ODL to Reinforce Gender Equity at Junior Secondary Level Education: Opportunities, Challenges and Strategies

Sultana, Sadia A
Kamal, Mostafa A
Laboni, Ananya
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Poverty is a long felt problem in Bangladesh. The main group of victims of poverty are females, especially in the rural areas. Around half of the population in the rural areas are female and they have been afraid of undertaking their own income earning projects due to illiteracy and other socio-cultural problems. The main reason behind the backwardness has been identified as the lack of education. However, given the socio-cultural conditions, it becomes difficult for the rural females to have education from on-campus setting. It has been noticed that a large portion of the girls cannot continue their education after primary education even after several girl-friendly initiatives taken by the government even were not successful to keep all the girls in conventional on-campus education system. The dropouts after 5 years of schooling are almost 56% whereas girls dropout is 53% (BENBEIS, 2011). We must educate all sections of people in our society for the betterment of their life and for the society as a whole. If we continue to leave vast sections of the people of the world outside the orbit of education, we make the world not only less just, but also less secure (Amartya Sen, 2003). // Bangladesh Open University (BOU) has launched open schooling programmes with an aim to help the people, especially the dropout girls, have education in a flexible way. These programs are limited at secondary and higher secondary levels. However, the girls who are dropped out in their primary schooling and in junior secondary level are still not included into the ODL process. To include the dropout girls at junior secondary level, a joint initiative have been taken by BOU and COL. A nationwide baseline survey has been already been conducted by BOU with the support from COL. In this paper, the findings of the baseline study have been presented carefully and strategies for including the dropout girls into education have been discussed critically. The following issues will be covered in the paper:  Summary of the findings of the baseline study  Main reasons behind the girls dropouts  Strategies for including the dropout girls into education  Using OER to ensure low cost education to the vulnerable dropout girls  Potentials of ICT to ensure a sustainable model for inclusion of the dropout girls. // Paper ID: 436

Women and Girls' Education,Gender,Secondary Education,Open and Distance Learning (ODL),Poverty,Retention Rates