ICT Enabled Education to Empower Girls: Potentials for the Vulnerable Groups

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Promoting Equity and Inclusion // Financial constraints, coupled with socio-cultural construct induce vulnerability among girls in Bangladesh. This leads to them entering the labor market without skills; thus, their career becomes constricted while their potential remains unexplored. For a worthwhile life they should be empowered, which can best be done by educating them without hindering their work life. Open and Distance Learning (ODL) with the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can provide such a flexible learning arrangement to working women and girls. A wide range of electronic devices at different purchasing levels can provide flexibility in the use of ICT. A retrospection of COL’s Gender initiative’s virtual workshop, ‘Upskilling Girls in ICT through Mobile Application Development’, facilitated by the author in 2020 evoked ideas and generated interest for following up with the participants regarding their use of ICT. This endeavor helped conceptualize the idea that girls of the vulnerable groups can potentially be empowered by engaging them with ICT-enabled education which can transform their lives. This study has been conducted based on both primary and secondary sources of data. Secondary sources are research materials, scholarly articles, statistics from governmental websites and official publications. Primary data were collected in two stages. Firstly, data were collected from 74 girls through structured questionnaires and focus group discussions (FGDs), who represented nine rural areas of Bangladesh. Secondly, in light of the experience and findings of these data, a follow up study of the author’s previously conducted research among girl workers of six garment factories in Dhaka Metropolitan City was carried out through questionnaire survey and FGDs. The findings of this research can lead towards further educational explorations and help develop actionable plans to significantly empower girls of the vulnerable groups. // Paper ID 5310

Empowerment,Open and Distance Learning (ODL),ICT in Education,Women and Girls' Education,Gender