Gender Equality in Education – Nepal

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Introduction

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) number 3 States to “Promote gender equality and empower women” through actions designed to “Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015” (United Nations, 2010).

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Working towards gender parity in education is a concrete and measurable objective, and an important target in itself, but it is not sufficient to ensure either the achievement of gender equality or the empowerment of women, for which a more holistic vision of gender equality is necessary.

In terms of education itself, gender equality is not merely a question of numbers but of qualitative and substantive changes in curricula, teacher and student attitudes, opportunities available to male and female students, the security of female students, the different pressures and demands that both male and female students face outside school, and finally the equitable integration of women and men into the labor market (UNESCO, 2003).

Gender equality means that males and females have equal opportunities to realize their full human rights and contribute to and benefit from economic, social, cultural, and political development.

Parity and equity are the building blocks of equality in education.  As noted in Gender and education for all: The leap to equality, “[g]ender parity and gender equality in education mean different things” (UNESCO, 2003).

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Parity is attained when the same proportion of boys and girls—relative to their respective age groups—enter the education system, achieve educational goals, and advance through the different cycles (UNESCO, 2003).

Equity is the process of treating girls and boys fairly.  To ensure fairness, measures must be available to compensate for historical and social disadvantages that prevent girls and boys from operating on a level playing field.  Equity does not imply treating all learners the same because many factors could disadvantage students in having a chance to achieve equitable outcomes.  Equity mechanisms such as scholarships have been used to achieve gender parity in enrollment.

Delimitation of Seminar Topic

The researcher mainly focuses on this seminar issues in the context of Nepal.  Researcher looks the situation on Nepalese context.

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Multiple Dimensions of Gender Equality in Education

There are four main dimensions of gender equality outlined in the framework; Equality of access, Equality in the learning process, Equality of educational outcomes, and Equality of external results.  The Gender Equality Framework has been adapted from UNESCO’s work in the development of the report “Gender and education for all: The leap to equality” (UNESCO, 2003).

Equality of Access

It means that girls and boys are offered equitable opportunities to gain admission to formal, non – formal, or alternative approaches to basic education.  Actual attendance, rather than enrollment, is a better indicator of whether access has been achieved.

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Equality in the Learning Process

It means that girls and boys receive equitable treatment and attention and have equal opportunities to learn.  This means that girls and boys are exposed to the same curricula, although the coursework may be taught differently to accommodate the different learning styles of girls and boys.  Equality in the learning process also means that all learners should be exposed to teaching methods and materials that are free of stereotypes and gender bias.

Equality of Educational Outcomes

It means that girls and boys enjoy equal opportunities to achieve and outcomes are based on their individual talents and efforts.  To ensure fair chances for achievement, the length of school careers, academic qualifications, and diplomas should not differ based on a person’s sex. Mechanisms for evaluating individual achievement should also be free of any gender bias.

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Equality of External Results

It occurs when the status of men and women, their access to goods and resources, and their ability to contribute to, participate in, and benefit from economic, social, cultural, and political activities are equal.

This implies that career opportunities, the time needed to secure employment after leaving full-time education, and the earnings of men and women with similar qualifications and experience are equal.  The four dimensions of gender equality are related, but that relationship is complex and not necessarily linear.  Parity in enrollment and greater gender equality in schooling can, and often do, coexist with inequalities outside of education.

The four dimensions of gender equality in education demonstrate that gender parity is not the only milestone against which success should be measured.  Educators must understand how stereotypes limit the choices and opportunities for boys and girls and obscure their needs and differences.  This understanding will help educators create learning opportunities that will enable all children to flourish and reach their full potential.

How to Empower Women for Gender Equality

In our country 5.5 percent primary age group children are out of school.  Here 22 percent literacy ratio gap between male & female and 42.2 percent primary level, 35.9 percent lower secondary, 17.3 percent secondary level and 12.9 percent higher secondary level female teacher are in teaching profession (Sinha, 2010).

Without empowering women we cannot achieve gender equality.  For empowering women we need to provide education for them.  Education helps to make aware of the women.  If women get economic opportunity then their status also good and they were empower.  Our society has governed by patriarchal thinking so to change the patriarchal thinking we need to raise social consciousness of women and men.  Most of the female are backward and they are only limited to household chores.  For empowering women we need to participate them in women organization and political involvement then they raise their voice in related field and helps to make policies for empowering the women.

Policies for Gender Equality

Different plan and commission report make some policies for providing gender equality. National Education Commission Report, 1992 mentioned to gives priority for women in all level education.

Higher Level National Education Commission (HLNEC – 1998) also written in his report to provide equal opportunity in education for women.  Gender mainstreaming was advocated in eighth plan and it emphasized to increase women representation at decision making levels.  Ninth Plan (1997- 2002) in his report written reduce gender inequalities in all field (Sharma, 2009).

Acts and regulations in the education sector do not explicitly discriminate against women. In fact, several provisions of acts and regulations provide for affirmative actions in favor of women, e.g., recruitment of female teachers at the primary level.  However, gender neutral provisions of acts and regulations ignore the existing gender disparities in the education sector and as such, indirectly perpetuate low participation of women in the education sector (New ERA, 2001).

Education for All (2001-2015), in his goal mention elimination of gender and social disparity.  For achieve this goal we need to provide scholarship & incentive facilities, conduct an awareness program and increase women participation in education (Gender Mainstreaming Report, 2011).

Efforts for Gender Equality

Different conference held for gender equality.  Nepal participates in different program and convention.  United Nation Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) monitor Nepal’s achievement and failure rate of gender equality.  Gender mainstreaming was advocated in eighth plan.  Ministry of Women and Social Welfare established in 1995.

National Women Commission has been established on the 7th of March 2002, on the eve of 92nd International Women’s Day.  Ministry of women, children and social welfare, and National Women Commission also works for women empowering.  In order to fulfill the need and for the effective implementation of National Women Commission Act 2063 and its Regulation 2065, the Commission has developed and adopted the strategic planning in 2009.

In the planning process, the core values/guiding principles of National Women Commission were Gender Equality, Social Equity/ Inclusiveness, Diversity, Participation, Independence and Autonomy, Integrity, Accessibility, Accountability.  Different INGOs like as United Nation Development Program (UNDP), UNFPA, UNICEF and UNESCO etc. are conduct programs in gender equality field.  Feeder hostel established for girls in 20 districts.

In 2009 November our Prime Minister announced 2010 as the year against “Gender-based Violence.”  In Nepal we see 33 percent women participation in leadership level.  Here is a provision of female quota system.  Government conduct empowerment program under Gender Mainstreaming Program (GMP).  Our government provides scholarship for girls’ education (Gnawali, 2011).

A review of major educational programs/projects reveals that they are in general cognizant of the gender issues.  Programs such as the BPEP and the Secondary Education Development Project (SEDP) have taken special steps to incorporate gender issues in their programs.  Although the program documents and designs do incorporate gender issues the ineffective program implementation blunts much of the impact of women friendly initiatives of the programs (New ERA, 2001).

Conclusion

Equality is necessary for national development.  We need to empower women.  For empowering women, education plays vital role.  Above data and condition shows that women are backward in every field.

In education field girl’s promotion rate, dropout rate and repetition rate has gap between boys and girls.  Female teacher ratio also low then male.  There is no parity between male and female.  It easily shows we need parity in education in our context.  If male and female have parity in every field then we need to equality.  At present context equality is not possible because if we give equality then male only get that opportunity and backward always backward.

So we need parity and equity which helps to women reach in men condition.  Our optimum goal is gender equality for it we need to change patriarchal thinking but we need gender parity or equity to achieve that goal.  Number of enrollment is not sufficient but how they get opportunity/achieve education is important.  Without empowering women gender equality is not possible.

References

Department of Education. (2007). Flash I Report 2007-08. Sanothimi, Bhaktapur: Author.

Department of Education. (2010). Flash I Report 2010-11. Sanothimi, Bhaktapur: Author.

Gender Mainstreaming Report. (2011). EFA Global Monitoring Report, 2011. Paris, France:         UNESCO.

Gnawali, K. (2011). Year against gender based violence 2010 and gender equality. Laingik        Samabikas Shiksha 12. 8-14.

Ministry of Education. (2011). Nepal education in figures 2011. Kathmandu: Author.

New ERA. (2001). Gender assessment in the education sector. Retrieved from yomari.net/contents/filedownloadservlet?fileidstr=2556 .

Sharma, G. N. (2066). Commissions report collection of Nepalese         education (3rd ed.).    Kathmandu: Makalu books and stationary.

Sinha, R. (2068). Millinnium development goal and women empowerment. Laingik Samabikas  Shiksha, 12, p. 39.

UNESCO. (2003). Gender and education for all: The leap to equality. Paris: Author.

USAID. (2008). Education from a gender equality perspective. Washington, DC: Author.

United Nations. (2010). Millennium development goals report, 2010. Washington, USA: Author.

By

Chudamani Devkota

Email – cheerfulcmd46-at-gmail.com

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