Scaling up girls’ quality education
Educate Girls has been bridging the gender and literacy gap in remote rural villages across India since 2007. And since 2014, we’ve been supporting its efforts to boost girls’ school enrolment and attendance, promote girl-friendly education infrastructures and advance learning outcomes in Rajasthan state, India, where the gender gap is critical and only 1 in every 100 girls reaches grade 5. Between 2017 and 2019, Educate Girls’ unique transformational model successfully secured the enrolment of over 16,800 girls in Rajsamand district and achieved an outstanding 97% retention rate.
A girl in Rajasthan state is 3 times more likely to be out-of-school than a child in the rest of India. The female literacy rate is the lowest in the country (53%) and 6 out of 10 girls marry as children. Parents living in these remote communities see educating their daughters as a dead investment.
Educate Girls’ unique transformational approach uses community mobilisation strategies to address the structural, socioeconomic and cultural barriers that prevent girls from going to school in the first place, building awareness at village level of the crucial ways in which girls can benefit from education.
Since 2014, we’ve been supporting Educate Girls’ efforts to increase girls’ school enrolment and attendance, promote girl-friendly education infrastructures and advance learning outcomes in Rajasthan state. A first grant successfully enrolled 37,500 girls in Rajsamand district, achieving a retention rate of 93.5%. Partnering with state schools and teachers, training local champions for girls’ education (known as Team Balika), and in particular involving parents and communities in keeping school administrations accountable, Educate Girls has successfully enrolled further 16,800 girls in the same district over the past three years, and achieved an outstanding 97% retention rate.
Educate Girls provides for the election and training of a Girls’ Council (Bal Sabhas) in every upper primary school to give girls a voice, boost their confidence and build their communication, leadership, public-speaking, health, sanitation and problem-solving skills. Over 8,000 girls have been empowered with these essential life skills.
Nearly 1,850 School Management Committees of parents, teachers and village leaders responsible for school governance and administration have been formalised with a total of over 15,100 members, a significantly higher level of community involvement than had been anticipated. These Committees, assisted by Educate Girls, are also in charge of their School Improvement Plans to ensure the schools offer girl-friendly infrastructures and basic facilities like separate girls’ toilets, electricity, water, food and roofs.
Improving the literacy and numeracy skills of children in grades 3 to 5, Educate Girls also implements a specific remedial learning curriculum that accounts for the needs of the most marginalised children and uses interactive methods such as games, stories, visual aids and flash cards to build micro-competencies in Hindi, English and Maths. This has significantly improved students’ learning outcomes in English (+16%), Hindi (+55%) and Maths (+48%) across 554 schools over the past three years.
As Educate Girls progresses through implementing the stages in its programme, the related activities are handed over to the community.