Provision of educational opportunities to
women has been an important programme in the education sector since
independence. Between 1951 and 1981, the percentage of literacy amongst
women improved from 7.93 per cent to 24.82 per cent. However, in absolute
numbers, illiterate women have increased during this period from 158.7
million to 241.7 million (excluding Assam). Women comprise 57 per cent of
the illiterate population and 70 percent of the non-enrolled children of
school stage are girls. In spite of the efforts made so far, the education
system has not been able to make sufficient contribution towards women's
phased time-bound programme of elementary education for girls,
particularly upto the primary stage by 1990, and upto the elementary
stage by 1995.
(b ) A phased time-bound programme of
adult education for women in the age group 15-35 (whose number is
estimated to be 6.8 crores) by 1995.
(c) Increased women's access to
vocational, technical, professional education and to existing and emergent
(d) Review and reorganisation of the
educational activities to ensure that it makes a substantial contribution
towards women's equality, and creation of appropriate cells/units thereof.
POLICY PARAMETERS AND STRATEGY
The National Policy on Education (NPE)
envisages that education would be used as a strategy for achieving a basic
change in the status of women. The National education system would (i)
play a positive interventionist role in the empowerment of women, (ii)
contribute towards development of new values through redesigned curricula
and text-books, and (iii) women's studies will be promoted as part of
various courses. The main features of the targets and implementation
strategy will consist of the following:-
(i) to gear the entire education system
to plan a positive interventionist role in the empowerment of women;
(ii) to promote women's studies as a part
of various courses and encouragement to educational institutions to take
up active programme to further women's
(iii) to widen the access of women in
programmes of vocational, technical and professional education;
(iv) to create dynamic managerial
structure to cope with the targets envisaged.
STRATEGY ENUNCIATION AND PROGRAMME OF ACTION
Women become empowered through
collective reflection and decision making. The parameters of empowerment
- building a positive self-image and
- developing ability to think critically;
- building up group cohesion and
fostering decision-making and action;
- ensuring equal participation in the
process of bringing about social change;
- encouraging group action in order to
bring about change in the society;
- providing the wherewithal for economic
The following measures will be taken
for the achievement of the above parameters:
(a) Every educational institution should,
by 1995, take up active programmes of women's development built around a
study and awareness of the women's predicament and for promotion of
communication and Organisation among women.
(b) All teachers and Non-Formal
Education/Adult Education (NFE/AE) instructors should be trained as agents
of women's empowerment. Special training programmes will be developed by
NCERT, NIEPA, Directorate of Adult Education (DAE), SCERTs, State Resource
Centres (SRCs) and UGC to incorporate in all training programmes of
teachers and NFE/AE instructors elements which would motivate them to work
for women's empowerment. Voluntary agencies and activist groups for
women's development will be involved in these training programmes.
(c) Women teachers and women instructors
in adult/non- formal education programmes should receive special
orientation to enable them to play an activist role towards women's
(d) Special programmes should be
developed by research institutions, voluntary institutions and
professional groups of artists to promote general awareness and self-
image amongst women through a variety programmes like discussions, street
plays, skits, wall papers, puppet shows etc.
(e) An environment should be created in
which practically all sections of the society will commit themselves and
work for achieving this objective enunciated in the National Policy on
Education. Keeping in view the important role played by media in this
sphere, clear policy guidelines should be developed by radio and TV in
1986-87 and measures taken to persuade films and other media on these
(f) Preference in recruitment of teachers
upto school level should be for women. This will create a greater
confidence in the rural areas and motivate the parents to send girls to
(g) The common core curriculum is a
powerful instrument for the empowerment of women through the incorporation
of values commensurate with the new status of women. The Women's Cell in
the NCERT will be revived and given the responsibility for preparing the
component of the core curriculum relating to women's equality. The Cell
should also accelerate its work of eliminating sexist bias and sex
stereo-types from school text-books. The Women's Cell of NCERT should take
active help of all persons on playing its assigned role.
(h) Sensitization of teachers, trainers,
planners and administrators to women's issues will be taken up as a major
programme by NIEPA and appropriate State level agencies, through initial
training, in-service training and refresher courses. NIEPA should also
have a strong cell for planning and execution of these programmes.
Women's studies programme has 4
dimensions--teaching, research, training and extension. In teaching, the
following activities will be taken up:
(i) Incorporation of issues relating to
women's status and role in the foundation course proposed to be introduced
by University Grants Commission for all undergraduate students;
(ii) Incorporation of the women's
dimension into courses in different disciplines;
(iii) Elimination of sexist bias and sex
stereo-types from text books.
Under research, the following steps
will be taken:
(i) Encouraging research on identified
areas and subjects which are crucial in advancing knowledge in this area
and to expand the information base;
(ii) Critical appraisal of existing tools
and techniques which have been responsible for the disadvantages suffered
by them and where necessary reformation of research methodology.
The following measures will be taken
(i) Dissemination of information and
interaction through seminars/workshops on the need for Women's Studies and
its role in University education;
(ii) Orientation of teachers and
researchers to handle women-related topics and to incorporate women's
dimension into general topics;
(iii) Workshops for restructuring the
Under extension, it is proposed to
encourage educational institutions to take up programmes which directly
benefit the community and bring about the empowerment of women.
UNIVERSALISATION OF ELEMENTARY EDUCATION AND ADULT EDUCATION
The present programme of non-formal
centres for girls on 90:10 pattern will be extended to all educationally
backward pockets of the country. NFE Centres should be community based.
Responsibility of planning, selection of instructors and monitoring should
be with the community including parents. Increased assistance to voluntary
agencies to run non-formal education centres for girls should be given.
In the rural areas, girls are kept
busy at home in sibling and household care, in fetching fuel, fodder and
water, or in earning a day's wage. Therefore, special support services
referred to in the Policy need to cover all these areas upto 1995. Early
childhood education centres are important support service in increasing
enrolment and retention of girls in schools. Programmes of social
forestry, drinking water supply, mid-day meals, and other nutrition
programmes, smokeless chullahs and other devices aimed at eliminating
drudgery from women's lives should be formulated by the Ministry and
Organisation concerned upto 1990 to converge with the objective of
universalisation of education.
Skill development linked to
employment or work opportunities in the villages or local areas are
required to be given overriding priority so that there is an incentive on
the part of the parents to educate the girls.
Mass scale adult education programme
for women in the age group 15-35 should be developed to eradicate
illiteracy amongst women by 1995. As majority of women in this age group
are workers literacy per se may not have any relevance for them. It is,
therefore, necessary to develop adult education programmes for women
linked with upgradation of their skills and income generating activities.
Skill development for girls and women
should be continuous process of learning starting from the NFE centres and
AE centres. Continuing Education Centres should be set up in a phased
manner which should organise vocational training, provide opportunities
for retention of literacy skills and application of this learning for
improving their living conditions.
The skill development given by the
Continuing Education Centres will be supported by other programmes of
non-formal, vocational training and skill development to be administered by
a variety of organisations and institutions, such as Polytechnics,
Community Polytechnics, ITIs, Shramik Vidyapeeths, Central Social Welfare
Board, -State Social Welfare Advisory Boards, Voluntary agencies, Krishi
Vigyan Kendras, Women's Centres in Agricultural and Home Science Colleges
as part of their extension activities. Besides, Industries which employ
women should themselves run non-formal vocational training courses. For
effective learning and monitoring Women's Bureau is to be set up in the
Department of Education.
ACCESS TO VOCATIONAL, TECHNICAL AND PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION AND TO EXISTING
AND EMERGENT TECHNOLOGIES:
At each stage in school education; or
a part of work experience or vocationalisation, girls should be exposed to
a variety of vocational training activities. The method of vocational
training should be both through the formal and non-formal courses. The
choice of skills to be taught will depend on the natural resources,
traditional occupations and new activities being taken up through
government and private investment.
There are 104 ITIs functioning
exclusively for women and 97 wings in general ITIs reserved for women. It
is proposed that these institutions be revamped during the period 1987-90
on the following lines:
Diversification of trades and
courses, will be done, keeping the job potential of the area in mind.
There will be an efficient placement system which will enable the institutions to have continuous dialogue
with employers. The idea behind this diversification is that while girls
will continue to receive preferential treatment in trades/occupations, for
which they are particularly well suited (eg. teaching and nursing), this
will not become a barrier for their participation in technical and
professional courses of higher level and equal opportunities will be
provided for them in all vocational, technical and professional courses.
There will be a strong element of
vocational counseling in each ITI/RVTI/NVTI, polytechnics, suitable
orientation should also be provided in the schools as preparation for
motivating the girls to choose non-traditional courses.
Information about credit, banking,
entrepreneurial development etc. will be provided by the ITI/NVTI/RVTI/Polytechnics
and community polytechnics along with practical on-the-job training. The
implementation of the apprenticeship scheme will be strengthened to
increase the coverage of women.
In order to substantially enlarge
the opportunities to women for craftsmen's training, shift system will be
introduced in existing ITIs-one in the morning and the other in the
DGE&T office should have a separate
Directorate of Women's Vocational Training.
The women's access to technical
education will be improved qualitatively and quantitatively. The choice of
trades/disciplines offered to women at Certificate/ Diploma/Degree levels
in all types of technical education institutions, will be made keeping in
view the objective of bringing about women's equality. Necessary
incentives, as spelt out in the section of Technical Education will be
STRUCTURE AT CENTRE AND STATE LEVEL
The interventions and programmes
referred to above will be planned, coordinated, monitored and evaluated
continuously both at the national and state level. Each of the
organisations responsible for the programme will have to be strengthened.
The Women's Cell in the NCERT will be revived and strengthened. NIEPA and
Directorate of Adult Education will have strong cells to plan and
administer Women's training programmes. The Women's Cell in the UGC will
be strengthened in order to monitor the implementation of various
programmes at higher education level.
At the State level , Women's Cell
should be set up in all the States with adequate supporting staff to be
headed by an officer of at least Joint Director's status.