Organizer and Chair: Mary Ann Maslak, Pennsylvania State University
Discussant: Jaipaul Roopnarine, Syracuse University
This panel examines the issues of policy and practice related to girls education in Pakistan and Nepal. It seeks to shed some light on the complex issue of the relationship between gender and education planning, program implementation, and evaluation in these two South Asian nations.
The three papers in the panel, in various ways, address the factors and problems that influence and govern the efforts to develop girls education. Internally, domestic conditions, such as long-standing social and cultural resistance to educating girls, political exigencies, and economic dynamics, constitute realities that directly affect schooling for girls. Externally, Pakistan and Nepal solicit assistance from international non-government educational and funding organizations, whose educational and economic agendas differ from those of the two countries. The convergence of domestic and international interests often results in tension and controversy. They are sometimes at odds in the areas of policy and program design, implementation, and evaluation of existing and future developments.
The three papers in this panel engage the multifaceted concerns and questions, both practical and theoretical, that stem from the endeavor to educate girls in Pakistan and Nepal. At the same time that the panelists explore the intimate relationship between gender and education, they also suggest strategies to bring about better educational opportunities for girls.
Christina Rawley, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Many developing countries solicit and enlist support for educational program planning, implementation, and evaluation from international non-government organizations (INGOs). When invited to assist, INGOs work with a countrys government offices and local private agencies to devise education policy congruent with the countrys needs. However, this "union" of the domestic and international often means controversy. They may clash in philosophy, planning and implementation. Such is the case with girls education in Baluchistan, Pakistan.
This paper, by examining the dichotomy between the needs of Baluchistan and the position of USAID, an INGO, illustrates the incoherence in education policy development brought on by the union of the internal and external. Specifically, it focuses on USAIDs efforts to assist in policy development for girls. It also pinpoints the impediments intrinsic to the indigenous social, cultural, and political structures that hinder girls participation in the created programs.
This study reveals the Pakistani effort to design education policy to meet the needs of its young women. It also provides a broad perspective in which to view the central problems of achieving girls education and the roles of international aid organizations in other developing Asian nations.
Mary Ann Maslak, Pennsylvania State University
This paper focuses on the educational system of one developing country in South Asia, Nepal, in order to explore the relationship between policy and practice. In particular, the paper examines the Nepali non-formal and formal educational programs attended by girls in an attempt to determine the extent to which the goals of these programs reflect and cohere with those of national education. Moreover, this study seeks to identify the degree to which girls actually take advantage of the non-formal and formal education opportunities, and to examine the rates of completion or graduation for those programs. What factors account for the success for some participants and explain the failure for others? What are the inherent and systemic socio-cultural obstacles that may inhibit optimal capitalization on the existing programs by girls? How do current discourses and theories on gender help us understand the specific educational developments in Nepal? In light of such understanding, how may we proffer some answers to the problems that beset the existing well-meaning but often ineffective policies of educating girls?
By embarking on such a case study of a particular region and population group, this study may serve not only to highlight the implications for future policy development regarding girls education in Nepal itself, but it may also shed light on the general question of gender and its relation to policy planning and implementation in other developing South Asian nations.
John D. Hatch, Academy for Educational Development
Prior to a 1990 survey which showed that there were 28,000 girls in primary schools, people thought that there was a strong resistance to girls education in Baluchistan. Another survey at the time showed that over half of the rural villages in Baluchistan wanted a girls school within their community. Since then, the Primary Education Development (PED) project, under USAID, and its continuance as the Baluchistan Primary Education Project (BPED) supported by the World Bank, has provided technical assistance to support the establishment of primary schools for girls and the training of female teachers to staff those schools.
In the process, the programs have helped to develop a Primary Education Directorate within the Provincial Ministry of Education, as well as the Society for Community Support for Primary Education in Baluchistan, a non-government organization, to provide instructional and curricular support for public school teachers and students.
The donor community is excited by these results and wants to expand access to primary schools for girls in Baluchistan, but is Baluchistan ready for an expansion? What is the effect of this new schooling effort? How is its establishment affecting various community groups or stakeholders? What social traditions and practices, if any, are being challenged? How are those challenges being met? These are several of the questions which will be explored in this paper.