IN this article we will talk about Government’s Initiatives for Female Education in India.
In this article
Mahila Samakhya (MS) Programme
Launched in 1988 in accordance with the New Education Policy 1986, the Mahila Samakhya Program aims to benefit women of all ages, especially those from socially and economically backward communities. Its objective is to integrate formal and non formal education for girls, education schemes for adult women and providing vocational training for girls and women. It is perhaps the only program that seeks to build perspectives and develop the capacity of poor women in order to address gender and social barriers to education and for the realization of women’s rights at the family and community level.
Its approach towards women’s learning and education has shown ways of bringing very poor women and girls into the ambit of the learning process. MS program looks at ‘education’ as a broad learning process and practice that makes them self sufficient for addressing their needs and issues, access to information and knowledge about their rights and entitlements, and to make informed choices, during the course of learning, The success of MS has come from its autonomy to plan, implement and respond to a number of situations in the field. It operates within a broad framework described in the national plan document. However the detailed programming is done according to the local situation in the states.
An important impact of MS work has been the establishment of strong sanghs in villages. Currently, more than a million poor and marginalized women have been mobilized and organized into these sanghs, which in turn have begun to federalize and constitute a powerful civil society voice. Of the 1.05 million women (at the end of the XI FYP) with whom the program interacts and works with in a sustained manner, 36.74% are SC, 16.33% ST, 27.47% OBC, 9.13% Muslim and around 10.38% are women from the general categories.
Thus, the program has developed a deep understanding and insights on contextual, relevant and meaningful ways of working with women and older girls belonging to very deprived and marginalized communities and social groups. The relevance and continuance of Mahila Samakhya for the 12th Plan is very significant with the current thrust on inclusive education and development through the RTE-SSA. What needs to be recognized is that this has been possible through sustained perspective building and training of the field staff in order to keep the focus on most marginalized women. The vast trained human resource associated with MS has to be harnessed for achievement of the underlying goals of RTE, viz. equity and equality in and through education.
National Programme for Education of Girls at an Elementary Level was started in September 2003 as an integral component of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. It seeks to distribute free textbooks for girls till Class VIII, construct separate toilets for them and to conduct bridge camps for older out-of-school girls. The NPEGEL aimed at ensuring that 50% of the newly recruited teachers are female and the learning material should be gender sensitive. NPEGEL also intends to mobilize effective community efforts and establish an innovation fund (for better enrolment and retention) in every district.
National Programme for Education of Girls at an Elementary Level (NPEGEL)
Some of its main features are as follows:
- To develop and promote facilities in order to ensure retention of girls and to ensure active participation of women and girls in the field of education.
- To improve the quality of education through various initiatives and focus on the relevance and quality of girls’ education for their empowerment and continuous improvement.
- To strengthen the capacity of National, State and district institutions and organisations who are engaged in planning, management and evaluation of girls’ education at the elementary level, and create a management structure that will be able to respond to the challenges of girls’ education.
- To enable the entire education system to play a positive role in enhancing self-esteem and self-confidence of women and girls, thus building a positive image of women by recognizing their contribution to the society, polity and the economy.
- To develop community support for girls’ education and provide a conducive environment for girls’ education in the school, community and home; and