site-preloader

Policy brief.. October 2018

Education for Girls

"There is not tool for development more effective than the education of girls" - Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary General
Executive Summary

“Millions of girls around the world are still being denied an education”.4 The issue of education for girls has grown in prominence within current global development and human rights agendas. Girls around the world face many challenges and disadvantages, including prevalent social issues such as child marriage, menstrual stigma, and female genital mutilation, that affect proper psychosocial, emotional, and mental development. In order to resolve these social issues, investing in girl’s education is an effective route to ensure safety, security, and the empowerment of girls in our society. Girls who go to school have higher self-esteem and gain the courage to resist violence and exploitation. Expanding access for girls to education helps empower individual girls and also, through their increased agency, acts “to improve the well-being of their children and transform society for themselves”. Equality in education for girls has substantial proven impacts on many other outcomes specified in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including reduced gender inequality, improved health and nutrition, and economic growth.  

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights, adopted in 1948, proclaims in Article 26: ‘everyone has the right to education’.

Sustainable Development Goals: By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.3

Female cumulative drop-out rate to the last grade of lower secondary education (latest available year)
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2012
  1. Devkota, S.P. & Bagale, S. (2015). Primary education and dropout in Nepal. Journal of Education and Practice, 6, 4.
  2. The World Bank. (2018). Girls’ Education. Retrieved from https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/girlseducation
  3. United Nations. (2018). Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/education/
  4. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2018). Global Education Monitoring Report Gender Review. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0026/002615/261593e.pdf
  5. United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund. (2016). All children in school: Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children. Nepal Country Study. Retrieved from http://unicef.org.np/uploads/files/927615134285223000-all-children-in-school-report-2016.pdf
  • 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school, and 15 million girls of primary-school age—half of them in sub-Saharan Africa— will never enter a classroom once in their entire lives.2
  • Only 66% of countries have achieved gender parity in primary education, 45% in lower secondary, and 25% in upper secondary.4
  • Girls are 1.5 times more likely than boys to be completely excluded from primary education; at the end of 2015 less than half of all countries had achieved gender parity in education at secondary level.4
  • Girls are less likely to ever enter primary school than boys.4
  • Less than 40% of countries are considered to provide girls and boys with equal access to education. Only 39% of countries have equal proportions of boys and girls enrolled in secondary education.4
  • 54 million of the 76 million illiterate young women live in only 9 countries.
  • Despite all international and national efforts, over half of children who are out of school are girls. 31 million girls are still out of school around the world.4
Country Example 1
A lack of adequate sanitary care for adolescent girls has several consequences for their education. In Bangladesh, a nationally representative study from 2013 found that 41% of schoolgirls aged 11 to 17 reported missing 2.8 days of school per menstrual cycle.4
Country Example 2
Poverty remains the most important factor for determining whether a girl can get a proper education. For example, in Nigeria, only 4 percent of poor young women in the northwestern part of the country can read, compared with 99 percent of rich young women in the southeast.2
Country Example 3
Violence also negatively impacts access to education and prevents a safe environment for learning. For example, in Haiti, recent research highlights that one in three Haitian women (ages 15 to 49) has experienced physical and/or sexual violence. Additionally, of women who received money for sex before turning 18 years old, 27 percent of these women reported schools to be the most common location for solicitation.2
Girls' education has a huge impact on all of society
Source: UNICEF, Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children, 2016
  1. Devkota, S.P. & Bagale, S. (2015). Primary education and dropout in Nepal. Journal of Education and Practice, 6, 4.
  2. The World Bank. (2018). Girls’ Education. Retrieved from https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/girlseducation
  3. United Nations. (2018). Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/education/
  4. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2018). Global Education Monitoring Report Gender Review. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0026/002615/261593e.pdf
  5. United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund. (2016). All children in school: Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children. Nepal Country Study. Retrieved from http://unicef.org.np/uploads/files/927615134285223000-all-children-in-school-report-2016.pdf
Situation of "Education for Girls in Nepal"
School dropouts among girls in Nepal:

The Ministry of Education of the Nepali Government is investing huge amounts of money on primary education for all children, but the result has not been significant. There are four major aspects of school dropout rates among young girls in Nepal.1
a) Accessibility: physical distance, social distance, and social discrimination
b) Affordability: direct, indirect, and opportunity costs of schooling
c) Quality: infrastructure, facilities, materials, and teachers
d) Relevance: curriculum-needs and values, skills, and employment

Source: UNICEF, Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children, 2016
Barriers to Girls’ Enrollment, Retention, and Learning Achievements in Nepal

Geographical barriers: The communities in Nepal are widely scattered ranging from hilly to more mountainous regions, limiting their access to services like education. The lack of infrastructure and proper transportation makes accessibility to education a challenging task to achieve for many people in Nepal. Unfortunately, schools in Nepal are established on arbitrary political grounds rather than on the basis of any geographical mapping, which has resulted in an inequitable distribution of educational institutions. Distance to school has a large effect on educational access for all children, especially for girls. At times, parents do not allow girls to attend schools located in places that are seen as socially unacceptable or beneath their status.

Psychological barriers: Schools in rural Nepal are not always girl-friendly. They do not protect a girl’s privacy and safety and do not meet cultural expectations. Most schools in Nepal do not provide separate toilet arrangements for girls. A study on the subject of sanitation suggests that when separate toilets are not available at school, the majority of young girls, especially at the secondary level, do not attend school during menstruation.

School dropouts among girls in Nepal:
  • Though there are several mechanisms that help promote inclusiveness in education for all children, reaching the children hidden away in isolated villages is one of the major challenges to truly educate all children in Nepal.1
  • Established policies and programs to address the issue of education for all children have never been sufficient nor efficient for providing rights-based education.1
Source: UNICEF, Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children, 2016
  1. Devkota, S.P. & Bagale, S. (2015). Primary education and dropout in Nepal. Journal of Education and Practice, 6, 4.
  2. The World Bank. (2018). Girls’ Education. Retrieved from https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/girlseducation
  3. United Nations. (2018). Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/education/
  4. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2018). Global Education Monitoring Report Gender Review. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0026/002615/261593e.pdf
  5. United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund. (2016). All children in school: Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children. Nepal Country Study. Retrieved from http://unicef.org.np/uploads/files/927615134285223000-all-children-in-school-report-2016.pdf
Recommendations to:
Ministry of Education of Nepal
  • Develop a gender-sensitive school infrastructure.. Gender-sensitive facilities can increase the time girls spend in educational institutions:
  • - Separate toilets for boys and girls students at educational institutions
    - Provide sanitation and feminine hygiene materials for girls
  • Position educational institutions closer to small villages and localities and ensure safety and security for girls.. Having a school nearby can boost the enrollment of girls not only because of the shorter distance to school but also because parents will feel more comfortable with a school in their own neighborhood.
  • - Establish as many schools as possible within a 15- to 20-minute walking distance
    - Create a direct bus route and provide school bus services for students
    - Place an adult monitor in the school bus and on the route to the school
  1. Devkota, S.P. & Bagale, S. (2015). Primary education and dropout in Nepal. Journal of Education and Practice, 6, 4.
  2. The World Bank. (2018). Girls’ Education. Retrieved from https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/girlseducation
  3. United Nations. (2018). Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/education/
  4. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2018). Global Education Monitoring Report Gender Review. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0026/002615/261593e.pdf
  5. United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund. (2016). All children in school: Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children. Nepal Country Study. Retrieved from http://unicef.org.np/uploads/files/927615134285223000-all-children-in-school-report-2016.pdf