Empowering Adolescent Girls and Women: Promoting equitable education, literacy and lifelong learning

Adolescent girls and women in a literacy class in Nepal

Empowering Adolescent Girls and Women: Promoting equitable education, literacy and lifelong learning

Nepal has identified two main challenges for the educational sector, namely access to (secondary) education in general and for girls in particular as well as the quality of the education. With the Gender Parity Index of 0.497, the disparities between boys and girls in school enrolment ratio, completion rate of secondary education, school life expectancy are still immense in Nepal.

The project “Empowering Adolescent Girls and Women: Promoting equitable education, literacy and lifelong learning” aims to support the Ministry of Education for ensuring equitable and quality basic and secondary education for especially adolescent girls and women through both formal and non-formal means of education in selected districts of Nepal.The project is supported by Malala’s Fund for Girls’ Education and it will contribute to Government of Nepal’s endeavors to achieve national goals in literacy, thereby realizing, in particular, EFA Goal 2,3,4, and 5.

Project duration:          June 2015 – December 2016

Budget:                           USD 300,000


Project Background

The recent Nepal Living Standards Survey III 2010/2011 indicated the access of only 71.5 % households to the nearest secondary school with huge disparities between urban and rural settings. General statistics on education in Nepal reveal a gender gap. While 39.9 per cent of the male Nepalese population enjoys some secondary education, only 17.9 per cent of female Nepalese population enjoys some secondary education.

Although gender parity in enrolment is now achieved at the national level, girls from remote districts, in the lowest income quintile, and from vulnerable population groups tend to drop out from school, especially in higher grades.  There are a number of barriers accessing education particularly for girls such as level of income, geographical distance, willingness of parents, early marriage, cost of schooling, availability of trained female teachers, gender based violence, learning environment and above all quality of secondary education.  For instance, in the Mid- and Far-Western regions, nearly 66 per cent of the poorest adolescent girls are married before the age of 18 years, while nine per cent of all girls are married before the age of 14 years. Another challenge of the educational sector is the quality of Nepalese education. In 2011, only 45 per cent of grade 10 students from public/community schools passed the School Leaving Certificate examination. This percentage is much lower for girls. Similar situation prevails in the field of literacy for all with serious differences between girls and boys, males and females, urban and rural and income quintiles. 

Although there are many legal provisions now in place regarding the educational participation of all including the disadvantaged, there is still a lack of implementation mechanism to ensure effective translation of the provisions into reality. One problem is that the inertia of social/cultural values tends to override the legal provisions. In particular the quality of gender environment in schools and educational workplaces lacks improvement as gender needs are not even reflected in the education development planning in many instances. Therefore, a crucial need is to review policies, programs and their implementation in practices in order to improve gender equality.


Project Objectives

 The project aims to 

·         Ensure provision of comprehensive basic and secondary education (grade 6-12; ages 10-18) integrated with health issues and life skills to all adolescent girls in Nepal

·         Strengthen basic and secondary education to school dropout and out of school adolescent girls  through non formal means of education by using CLCs and ICT

·         Enhance capacity of CLCs  to mobilize and engage local level stakeholders in the promotion of girls’ basic and secondary education  at local level

Project Strategy

·         Consolidating and adopting the CLC into the national educational policy and future strategy.

·         Supporting CLCs to focus on the girls’ education and for the development of community-based and demand-driven approaches to non-formal education for those who missed and cannot return to formal education due to a variety of reasons.

·         Supporting and guiding secondary school girls to increasing their chances of succeeding in the SLC examinations. The project will encourage girls who obtain the SLC to become teachers in their native areas; thereby helping primary schools in remote areas to recruit the minimum quota of female teachers as advocated by the government.  This should also encourage female students to enroll in schools.

·         Exploring vocational training opportunities for women with a post-literacy level in the communities and for them developed.

·         Building demand for education by engaging political and other leaders to strengthen communities’ commitment. Extensive evidence shows that genuine effort supported by political and civic leaders to educate girls can dramatically increase girls’ enrolment.

·         Adopting an “integrated approach” to improve other aspects of life such as hygiene and health, measures against HIV/AIDS, improvement of living skills, and community development. 

Project Partners

The UNESCO Office in Kathmandu will closely cooperate and coordinate Nepal's Ministry of Education. The project will also work with NGOs and other stakeholders working in the same area as implementing partners. 

Related Links

Malala's Fund

Project Document

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