Education, Gender and Development

Ratna Sudarshan
National University of National Planning and Administration, New Delhi
Niveau: débutant
Perspective: Autre
Sujet: Relations Nord-Sud & développement, Race & Gender
Format: Description du cours/syllabus


Education policy seeks to ensure equality in access, equality within the classroom and in teaching- learning processes, and equality in outcomes. This course encourages students to assess and evaluate the extent to which these objectives are met in practice and the ways in which educational outcomes are shaped by, as well as alter, gendered social norms. The National Policy on Education (NPE) 1986 expected that education would lead the process of women's empowerment in society. The NPE 1992 promised a positive, interventionist role in the empowerment of women by educational institutions. The implementation of these objectives has largely been attempted through a focus on within-school processes, with multiple interventions in place for equality in access and educational experience within schools. However access to education has not necessarily altered gender roles in society. While gender parity might have been largely achieved, it is less clear to what extent the education system has contributed to strengthening the processes through which gendered norms change in society. The course will reflect on the objectives, causes, consequences of gender equality in education, and strategies for change. It is focused on the Indian context although it will refer to regional and global experience.

Course Contents

UNIT I: Conceptual framework to study gender issues in education (5 Sessions)

Students will be introduced to concepts and research methods used in gender and development research, and their application to education; and the linkages between development perspectives and education

  • Basic concepts of gender, sex, gender roles and relations, gender norms and stereotypes, patriarchy and feminism
  • The historical context of gendered relations and feminist research methods (empiricism, standpoint, intersectionality, reflexivity)
  • Gender analysis frameworks, and the progression from welfare, WID, WAD, GAD, to empowerment and capabilities
  • Development trajectories, social movements, and role of education in post Independence India

UNIT II: Understanding gender equality in education (6 Sessions)

a. Situation Analysis (4 sessions)

Students will be introduced to gender statistics with a focus on education; data from official data sources (NSSO (latest round), Census, DISE, NFHS, as well as selected other surveys (NCAER HDR, ASER reports for example) will be used to illustrate the gender gaps in educational indicators. Further disaggregation by income group, caste, religion, and location within gender specific data will be done to understand how inequalities manifest in our education system according to the data.

  • Understanding intersectionality in education through the data  Gender budgeting and data-based advocacy

b. Expected outcomes of gender equality in education (2 session)

Gender equality in education is expected to reflect in outcomes such as higher work participation levels; informed citizenship and political participation; shifting social norms of gender roles and responsibilities.

  • Education, women’s work and social change

  • Education and women’s political participation

UNIT III: Gender and education policy (sessions: 9)

a. Gender equality goals in policies and programmes (Sessions: 5)

  • The development of international goals for gender equity including the Beijing Platform for Action and the MDGs
  • National goals of gender equality as expressed in national policy documents, including the Five Year Plans
  • Government interventions including the Mahila Samakhya programme; KGBV; financial and other incentives for girls education; reservation, specially designed courses for specific groups, training

b. Civil society and educational innovations (sessions:2)

  • Many educational innovations for girls education have originated from civil society organisations (residential schooling, gender sensitive curriculum, life skills education, etc): issues involved in upscaling and replication of best practices

c. Evaluating education programmes with a gender and equity lens (Sessions: 2)

Students will be introduced to an evaluation framework that uses standard OECD-DAC criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability while capturing gender and equity issues

  • The principles of feminist evaluation
  • Tools useful in evaluating education programmes


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Comment from our editors:

This syllabus is part of the Syllabi collection on International Association for Feminist Economics. This course is suitable for graduate students.

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