Professor Hari Bansh Jha
Executive Director, Centre for Economic and Technical Studies (CETS), Nepal
“Educating a man is educating an individual, while educating a woman is educating a family”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Needless to mention that education is very important in the life of a person. As it helps the growth of individual personality, it is accepted as one of fundamental rights of a citizen. It makes a person productive, disciplined and thus adds to one’s strength. As such, importance is given to education all over the world – be it in the First, Second or
Like Mahatma Gandhi, the World Bank Vice-President Lawrence Summers made groundbreaking speech in 1992 about the importance of girl education in the
Girl education reduces child mortality, fertility, maternal mortality on the one hand and prevents the spread of AIDS on the other. Women education helps improve the environment and it gives them more decision making power in their families. In this regard, Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of UNFPA had mentioned that education to the girls and women is important to the protection against violence, diseases and unwanted pregnancy.
Education System in
Importance of education was not well realized in
A brief shift in government’s policy in education sector was observed in 1901 when Prime Minister Dev Shamsher Rana assumed office. He introduced sweeping reforms in education. During his tenure, a system of universal public primary education was proposed. Nepali language was adopted as medium of instruction and
However, education during the Rana rule was the exclusive prerogative of the ruling elite to prepare them for a place in the government. People’s reluctance towards education was partly responsible for the wrong policy of the Ranas who feared an educated public. While inaugurating
Until the beginning of World War II (1939-45), a number of English middle and high schools were set up in Patan, Biratnagar and other parts of the country, aside from one girls’ high school in
A New Era of Girls’/Women Education
The process of school education for the girls started a century ago in
Call for Women Education
In Nepal, the first recorded call for women’s education was given by the Nepali woman D.D. Acharya Dixit through her book Women’s Education published from Mumbai in 1914 (Rana, 1997). In her book, Dixit laid stress for the need of women education for achieving rightful place in the society. Not much information is available about the impact that the book made in the Nepalese society for the promotion of women education. But three years after the publication of the book a Women’s Committee was formed in Terai in Siraha in 1917 with 8 members and 2 secretaries with the objective of bringing reform in the life of the women. Krishna Prasad Koirala was the driving force behind the committee. But it was very sad that the committee was disbanded within one-and-a-half years as the members were forced to live in exile. It, however, sparked the society for change. No other organization emerged at the national scene to improve the socio-economic conditions of the women until 1946 when Rebanta Kumari Acharya founded Model Women’s Organization. A year later in 1947, Nepal Mahila Sangh was founded by Mangla Devi Singh. Though the Women’s Committee, Model Women’s Organization and Nepal Mahila Sangh were political bodies, all these organizations advocated for the need of education for the development of women.
First Girl to Pass S.L.C.
Lekh Rajyalaxmi, the daughter of General Brahma Shamsher was the first girl in
Women Education in Terai
In the Terai, as far back as in 1938 Tara Devi Sharma organized a public meeting across the border in Raxaul and discussed all such issues as related to women’s rights and need for the schooling for the girls. In April 1949, she organized meeting of eleven Terai based women groups. This group could operate from
Role of Girls’ Schools in National Development
As in many other countries, the girls’ schools have played significant role in achieving national education goals like nurturing and developing the personalities and innate abilities of individuals, instilling respect for human values, enhancing social unity, helping disadvantaged citizens to enter the mainstream of national life, etc. A large number of the girls having received education from these schools are at key positions in administration, technical and various other fields. The number of the girls’ high schools in
An analysis of education indicators in
Because of some of the efforts for the promotion of education, the literacy rate in 1981 increased to 23 per cent. In 1991, the literacy rate in the country reached 40 per cent, which grew further to 54 per cent in 2001. However, in the total literacy, the literacy rate among the women is still very dismal. As compared to the literacy rate among the men of 34 per cent, the literacy rate among the female was 12 per cent only in 1981. In 2001, the gap in the literacy rate somewhat improved but still the literacy rate among men of 65 per cent is quite higher than the literacy rate among the female of 43 per cent. Furthermore, the female in total school enrolment was found to be as low as 44 per cent at primary level, 42 per cent at secondary level and 41 per cent at higher secondary level.
In the patriarchal society, son biasness exists in each family. Studies show that
Education Cell and Scholarships
Despite certain challenges in the promotion of girls’ education, it is encouraging that the growth rate of girls’ enrolment in primary schools is faster than the growth rate of boys’ enrolment. Besides, the national and international agencies, apart from the civil societies are more concerned about girls’ education than ever in the past. It is for some of these factors that Education Cell is established at the Ministry of Education and provision is made for various scholarships to the girls so that they could come forward in education sector. Over the years, the Cell has introduced several activities to promote educational programmes among the girls, women and Dalit community. Under its scholarship schemes, various scholarships have been provided to the girls, women and Dalit community at different levels to help enhance the level of their education. Under the Primary School Total Girls Scholarship scheme, each girl from level 1 to 5 and between the age group of 6 to 10 in 40 remote districts are liable to receive scholarship amounting to Rs. 250 for one academic session. Similarly, provision is also made to provide such scholarships as Primary School Girls Scholarship, Local School Girls Scholarships, Feeder Hostel Girls Scholarship, Campus Girls Scholarship, Dalit Scholarship to the girls of disadvantaged communities and of remote districts. Besides, provision is also made to provide scholarship to the children of the martyrs. Under the Basic and Primary Education Programme, an effort is made to enhance the level of education of the girls under the scheme Education for the Girls, Special Programme for the Feeder Hostel, Girls Incentive Scholarship and School Incentive Gift, etc. As a result of some of these activities, the school enrolment rate among the girls has increased and the drop-out rates have declined.
An analysis of the education system in regard to girls’ education clearly indicates that major breakthrough has been made in the education of girls and women in
[Specially prepared for the telegraph weekly-Ed]