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Gender, Jobs and Education: Prospects and Realities in Nepal
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Gender, Jobs and Education: Prospects and Realities in Nepal is part of the series of studies undertaken in Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal and Vietnam. Consolidating all the country studies, UNESCO Bangkok has published a synthesis report entitled ‘Gender, Jobs and Education: Prospects and Realities in the Asia-Pacific’. In Nepal, as in other participating countries, an empirical study was undertaken in 2013 to understand the relationship between Nepal’s labour market and the education system. Major lens used to see this relationship was gender. This report focuses on the involvement women and men participating in education and the labour market,Nepal’s education system; and female and male students’ perceptions about suitability of different occupations. The report then analyzes the relationship between different dimensions of education and the labour market. The study was conducted among 319 (158 female, 161 male) grade 10 students and 470 women and men engaged in different occupations. Research was conducted in 8 districts including Kathmandu Valley.
According to the 2008 Nepal Labour Force Survey 61% of employed females aged 15 and above
had never attended school, 20.3% had attained less than primary to primary level education, and 15% had attained lower secondary to secondary level education. This shows that most women enter labour force with a minimum level of education. Consequently, they end up in low skilled and low paid jobs, i.e. they often enter the informal sector, which is growing. More and more women and men are compelled to join informal sector employment which is considered to be vulnerable in terms of physical and financial securities. The number of women migrating to other countries to work in equally vulnerable conditions is also increasing. When illiterate or inadequately educated women migrate, they are often prone to exploitation. Foreign employment is thus a double-edged sword for many Nepali women who are poor, not formally educated, lack foreign (i.e. English) language skill, and are untrained and unfamiliar with urban life styles. Many young girls and women who migrate either for work or education from rural areas to city centers also end up in vulnerable employment such as waitresses in restaurants and bar dancers.
Nepal’s education system is largely centered on academics, and based on meritocracy. This has benefited a few selected students but left many behind. The system and society both share the notion that formal schooling is to turn their children into high achievers and those who cannot excel are not good at anything. Teachers who are groomed with this notion have neither been able to incorporate progressive vision regarding gender equality in their practices, nor have they been able to accommodate the changes that are observed in the labour market.
Moreover, the ideological gap between school and community manifests in girls’ schooling and education. Schools are required to function rationally. In other words, school machineries, including teachers, are expected to promote and/or follow equality and equity norms. Household and family norms and practices on the other hand, follow community rules, cultures and practices, which often do not agree with school norms. For example,the education system preaches for gender equality in access to education, educational processes and educational outcomes but, at the family level, the notion that sons are bread winners and parents’ old age security determines parents’ priority in terms of sons’ and daughters’ education. Intervention is thus necessary at all levels, be it for political or policy or programme implementation or family.
UNESCO ,   (2014 )
Type / Script:
Progress Report in English
Thematic Group:
 UNESCO : Educational, Scientific and Cultural
11.01.00  -  Educational Policy And Planning
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