Education and Gender Series (2005)

Oxfam Programme Insights

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© Oxfam/Annie Bungeroth
Women's basic education in Pakistan, Khoj.
Publication Date: 2005
Author/Publisher: Oxfam GB
Language: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French

Download: PDF

These papers on education and gender contribute to improving policy development and practice by presenting new learning and examples of good practice in a clear and straightforward manner, with recommendations for action. The series of nine papers has been developed by the Beyond Access: Gender, Education and Development Project, a project by Oxfam GB, the Institute of Education, University of London, and DFID.

They aim to contribute to the development of gender equality in education programmes, and contribute especially to Oxfam's programmes, and our advocacy for the achievement of the education Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) at international, national, and local levels.

1. Beyond Access for Girls and Boys: how to achieve good-quality, gender-equitable education [pdf]
This introductory paper frames the issues and challenges to be faced in achieving gender equality and quality Education For All (EFA). The issues — which include not only ensuring access to education for girls and women, but the completion of a good quality education for both boys and girls so that they can use their education to have a positive effect on their futures — are taken up in more detail in subsequent papers.

2. Gender Equality in Schools [pdf]
This paper discusses the content and delivery of education and how it can reflect and reproduce gender inequalities. Girls’ and boys’ learning and interaction with each other, and the teacher, are influenced by ways of teaching, the content of the curriculum, and relations within the classroom. The paper considers these aspects of education provision – curriculum, teaching and learning, and the dynamics of the classroom and school. It recommends changes needed to ensure that education provision will promote gender equality.

3. Gender Equality and Adult Basic Education [pdf]
This paper highlights the fact that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) do not directly address the issue of adult basic education and literacy, in spite of these being essential for achieving the Millennium targets. It explores the potential of adult basic education with gender equality to be transformatory for individuals, and for groups working to address key issues, such as gender-based violence, and HIV/AIDS. The role of governments and other key agencies in relation to gender equality and adult basic education is also explored. The paper concludes with a discussion of how to develop longer-term approaches to gender equality, adult basic education, and literacy.

4. Beyond the Mainstream: education for nomadic and pastoralist girls and boys [pdf]
This paper illustrates the challenges involved in providing good-quality gender-equitable education for children who are beyond the reach of mainstream, formal education. It focuses on children of nomadic and pastoralist households, identifying specific issues in providing schooling for them, and drawing on lessons from approaches and initiatives by various agencies (government and non-government). The paper explores specific forms of discrimination that nomadic and pastoralist girls experience in relation to education, and highlights the need for deeper gender analysis in order to inform policy making.

5. Making it Happen: political will for gender equality in education [pdf]
Why do some countries succeed in promoting gender parity and equality in education while others do not? The answer often given is ‘political will’. All too often, however, no further explanation is offered. There has been little effort to understand why governments are unwilling or unable to change their policies and priorities to achieve equal access to education for girls and boys, as expressed in the third Millennium Development Goal. This paper considers the concept of political will and explores the role that it plays in improving gender parity and equality in education.

6. Developing Capacity to Achieve Gender Equality in Education [pdf]
Failure to achieve gender equality in education is often blamed on ‘weak capacity’. This paper illustrates the ways in which individual, organisational, and institutional capacity all play important roles in producing positive results for girls. It is essential to recognise that these different forms of capacity are related, in order to prevent the disappearance of policies and strategies produced with the aim of achieving gender equality in education.

7. Gender-Responsive Budgeting in Education [pdf]
In the mid-1980s, the Australian government embarked on the first initiative to analyse government budgets from a gender perspective. In 1995, South Africa and the Philippines became the second and third countries to attempt gender-responsive budget exercises. By 2003, there had been similar initiatives in more than sixty countries, spanning every continent.This paper uses the gender-responsive budgeting approach to explain how governments and donors can promote gender equality in education through their decisions on financing.

8. Girls’ Education in Africa [pdf]
Sub-Saharan Africa has some huge problems to resolve if it is to achieve gender equality in education, and fulfil the Millennium Development Goals related to education and gender. Conversely, the region also has some of the most innovative and enterprising examples of initiatives that promote gender equality in education. This paper focuses on sub-Saharan Africa and considers some of the most significant obstacles that African girls face in achieving the education that is their right. The paper then reviews the most significant initiatives – those that are ‘gender-neutral’ and those that have a specific focus on gender equality – that have enabled African countries to overcome these obstacles.

9. Girls' Education in South Asian [pdf]
Because of deep-rooted gender inequalities, and because of the large population of South Asia, the region has the highest number of out-of-school girls in the world. This paper outlines some of the issues confronting practitioners, policy makers, and researchers in girls’ education in South Asia, and explores what they can do to move towards high-quality and gender-equitable education for all.


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