Nepal, an education

Arati is 10 years old, she attends Shree Yagamati Lower Secondary School, and lives in Nepal. £10 would sponsor Arati’s education for an entire month but she is not one of the 80 children being sponsored through Global Action Nepal.

She lives in Kapan Village, Kathmandu, which has a population of 15,340 and where women are nearly three times more likely to be illiterate (2157) compared to men (874).

Arati is one more example of the gender inequality in education in Nepal which was addressed last week (5 April) as the two-day international conference on ‘education, gender and development’ took place. The event was organised by Development Partnerships in Higher Education (DelPHE) and included research presented by academics from Nepal, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom.

Presenting a paper on ‘trends and issues of gender equality in school sector reform in Nepal’, Dr Lava Deo Awasthi, joint secretary to the Ministry of Education, painted a grim picture of higher education in Nepal, particularly that of females. According to the Nepal Labour Force Survey 2008 men outperform women at all ages with only 0.9% of women over 15 years old and over acquiring a degree compared to 3.3% for males. Only 10.4% of women complete some form of secondary education and only 2.9% of women completed higher education. 46.7% of adults never attended school while 10.7 per cent had not completed even primary education.

Dr Rose Khatry, lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University, UK, talked about ‘gender mainstreaming and women’s health: assessing maternal mortality as a marker for women’s development’.

At present GAN‘s supporters sponsor 80 children in four different districts of Nepal. The sponsorship scheme costs just £10 per month (33 pence per day – less than the price of the Bristol Evening Post at 38p), and yet provides a child with everything they could need for an education – books, pens, pencils, paper, uniform and much more. The money also goes towards paying for the direct costs of education such as tuition and examination fees.

Change to the current situation is being attempted through small grassroots developments led by charities such as GAN. To provide help and support to children like Arati, I am running the London Marathon and raising £1000 that will go direct to the charity. £10 provides education for one month for a child and any help is appreciated. Please sponsor my efforts and help children go to school and work towards a better life. Visit http://www.justgiving.com/stillawake.

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