n the same week International Women’s Day was marked the OU Teacher in Education in Sub Saharan Africca (TESSA) Access to Teaching Scholarship programme in Malawi has been named one of the 50 Ideas and Solutions Improving the Lives of Girls and Women Worldwide, by the global advocacy organisation ‘Women Deliver’ in the Educational Initiatives category.

Access to Teaching Scholarship was nominated because of the impact it has had on girls and women in Malawi where it recruits women to become teachers in their own rural communities.

This is badly needed as the World Bank has estimated that the current supply of teachers in Malawi cannot meet rising educational demands.

Female teachers are particularly scarce, of all teachers in the country, only 38% are female and in rural areas the number is even smaller.

The Access to Teaching Scholarship programme addresses this gap by facilitating Learning Assistant roles in schools for scholarship recipients and assisting women to re-take secondary school exams, a requirement for admittance to teacher education programs.

This innovative model of work-based learning addresses barriers to female continuing education and chronic teacher shortages.

The scholarship offers rural women a chance to develop teaching skills while providing young girls with local role models.

As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child–but it takes just one dedicated female teacher to inspire a whole classroom full of young girls.

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