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Gender Education Research Fellowship


Poverty elimination, girl’s education and gender equality is central to Kanyaka’s vision.  Creating, a learning and the sensitive environment around classrooms for all, through stronger education interventions, community support and policy research is our mission. Across the world, we have achieved to enroll children in school but, it's not enough. We also need to ensure that they learn to read, write, count, and acquire the necessary life skills. If we see situations amongst the most vulnerable groups, girls are the major marginalized ones who are massively affected because of societal structure, perspectives, family expectation, and lack of gender sensitivity.

Also, unsuitable environment and inadequate learning materials for the girl child at school. Keeping girls in school and ensuring they can learn in a safe and supportive environment, brings many benefits for girls, their families and for communities and society as a whole. Hence, girls in India and others countries to need support to overcome abundant barriers to education. These include the distance to school, gendered cultural norms, and practices; school-related gender-based violence; inadequate learning materials and child marriage. Girls and boys both face barriers in getting a good education, in many parts of the country because of poverty and lack of unavailability of educational resources.
Fortunately, there are many proven investments that overcome the barriers to gender equality in education. These include ensuring safe and secure schools, hiring more women teachers, developing gender sensitive teacher training and learning materials, providing transport service, scholarships or stipends, awareness-raising campaigns and community mobilization. Investing in gender education, not only supports girls' directly but also boys too and their families, communities and future generations

Education plays a key role in making progress toward gender equality, empowering girls and boys with the skills and competencies needed to take a decision about their lives, to give them a quality education which would lead value-based behaviors. Realizing the importance of education, the government and, public sectors are investing more in education so that each & every individual can be availed education. Nowadays, the education sector is rapidly growing private education players are investing their energy, wealth and human resources to provide education to all. In India, over the past ten years’ private sector has grown up in terms of their reach, quality, and networks. Currently, more than 42% of children, around 12 crores in total, study in 5 lakh private schools. The major chunk of in this is ‘Affordable Private Schools- Budget Schools’ which charge average fees of 700 to 1200 per month per child. Hence, we decided to work with APS schools to support on quality front and learning impact on a child through the research fellowship.
Sustainable Development Goal 4, on achieving quality education and Goal 5, on gender equality, combines powerfully with positive impacts on many other SDGs, including economic growth, good health and well-being, and poverty reduction.

The problem statement:
If we look at the gender indicators of education backwardness, it indicates we are in the state of emergency. 47% of girls get married before attaining the age of 18 (UNGEI), ASER has reported 55.7% schools have unusable toilets and Save the Children the India has come up with a long research report on how the Indian patriarchal mindset up stopped girl child to exercise equal rights as a male child.

India fares terribly low on the quality of education being imparted in its schools – a 2009 PISA report placed India second from bottom, following which the Government of India refused to participate in subsequent testing in 2012 & 2015. Development efforts in the government run schools are abundant and high-fee private schools already have access and the financial resources to implement new innovation and technology to improve learning outcomes. Affordable private schools, on the other hand, are at a disadvantage due to lack of investment, and access to education service providers. Therefore, much needs to be done to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of APS in delivering quality education.

Although, the gender gap in private school enrollment has decreased slightly in both the 7-10 and the 11-14 age group. In 2014, among children age 11-14, the gap between boys' and girls' enrolment in private school was 7.6 percentage points.
In 2016, this gap had decreased to 6.9 percentage points. But, there is a massive problem at the classroom level, society and learning girls are going through. However, it’s difficult to get all correct data of the private schools as there are very minimum sources available to capture data on girl’s education. Our recent study with private schools shows that average percentage of female students to a total number of students is 41% and Parental support/attitudes towards girls' education tend to stick out quite strongly from the perspective of the school leader.

Affordable private schools- characteristics
Affordable private schools are small, run without government aid, and have a fee structure that is lower than government per-child expenditure in public schools. Initiated by private individuals in response to the social and economic needs of parents from underserved communities, these schools cater to the developmental needs of children from low-income families.
  • Located in an underprivileged area where parents more willing to send their kids to such schools, learning can be ensured.
  • Schools run at a low cost with minimum infrastructure and resources, and teachers on a contract that gets minimum salaries.
  • Majority teachers didn’t go through any professional teacher’s training. Also, there is no any specific and constant training structure available for these teachers to enhance their teaching skills.
  • Most of the female teachers get attracted towards such schools because this school appoints neighborhood teachers at schools with very fewer salaries.
However, it has been seen that there are many teachers who spent more time in classrooms to engage student learning process.
There is an evident lack of classroom support for students. In a context where students often cannot afford supplementary tuitions or private classes, this lack of remedial support significantly impacts learning outcomes.
Lack of effective teacher-training, low teacher and management motivation often means none or minimal innovation within the classroom as well lack of infrastructure facilities which leads girl’s issues at more in higher classes.

Proposed Fellowship?

The proposed Gender Education Research Fellowship Programme will provide an opportunity to young education enthusiasts who want to make primary education more inclusive and sensitive towards female students. The duration of the programme will be two years. The research fellowship aims to facilitate a world class learning environment and conduct a policy research over the period of one year. Fellows have to play a dual role, first as an education facilitator and second as a policy researcher based on a yearlong field interaction.

Key areas of work:

A year-long voluntary field/schools engagement with Affordable private schools In East Delhi, Delhi – program: Gender Educational Research Fellowship.
Hands-on experience with schools, teachers, and nearby community
Live experience of work with low-income families- majority families would be migrated
An individual mentor
A sensitive engagement towards the educational reform at primary level, to reduce poverty by educating girls and reducing the gender gaps in learning at school levels.

Structure of the Fellowship

First phase – Fellows after a training module will engage as a learning facilitator with school stakeholders. This phase will run over a year which will start with rapport building with stakeholders, planning for school, identifying gender problems and facilitate gender-based learning. As a result, we will make school campuses gender friendly with excellent girl student’s performances, and education leaders who promote inclusive education practices.
Second Phase – Each fellow is required to conduct a policy research based on their identified gaps in the first year keeping girl children education in mind. There will be a panel of research guides who will supervise fellow’s research throughout the year. At the end of the year, we will be having a policy document on gender education at primary level.

Overall objective
  • Increasing participation as well as capturing gender gaps in early stage to student’s life
  • Improve girl child academic learning through focusing on learning gaps at primary level.
  • Sensitize possible stakeholders on gender issues and create a long-term sustainable solution for gender issues at school level with the supporting of policy recommendation through action research.
  • Involve multi-talented young enthusiastic people those who want to engage in social cause and want to bring inner and societal change.

Expected outcome
Gender friendly academic environment, infrastructures, curriculum and equal gender representation
An inclusive learning approach keeping students, parents, and school in mind
New generation Entrepreneurs who can tackle problems faced by present primary education system
Producing gender centered primary education policy that can solve the existing problems

Indicators of achievement 

There will three tier mechanisms for the assessment of our progress. There will be self-assessment by fellows and the Kanayaka team; the second assessment will be done by stakeholders/participants that include school administration, children, parents and the collaborative agencies. Once fellows will finish their three months of work, there will be a third party to access the work and give recommendations. The third party will be decided with the consent of all possible stakeholders. Followings are the key indicators of work progress.

  • Equal participation of girl students in academics, extra circular, and co-circular activities.
  • Cooperation among students, teachers, parents and fellows based on conducted activities.
  • Gender centered assessment of school infrastructures, girl child participation and creating stakeholders pressure to full fill the requirements.
  • Working on an inclusive standard school plan keeping all aspects in mind including pedagogy and curriculum innovation, leadership development and skills development, ICT, Sports etc and tracking the implementation process.
  • Conducting a yearlong policy research programme on gender-related research questions, a research mentor will be given to each fellow. 
Main Activities

Fellows will be engaged in two core initiatives, as a learning facilitator, and as a policy researcher.

Teaching facilitator 

Rapport Building with all identified stakeholders for a formal introduction, seeking their support and feedbacks
Consultation workshops with school principals and teachers.
Formulating a gender inclusive school plan on the maximum participation of stakeholders.
Weekly meeting with stakeholders, creating the best possible channel for communicating with respective partners.
Classroom interventions with students and teachers
Conducting monthly interactive sessions with Students and parents
Thematically focused group discussions on respective issues

Policy Researcher
Preparing proposal after in-depth discussions with partners in the field and literature review.
Draft proposals will be shared among research mentors for review and adoption of fellows.
Field work and writing at least two policies related to analytical commentaries along with maintaining field dairy
Midterm presentation and review of the findings
Policy thesis writing

Key Target Beneficiaries

The selected fellows will work in 70-100 affordable private schools in Delhi, mostly in East Delhi where marginal labors come from backward regions of India. So our programme will benefit the girl children of migrant workers, School, Teachers, Parents, Donor agencies in terms of producing better policy research and effective utilization of funds. At a larger level, we will also focus on how government can come with a comprehensive policy on low-budget private schools keeping gender problems in mind. Fellows will choose thematic policy research questions that will affect the primary education of girl children in our country.