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2017

Vol 6, No 2 (2017)

Special Issue on International Conference on Gender Issues in Higher Learning Institutions: An Editorial Preview

1. Introduction
This special issue of the Journal of Education, Humanities and Sciences (JEHS) is dedicated to
papers emanating from the first International Conference on Gender in Higher Learning
Institutions which was held on 26th–29th April 2017 at the Dar es Salaam University College
of Education (DUCE) in Tanzania. A few selected talks that were delivered at this
conference have been developed into journal articles published in this volume. The main
intent of the conference was to explore and reflect on gender issues, and on how best to
redress them in the context of higher learning institutions (HLIs); with the aim of realizing
the human rights and gender equality as speculated in various national and international
instruments. As shown later in this preview, the contents of the selected articles reflect
fully on this general aim.
An inaugural ceremony to the conference was held on the 27th April 2017 at the Dar es
Salaam University College of Education. The invited Guest of Honour was the Vice-
President of Tanzania, Hon. Samia Suluhu Hassan. Her speech was delivered on her behalf
by the Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Seniors and Children, Hon.
Ummy Ally Mwalimu (MP). In the speech, policy issues surrounding the education of a
female-child were profoundly articulated. In addition, Hon. Ummy Ally Mwalimu (MP)
urged the scholars and audience of the conference to underscore the importance of
gender equality and equity in HLIs.
Participants in the conference came from a wide range of HLIs in the world. From the United
States of America, scholars from Michigan State University delivered keynote talks on
gender issues in the United States, Tanzania and Malawi. Some keynote speakers came from
Trinity College Dublin, National University of Ireland and Dublin City University in Ireland.
In addition, researchers from University College Dublin presented their findings on gender
issues in Tanzania and Ireland. Matters surrounding higher education for girls in rural China
was presented Zhe Li. Alelign Aschale from Ethiopia talked about intergender violence in
higher education in Ethiopia. Kenyan scholars participated in the conference and delivered
presentations, some of which are included in this special issue. In Tanzania, scholars from
many institutions of higher education participated, but mainly from the University of
Dodoma, University of Dar es Salaam, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Mwalimu Nyerere
Memorial Academy and St. Augustine University of Tanzania.


2. The Articles
The contents of the articles contained in this special issue are consonant with the specific
objectives of the conference. The conference wanted to explore examples of good
practices in exploiting the power of higher education in promoting the equalities and
rights of women and men. The power of higher institutions begins with its pedagogical
contents. In this spirit, a team of researchers from the Sokoine University of Agriculture namely Judith S. Kahamba, Fatihiya A. Massawe and Ernest S. Kira—delivered a talk on the contents of the pedagogy of HLIs. Their article provides an argument that the teaching and learning environment in HLIs is not only gender-imbalanced, but also it is not well known on whether instructors are aware of gender sensitive teaching techniques; and to

what extent do they mainstream gender sensitive teaching practices in their daily
teaching practices. Consequently, they offer such a recommendation as the management
of HLIs should continue with awareness campaign and training workshops to academic
staff on how to apply gender sensitive teaching techniques through gender policy
implementation committees. In addition, they recommend that there is a need to develop
a gender policy implementation strategy to guide gender responsive teaching (GRT)
mainstreaming in curriculum and teaching.
Another scholar, Rosemary J. Mukama, presented research findings on practices that will
result into positive strategies towards fighting sextortion in HLIs in Tanzania. The main
discussion surrounds evidence given on sextortion, which entails sexual abuse resulting
from the misuse of power by an individual who uses authority to sexually exploit another
human being. In addition, sextortion involves issues related to corruption in HLIs. One of
the mechanisms suggested Mukama involves civil justice mechanism by way of civil
litigation or by way of quasi adjudication. According to her, civil litigation entails court
proceedings in a civil nature that has to be proven on the balance of probabilities.
Another specific objective of the conference was to explore critical factors and challenges
that lead to gender-based inequalities in the context of higher education. The article by
Ignatia Mligo presents the findings on gender differences in educational outcomes by
exploring views from student-teachers in higher education institutions in Tanzania. The
paper addresses issues related to the extent and conducts in which gender differences in
educational achievement are issues of concern in higher education institutions. Mligo
concludes that there is need to initiate research with a gender perspective on higher
education institutions to produce responsive and relevant gender policies, accelerate
their dissemination, and translate them into tangible actions.
Moreover, the conference was an arena for providing opportunity for gender activists
from higher education institutions to share experiences. Two articles from Kenya
provide the discussion on the expression of gender-related issues in literary works.
First, Mikhail Gromov’s article sets out to demonstrate the prominence of the feministic
mindset in recent novels of Kenyan writers of Swahili expression. It tries to demonstrate
that the novelists, regardless of their gender, are advocating the principles of equality,
parity and harmony in gender relationship as a constructive standpoint for the
development of the Kenyan nation. Second, Alina Rinkanya surveys the depiction of
resistance to gender-based violence in Kenyan women’s novel. Its aim is to assert that
in the novels written in the second half of the last century (1960s–1990s), the heroines
were mostly exerting passive resistance to the violent actions of their male
counterparts. The conclusion drawn from the novels surveyed is that feminists, and
among them women writers, are often accused by the modern adepts of patriarchy of
trying to establish ‘female dominance’ in the modern world. The survey of the novels
testified that feminists and women writers pursue quite a different aim. Consequently,

by depicting in their novels cases of adequate resistance to inadequate actions on the
male part, the women authors, whose heroines are presented (mostly) as role models
for the readers, offer certain inspiring examples.
Furthermore, the conference wanted to identify strategic opportunities to engage
national partners—including, but not limited to, gender-specific institutions—to
promote gender-based equality. In line with this objective, Margaret J. Bilinga engaged
her findings in this theme. Her article addresses the mechanisms and strategies in which
students engage in learning sexuality education. She opines that these mechanisms and
strategies are highly dependent on students’ attitudes towards sexuality education. Her
research explored students’ views on integrating sexuality education in HLIs. Such a study
is geared to inform the public on the best practices in the provision of sexuality education
in Tanzania. In the conclusion, Bilinga states that findings revealed that the majority of
students supported the integration of sexuality education in HLIs in Tanzania; one of the
benefits being that it will provide them with proper sex information that will in turn help
them from indulging in unprotected sex, and also protect them from contacting STIs.
The last specific target of the conference was to identify gender related needs particularly
with regard to capacity building of gender activists in higher education institutions.
Consolata L. Chua approached this specific target by examining the state-of-the-art of
students’ leadership in HLIs in Tanzania. Specifically, Chua explored opportunities for
empowering female students to successfully take on leadership roles in HLIs. The study
found that female students are generally viewed as lacking confidence to come forward and
contest for leadership positions; rather they prefer contesting for assistantship positions
under male student leaders. On the basis of this research, she opines that widening
participation in higher education has captured the attention of the nations, and is now an
international policy priority. As such, HLIs should implement special steps to abolish all
forms of harassment of female students to widen participation of female students’
leadership in HLIs.


3. Conclusion
With this rich scholarly work on gender, we hope that our esteemed readers, and of
course the audience of the conference, will benefit from the findings of these articles and
research-based discussions.
Prof. William A.L. Anangisye – Chief Editor
Dr. Amani Lusekelo – Associate Chief Editor
Dr. Julius Mbuna – Associate Chief Editor






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