Education and Girls Essay
Education and Girls
This strategy is a first step to get us back on track. It acknowledges that we all need to do substantially more to help girls get into school. It reminds us of the value of education for lifting nations out of instability and providing a more promising future to their people. And regardless of whether they live in a wealthy or poor country, nothing has as much impact on a child’s future wellbeing as their mother’s level of education. We do not need complex international negotiations to help solve the problem of education. We just need to listen to governments, local communities, children, parents and teachers who know what challenges remain.
And we need to provide them with enough funding to put their ideas on education into practice. To this end, we plan to spend at least ? 1. 4 billion over the next three years. This money will provide additional support to governments and more resources to strengthen international efforts to coordinate action on girls’ education. The example set by countries like Malawi, where the Minister for Education announced free schooling and immediately increased enrolment rates, shows just what can be achieved when there is a clearly defined plan of action and enough political will to implement it.
In 2005, the UK will hold the Presidencies of the G8 and the EU. We will use our leadership role to make achieving gender parity in education a priority for the international community. iii Girls’ education: towards a better future for all As Meda Wagtole’s words make clear, keeping our promise on girls’ education will not just give girls better prospects; it holds the key to giving their families, communities and countries a better future as well. Rt Hon Hilary Benn, MP iv Contents Foreword iii Summary 1 1. Introduction 2 Education matters 2.
Education is a right – but it is still beyond the reach of many 3 A timely strategy 4 What prevents girls from getting a quality education? 6 Educating girls is costly for families 7 Girls may face a poor and hostile school environment 9 2. Women have a weak position in society Conflict hurts girls most Tackling girls’ education on the ground 12 12 Making girls’ education affordable 15 Making schools work for all girls 17 Charities, religious and other voluntary organisations are good for girls 18 Supporting policies that work 19 Focusing international efforts on girls’ education.
21 More resources are needed 21 Donor actions in support of country-led development 22 International organisations need to work together for girls’ education 23 Civil society’s role in building global momentum and local support 5. 11 Political leadership and empowerment of women matter 4. 11 Tackling social exclusion 3. 10 24 Towards a better future for all 27 Annexes 29 Endnotes 33 v vi Summary There are still 58 million girls worldwide who are not in school. The majority of these girls live in subSaharan Africa and South and West Asia.
A girl growing up in a poor family in sub-Saharan Africa has less than a one-in-four chance of getting a secondary education. The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to get as many girls as boys into primary and secondary school by 2005 is likely to be missed in more than 75 countries. We need to make much better progress. There is growing international commitment and consensus on what can be done to improve girls’ education. This strategy sets out the action DFID will take and the leadership we will provide, with others in the international community, to ensure equality of education between men and women, boys and girls.
• We will work to narrow the financing gap for education. Over the next three years, DFID plans to spend more than ? 1. 4 billion of aid on education. • We will work with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to strengthen its capacity to co-ordinate action on girls’ education. • We will use the UK’s Presidencies of the G8 and EU and our role as co-chair of the Fast-Track Initiative (FTI) to push gender equality in education up the political agenda. • We will support the efforts of governments in developing countries to produce plans that prioritise girls’ education.
This will include providing financial help to those wanting to remove school fees. • We will work with our development partners to increase educational opportunities for girls; civil society will be a key partner in this work. • We will increase our efforts to promote awareness within the UK of girls’ education in poor countries. Educating girls helps to make communities and societies healthier, wealthier and safer, and can also help to reduce child deaths, improve maternal health and tackle the spread of HIV and AIDS. It underpins the achievement of all the other MDGs.
That is why the target date was set as 2005. That is also why in 2000, at the Dakar Conference, donors promised that every country with a sound education plan would get the resources it needed to implement it. Progress has been hampered by a number of factors: a lack of international political leadership, a global funding gap of an estimated $5. 6 billion a year for education, a lack of plans and capacity within national education systems to improve the access to and quality of schooling for girls, and locally many poor families who simply cannot afford to send their children to school.
This paper marks a new phase in the UK’s support to girls’ education. Now is the time to act. 1 1 Chapter One Introduction Education matters In September 2000, 188 heads of state from around the world signed the Millennium Declaration and established the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While most goals aim to achieve significant progress in development by 2015, one goal was to be achieved by 2005 – gender parity in primary and secondary education. But, more than 75 countries are likely to miss this goal. We are falling well short of our promise. Women are at the heart of most societies.
Regardless of whether they are working or not, mothers are very influential people in children’s lives. Educating girls is one of the most important investments that any country can make in its own future. Education has a profound effect on girls’ and women’s ability to claim other rights and achieve status in society, such as economic independence and political representation. As the following examples demonstrate, having an education can make an enormous difference to a woman’s chances of finding well-paid work, raising a healthy family and preventing the spread of diseases such as HIV and AIDS.
• • 2 An educated woman is 50 per cent more likely to have her children immunised against childhood diseases. 3 • • An infant born to an educated woman is much more likely to survive until adulthood. In Africa, children of mothers who receive five years of primary education are 40 per cent more likely to live beyond age five. 2 • A South African girl at her high school graduation. (© Giacomo Pirozzi/Panos) Women with at least a basic education are much less likely to be poor.
Providing girls with one extra year of schooling beyond the average can boost their eventual wages by 10 to 20 per cent. 1 If we had reached the gender parity goal by 2005, more than 1 million childhood deaths could have been averted. 4 For every boy newly infected with HIV in Africa, there are between three and six girls newly infected. Yet, in high-prevalence areas such as Swaziland, two-thirds of teenage girls in school are free from HIV, while two-thirds of out-of-school girls are HIV positive. In Uganda, children who have been to secondary school are four times less likely to become HIV positive. 5 Introduction.
Education is a right – but it is still beyond the reach of many For all these reasons, girls’ education has long been recognised as a human right. Past international commitments include addressing gender equality within the education system, the first step to eliminating all forms of discrimination against women (see Annex 2). This right to education is denied to 58 million girls, and a further 45 million boys, even at the primary school level. 6 More than 75 countries are likely to miss the 2005 MDG target for gender parity in primary and secondary enrolments.
7 One-third of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa. On current trends, more than 40 per cent of all countries with data are at risk of not achieving gender parity at primary, secondary or both levels of education even by 2015. Figure 1. 1: Prospects for gender parity in primary enrolments Progress towards the target Gender parity in primary enrolments At risk of not achieving by 2015 Likely to achieve by 2015 Likely to achieve by 2005 Achieved in 2000 (20) (14) (13) (78) Source: Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2003-04. Grey shading indicates lack of data.
These figures hide significant variation across continents, across countries, and across communities. • There are 23 million8 girls out of school in sub-Saharan Africa, distributed across more than 40 countries. A further 22 million out-of-school girls are in South and West Asia, yet the majority of these are concentrated in just two countries: India and Pakistan. • In Niger, less than one-third of all school-aged girls are enrolled in primary school. By contrast, in Rwanda more than four out of every five girls are enrolled in primary school. • In Mali, the proportion of girls enrolled in primary school is around six times higher in the city of Bamako than in the more remote areas of Mali.
3 1 Girls’ education: towards a better future for all There is an alarming difference between the numbers of girls attending primary and secondary school. The vast majority of school-aged girls in sub-Saharan Africa are not enrolled in secondary school, because the relatively high costs of secondary education are acting as a major disincentive for poorer parents. In Pakistan, the gross enrolment rate for girls in secondary education is 19 per cent. 9 In Niger, Tanzania and Chad it is only five per cent.
There are exceptions to the rule, but generally in countries where girls fare poorly in primary education compared with boys, they do even worse in secondary education, as illustrated by the graph in Annex 3. Nevertheless, countries are making progress, sometimes dramatically so. • In Bangladesh, equal numbers of girls and boys now enter secondary school. In 1990, there were only half as many girls as boys in secondary education. • Nepal has nearly nine girls for every ten boys enrolled in primary school, compared with seven girls for every ten boys in 1990.
• In Kenya, over 1 million extra children have enrolled in primary school since the removal of school user fees in 2003. A timely strategy This paper is a first step to identifying – and implementing – the actions that will allow us collectively to keep the promises we made. 10 It serves as a reminder for us to speed up the work we are doing in education. Examples of our work in education include: • Supporting education in Nigeria where there are 7. 3 million children of primary age out of school, of whom 62 per cent are girls.
11 The federal Ministry of Education in Nigeria is implementing an education programme with support from UNICEF and DFID to achieve gender parity and universal basic education. DFID is providing a ? 26 million grant, which will directly benefit girls as well as boys in six northern states. • Allocating ? 10. 8 million to the government of Kenya initiative SPRED III (Strengthening of Primary Education), which aims to reduce the burden of the cost of primary education on parents. In the first year of this programme, enrolments increased from 5. 9 million to over 7 million and are still rising.
Listening to local people has been an invaluable way of identifying the main constraints that keep girls from entering school, remaining in school, and learning effectively. Our country experience is also providing us with concrete evidence of how governments are overcoming these challenges. We are using this evidence of what works as the basis for the actions we intend to take to speed up progress on girls’ education. 4 Introduction DFID’s experience in tackling girls’ education is drawn from the 25 priority countries where our work is focused. Our education effort in these countries
is aimed at supporting governments to provide education for all, particularly for girls. These 25 countries contain nearly three-quarters of all girls who do not have access to basic education as shown in Figure 1. 2. Global support for development, while on the rise, remains well below what is needed to make achieving the MDGs a reality, particularly in countries that are unable to work towards poverty reduction. International bilateral support for education amounts to about $4 billion a year, with much of this money going towards secondary and university schooling.
International support for basic education is less than $1 billion a year – less than $2 a year for every school-aged child in the developing world. We need to do better. And we can do better. Figure 1. 2: Distribution of girls out of school in DFID’s 25 priority countries Outside DFID’s 25 priority countries 28% DFID’s 25 priority countries 72% India Rwanda Lesotho Cambodia Malawi Zimbabwe Zambia Vietnam South Africa Nepal Mozambique Ghana DRC, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda (separate data not available) Kenya Indonesia Bangladesh Pakistan Sudan United Republic of Tanzania Afghanistan China Ethiopia 5 2 Chapter Two.
What prevents girls from getting a quality education? In many countries and communities in both the developed and the developing world, parents can take it for granted that their daughters receive a quality education. Yet in many other places around the world, providing every child with an education appears to be beyond reach. There are five main challenges we identify that make it difficult for girls to access education. These include: • the cost of education – ensuring that communities, parents and children can afford schooling; • poor school environments – ensuring that girls have access to a safe school environment;
• the weak position of women in society – ensuring that society and parents value the education of girls; • conflict – ensuring that children who are excluded due to conflict have access to schooling; and • social exclusion – ensuring girls are not disadvantaged on the basis of caste, ethnicity, religion or disability. These challenges are not exhaustive, but they are recurrent themes in many countries. They constitute additional hurdles girls need to overcome to benefit from quality education. As donors, we need to support countries in meeting these challenges. Ours is a supporting role, not a leading role.
And our support works best if it is based on countries’ own national strategies to reduce poverty and make progress in education. In particular we need to support countries to have in place the essential elements of quality education for girls (see Box 2. 1). 6 What prevents girls from getting a quality education? Box 2. 1 Essential elements of quality education for girls • Schools – is a school within a reasonable distance; does it have proper facilities for girls; is it a safe environment and commute; is it free of violence? If not, parents are unlikely to ever send their daughter to school. •
Teachers – is there a teacher; are they skilled; do they have appropriate teaching materials? Is it a female teacher? Are there policies to recruit teachers from minority communities? If not, girls may not learn as much at school and drop out. • Students – is she healthy enough; does she feel safe; is she free from the burden of household chores or the need to work to supplement the family income; is there a water source close by? If not, she may never have a chance to go to school. • Families – does she have healthy parents who can support a family; does her family value education for girls; can her family afford the cost of schooling?
If not, economic necessity may keep her at home. • Societies – will the family’s and the girl’s standing in the community rise with an education; will new opportunities open up? If not, an education may not be in the family’s interest. • Governments – does the government provide adequate resources to offer sufficient school places; do salaries reach the teachers; do teachers receive quality training; is the government drawing in other agencies to maximise the provision of schooling; is there a clear strategy and budget based on the specific situation faced by girls?
If not, the conditions above are unlikely to be fulfilled. • Donors – are donors supporting governments to provide adequate resources; do donors contribute to analysing and addressing the challenges girls face; are donors conscious of local customs and traditions; are donors prioritising the countries’ needs rather than their own agendas or existing programmes? If not, governments may simply not be in a position to provide a reasonable chance for all girls to get a quality education. Educating girls is costly for families.
The education of girls is seen as economically and socially costly to parents. Costs come in four forms: tuition fees and other direct school fees; indirect fees (such as PTA fees, teachers’ levies and fees for school construction and building); indirect costs (such as transportation and uniforms); and opportunity costs (such as lost household or paid labour). These costs have a significant impact on whether and which children are educated. 7 2 Girls’ education: towards a better future for all.
Educating girls can incur extra direct costs, such as special transport or chaperones for safety and ‘decency’. The price of attending school for the 211 million economically active children may be the family losing vital income. 12 An education may actually reduce girls’ marriage prospects and raise dowry payments to unaffordable levels. Investing in sons, rather than daughters, is perceived as bringing higher financial returns for families as boys are more likely to find work and be paid a higher salary.
The high cost of education is the biggest deterrent to families educating their daughters. Many of the countries DFID prioritises for support have removed tuition fees or are working towards their removal. For example, there are no tuition fees in our Asia priority countries except Pakistan, and a number of Africa priority countries have recently removed school fees. In Africa, school fee removal has led to a dramatic increase in enrolments. A girl does her homework on the blackboard painted on the wall of her house in Ghana. Her older sister, with baby on her back, checks her exercise book.
(© Sven Torfinn/Panos) But it has also increased the cost of education for governments. For example, in Uganda, it is projected that there will be a 58 per cent increase in the total number of primary school students between 2002 and 2015, requiring more than double the number of teachers. Given that teachers’ salaries are the single biggest cost in education budgets, this represents a high burden. Most governments have increased both their education budget and the share that is allocated to primary education to finance these extra costs.
But the challenge remains to find enough money to sustain an education of sufficient quality – while simultaneously reducing other costs that prevent children from poor families, especially girls, from enrolling. 8 What prevents girls from getting a quality education? Box 2. 2 AIDS – making the household economics worse Girls are often the first to be taken out of school to provide care for sick family members or to take responsibility for siblings when death or illness strike. 13 A sudden increase in poverty, which accompanies AIDS in the household, undermines the ability to afford school.
The fear of infection through abuse or exploitation in or on the way to school particularly affects girls and may reduce attendance. Orphans seem to be at greater risk of exploitation. In the worst cases, girls may resort to prostitution to provide for themselves and the family. In Zambia, the majority of child prostitutes are orphans, as are the majority of street children in Lusaka. 14 Programmes of support are often not targeted to these most vulnerable groups. Girls may face a poor and hostile school environment A school environment that may be acceptable to boys may be hostile to girls.
The physical and sexual violence against women that is common in many societies is reflected in the school environment in a number of countries. Physical abuse and abduction are not only a major violation of girls’ basic human rights, they also present a major practical constraint in getting to school. Parents feel a duty to protect their daughters and may decide to keep them at home if they feel the school is too far away. Violence against girls and women has been identified as a key barrier to girls’ education in many DFID programmes.
In South Africa, DFID supports Soul City, an educational television soap opera that raises public awareness of violence against girls and women. Within developing countries, better recruitment procedures and working conditions need to be adopted to help increase the number of women teachers, who often become important role models for the young women they teach. Teachers need training to be effective in supporting girls and to intervene when violence is threatened. When teachers themselves perpetrate violence, early response systems need to be implemented to prevent such violence continuing.
Alongside training to combat all forms of discrimination in the classroom, there needs to be an effective monitoring and inspection system that engages teachers, especially where there are violations of teacher authority. Governments also need more education officials and teachers who have the knowledge, understanding and status to ensure that girls have access to quality education. 15 Expertise is required to assess the problems and solutions for the education system according to the country context and real need, rather than the trends of the development agencies.
9 2 Girls’ education: towards a better future for all Women have a weak position in society Within communities, girls have to overcome many obstacles before they can realise their right to an education. DFID’s recent partnership with UNICEF to support the federal government of Nigeria will help overcome many of the problems girls have in gaining access to school and remaining there. Before girls can attend school and benefit fully from their education, a number of major social constraints have to be addressed. Girls often have limited control over their futures.
Early marriage is a reality for many, where families wish for the social and economic benefits this brings. In Bangladesh and Afghanistan, more than 50 per cent of girls are married by age 18. 16 Adolescent pregnancy almost always results in girls halting their education. Girls are also more likely to drop out of school because of their domestic responsibilities, and are often discriminated against in terms of the quality of the schools they are sent to, and the costs parents are willing to pay for their education. Despite the progress being made, gender equality is likely to take generations to achieve.
The UK’s own history illustrates the relationship between women’s position in society and the demands for better education for girls. One reinforces the other, but change comes slowly. Box 2. 3 Progress on gender equality in education in the UK Until the 1960s, many British girls were directed towards the commercial and technical streams in secondary school, and did not acquire qualifications for higher paying employment. Until the mid-1980s, for instance, it was still relatively unusual for girls to do well in or continue studying subjects such as mathematics or science to university level.
However, the 1990s saw a sharp rise in girls’ performances at school. This has been linked to a range of factors, including families’ prioritisation of their daughters’ education, a shift in perceptions of gender linked to the women’s movements in the 1960s and 1970s, government policies on comprehensive schools, promoting further education and reform of the exam system and gender equality strategies in local education authorities and schools. Policies such as, areas in schools just for girls, strong anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies, and the promotion of science and mathematics for girls were put in place.
In addition, growth in the service sector facilitated demand for girls in the labour market. Currently there is concern about why improved academic performance for girls has not translated into equality in employment opportunities and earning power. 17 10 What prevents girls from getting a quality education? Conflict hurts girls most Girls are particularly vulnerable to abuse and unequal access to schooling in fragile states. States can be fragile for a range of reasons, including conflict, lack of resources and people, high levels of corruption, and political instability.
What sets these countries apart is their failure to deliver on the core functions of government, including keeping people safe, managing the economy, and delivering basic services. Violence and disease, as well as illiteracy and economic weakness, are most intensively concentrated in these areas. Of the 104 million children not in primary school globally, an estimated 37 million of them live in fragile states. Many of these children are girls. 18 Girls’ absence from school may be due to fears of violence or due to the reliance on their role as carers in the family.
In Rwanda, for example, it is estimated that up to 90 per cent of child-headed households are headed by girls. 19 For girls who have been victims of violence in conflict situations, trauma can impair their ability to learn. More than 100,000 girls directly participated in conflicts in the 1990s, yet they are often invisible in demobilisation programmes. 20 Our humanitarian support and education support programmes in Rwanda have demonstrated the importance of education in promoting peace and protecting human resources in countries emerging from conflict.
Our work in these environments is a reminder of the need to link education with attempts to build democracy, provide better health systems, offer social protection to the very poorest and develop multilingual and multicultural policies. Tackling social exclusion Social exclusion is an additional barrier to girls going to school. Certain groups of girls are more likely to be excluded from school on the basis of caste, ethnicity, religion or disability. In Nepal, Dalit girls are almost twice as likely to be excluded from school as higher caste girls.
In Malawi, Muslim girls are more likely to be excluded than their non-Muslim counterparts. Disabled children, and among them disabled girls in particular, constitute a significant group that is denied access to education. In a recent World Bank report it is estimated that only about 1-5 per cent of all disabled children and young people attend schools in developing countries. 21 At the World Conference on Special Education Needs in Salamanca, 92 countries and 25 international organisations committed themselves to providing educational opportunities for disabled people.
The challenge is to support governments to act on this commitment, and provide quality education for excluded groups. In India we have worked with the government to address social exclusion in the government of India’s SSA (Education for All) plan. 11 3 Chapter Three Tackling girls’ education on the ground As outlined in the previous chapter, countries wanting to develop and implement a policy of promoting girls’ education face a number of challenges. But for every challenge, there are examples of promising good practice that should form the basis of the way ahead.
DFID will support governments to: • strengthen political leadership and empower women; • make girls’ education affordable; and • make schools work for all girls. We will also support NGOs, religious and other voluntary organisations. This support will enable governments to develop poverty reduction strategies and education sector plans to improve girls’ access to quality education. And we will provide increased and flexible funding to support the development and implementation of national plans. 22 DFID’s bilateral funding commitments for basic education averaged at ?
150 million a year up to 2001. Since the World Education Forum at Dakar and the Millennium Summit in 2000, the UK has significantly increased its new commitments for education programmes and we will continue to do so. As a result, we expect to spend an average of ? 350 million a year on education (a total of over ? 1 billion) over the period 2005-06 to 2007-08. This would roughly double the resources going directly to education programmes in developing countries since we first adopted the MDGs. In addition to our bilateral contributions, we expect to spend ?
370 million through multilateral agencies, bringing our total funding for education over the next three years to over ? 1. 4 billion. 23 Political leadership and empowerment of women matter We will support governments in their efforts to create political leadership for women’s empowerment. We know that national leaders who speak out against gender inequality can have a significant impact. Heads of government in Oman, Morocco, China, Sri Lanka and Uganda have advocated strongly in support of girls’ education. Women leaders have been particularly effective.
Ethiopia has benefited from the long-standing involvement of the Minister of Education, who has also been chair of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE). Successes in Ethiopia demonstrate the importance of local leadership, as in Yemen, Mexico, India, and Egypt. However, political leadership needs to be accompanied by demand for change at the grassroots level. Without it, new initiatives may have little support, and policy makers may divert the resources earmarked for girls to other purposes. The example in Box 3. 1 shows sustained political support to girls’ education.
12 Tackling girls’ education on the ground Box 3. 1 Supporting political leadership: the case of Yemen Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world and has high gender disparities in education. Gross enrolment rates for girls are only two-thirds as high as those for boys at primary school and only half as high at secondary school. In 2003, the Yemen government committed itself to full primary enrolment by 2015, with a special emphasis on gender equity. Girls’ education is now a central element of Yemen’s poverty reduction strategy and the Basic Education Development Strategy.
Some of the factors, which made this possible include: • personal commitment from prominent Yemenis, for example the first Minister for Human Rights in the 2000 government; • sustained donor commitment, UNICEF’s support to the 2000 Girls’ Education Strategy being a prominent example; and • the establishment of Girls’ Education Units in the Ministry of Education at central and local levels since the 1990s. This led to Yemen becoming one of the countries to receive support under the global Education for All Fast-Track Initiative. DFID has been a partner in this process, providing ?
15 million towards the government’s US$121 million Basic Education Development Project alongside the Netherlands and the World Bank. Empowering adult women – building their confidence and education levels – can have a powerful impact on enrolling more girls in schools. Evidence from countries such as Uganda, Nepal, Bangladesh and Ghana24 shows that women who participate in literacy classes are more likely to send their children to school, keep them there, and watch their progress closely. 13 3 Girls’ education: towards a better future for all Box 3. 2.
Supporting women’s empowerment and demand for girls’ education in India: Mahila Samakhya in India Mahila Samakhya, a programme implemented by the government of India in several states, is concerned to transform women’s lives through education. The programme facilitates the establishment of Samoohs (women’s groups) which provide women benefits such as education, health schemes and savings and credit. A large number of Samoohs have run campaigns for girls’ education, which have increased girls’ access to education. Many Samoohs have also built Jagjagis, non-formal education centres, often.
Subject: Primary education,
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 15 October 2016
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