Strengthening girls’ education in Nepal’s Province 2
Although there has been a significant improvement in girls’ education in Nepal, challenges persist due to deeply embedded gender stereotypes and unequal norms result in high female drop rates by the time they reach the higher secondary school level. This is further compounded by the fact that these same girls have a higher chance of being victims of early marriage and pregnancy, domestic and sexual violence, and other stigmas of gender inequality. And the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the rate of low female school enrollment in Nepal.
With this in mind, to address the importance of girls’ education and the practices and challenges faced in Province 2, UNESCO supported the organization of a dialogue session on 16 August which specifically focused on the “Beti Bachau-Beti Padhau” (BBBP) (Save Girls – Educate Girls) campaign, an insurance scheme to encourage girls’ education. Launched in 2019 by the Government of Province 2 in partnership with eight municipalities, there are now one hundred and thirty-eight municipalities taking part.
Provisions of the campaign include insurance schemes, free Public Service Commission classes, and the distribution of bicycles to female students. Under the insurance scheme, girls receive the insured amount after they receive citizenship certificates. All these campaign schemes are aimed at ensuring girls stay in school and receive an education.
The dialogue also discussed the ‘Chori Sikshya’ (Daughter Education) scheme, which aims to nudge parents in Province-2 to open a bank account when they give birth to a daughter.
Another speaker, Deputy Mayor of Lalbandi Municipality Shanti Lama, highlighted the importance of the scheme, relating it to her own experience. In her school days female friends from the Madhesh community could not continue their schooling. “Even now, such practices can still be seen as there is a belief that if a girl child is more educated, then more dowries should be given,” she said. However, she asserted that the perception of early marriage and girls’ education has been refined by the current insurance scheme, and thus appreciates the efforts made by the provincial government.
This Fourth Community of Knowledge was organized under the UNESCO-UNFPA-UN Women Joint Programme, with generous support from KOICA, and was broadcast live on FWLD’s Facebook page and viewed by more than 70,000 people on Facebook.