundamental to the broader notion of expanded human capabilities that lie at the heart of the meaning of development as stated by Todaro and Smith (2011).
Among the issues that still hit the education process around the world, especially in developing countries are issues of gender equality in accessing education. Although the world has changed, this issue of gender equality still exists. Various measures and policies are implemented by governments in each country to address the challenges of gender equality issues in education. But, the reality is, this issue is still occurring in many countries including Vietnam.
In this exciting task, I was required to carry out a critical review of an article relating to education and gender equality. The article titled “The Challenges of Ensuring Gender Equality in Vietnamese and English High Schools – Espoused and real commitments”. This study was conducted by Mark Brundrett and Mai Thi Thuy Dung from the School of Education, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom. Before we proceed with a critical review, let us examine the definition of education and gender equality.
Definition of education.
According to Cambridge dictionary, education is define as “the process of teaching or learning, especially in a school or college, or the knowledge that you get from this”. It means education is closely related to the process of teaching and learning process among people. Education also a process for finding truth and knowledge as well as finding discoveries in various matters. As John Dewey (1916) states, education is a social process that is a life process and not a preparation for future life. It shows that the education process is always in the life of every human being.
While Abdul Fatah Hassan (2003) define education as a process of conveying and acquiring knowledge to develop intellectual and human self-confidence. By doing so, it will increase maturity to give opinions and argue in real life. Education also educates people to think rationally, freely and well and also solve problems effectively. Overall, education is a teaching and learning process that aims to give and receive knowledge and educating people to think rationally, freely and well and solve problems effectively.
Definition of Gender equality.
Referring to the Oxford dictionary, the word gender equality means ” the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities”. According to the opinion of Ramya Subrahmanian (2005) he says: “Gender equality rests on, but is not the same as, achieving gender parity, or females being represented in equal numbers as males in education, although the latter offers a ‘?rst stage’ measure of progress towards gender equality in education.” Gender equality can be described as equal rights and opportunities between men and women in various fields including education.
Furthermore, Gender Equality means that women and men have equal conditions for realizing their full human rights and for contributing to, and benefiting from, economic, social, cultural and political development. Gender equality is therefore the equal valuing by society of the similarities and the differences of men and women, and the roles they play. It is based on women and men being full partners in their home, their community and their society (As cited in “UNESCO’s Gender Mainstreaming Implementation Framework” 2003). In short, gender equality is about the value of community equality between men and women in the social system.
SUMMARY OF THE ARTICLE
Article author name : Mark Brundrett and Mai Thi Thuy Dung
Article title : The challenge of ensuring gender equality in Vietnamese and English high schools Espoused and real commitments
Aim and purpose
The purpose of “The Challenges of Ensuring Gender Equality in Vietnamese and English High School: Espouse and real commitments” article is to comparatively examine the issue of gender equality in high school in Vietnam and England.
The most appropriate method of conducting research and determining an effective procedure to answer the problem of study is through interviews. Data gathering consisted of interviews with teachers in two high schools and the staff of a pedagogic university in Vietnam and staff of one high school and of the initial teacher training department of a university in England. Data were analysed using a combination of grounded theory, cross-cultural study and narrative analysis within a liberal feminist framework.
Based on the research conducted by the author, there is a list of main findings from the study conducted. The main findings from Vietnam include that despite a strong commitment to gender equality by the central government, both pedagogy and curriculum in Vietnamese high schools fail to promote gender equality, and that gender equality is, therefore, espoused rather than enacted. While, findings from England revealed considerable success had been achieved in gaining equality of both opportunity and outcomes, but that a more sophisticated discourse on gender in education needed to emerge.
Summary of the study
In the introduction of the article, the author began writing the article by recalling the history of the turbulent Vietnamese state. According to the author, Vietnam has fallen under the hegemonic influence of China and subsequently through the French colonial phase and the colonial invaders for centuries. In addition, the long-term feudal regime also affects the form of community thought. It has made the Vietnamese community a paternalist that creates the belief that boys are more capable of women.
The Vietnamese community has experienced a lot of positive developments since the US-backed government of the United States in the 1970s. But the point of view and belief that men are more capable than women are still persistent in their society although the Vietnamese government’s policy highlights gender equality and opportunities. The opposite situation prevailed in England where they enjoyed a relatively advanced and stable economy forty years ago. In terms of opportunities and gender equality is also better than than the Vietnamese nation.
Researchers focused this study on attitude toward gender equality among Viatnamese teacher educators, high school teacher and student. The author also compares all aspects with the same group in England. In order to strengthen research findings, investigators also investigated extant government policies, teaching pedagogies and curricular approaches in term of gender equality in Vietnam and England using the combination of grounded theory, cross-cultural study and narrative analysis within a liberal feminist framework.
The research on gender equality was conducted in high schools in Vietnam and England. The author also explains that this is intended to explore and find solutions to the problems faced by girls in both these educational systems and to propose possible action to address these challenges in both systems and school levels. The authors also provide suggestions on solving gender equality issues especially in Vietnam in the hope that each individual has the opportunity to access education regardless of their gender.
In addition, in the background of this study, the author discusses four things: theories about gender equality in education in developing countries, policy on gender equality in education in Vietnam and England, teaching pedagogies and gender equality in education and gender and initial teacher training (ITT ) programs in Vietnam and England.
In the method section, the author explains that research focus for this study is at the final stage of compulsory public education at high school level for students between the ages of 16 and 18 in Vietnam and England. The author also lists the research objectives for;
1. Explores the impact of government policy on gender equality.
2. Review the attitude of teachers, school principals, teacher educators and students for gender equality in high schools.
3. Review the role of curriculum and pedagogy in promoting gender equality in education.
The authors choose to conduct a qualitative study. The sample was taken from schools and institutions of higher learning in Vetnam and England. This sampling approach is aimed at facilitating the examination of the purpose of the study by focusing on the same sized schools, which are in the same phase of Vietnam and England.
In Vietnam, staff at two high schools and one at the university were interviewed. The author also named the two schools in this text as school A and B. Both schools. both schools are selected for being in different places. Both schools are good schools and offer expert curriculum and regular classes.
School A is located in one of the most developed cities in Vietnam and is managed by a local pedagogy university. School A has 743 students and 73 staff. In contrast, school B is located in a region in the central highlands of the country, which is the homeland of a minority ethnic group. The provincial B school economy is far less advanced than the A school district where most economies are still agrarian. While school B is similar in size and contain 1016 student and 92 staff. The sample consists of great teachers, eight class teachers taken from various subjects in each school, with 11 students in school A and 10 students in school B.
While the sample taken from the pedagogical university in vietnam also includes the vice chairman involved in the curriculum, the leader of the course for teachers of secondary school education and two lecturers in gender and initial teacher training (ITT) programs. Likewise in England, it is studied but smaller in size.
The interviews were recorded digitally and then copied completely. The initial code is built based on the transcript of the interview conducted. Study subthemes are identified through inductive approaches and so on to get the main theme.