Gender and social inclusion policies are poorly implemented in Nepal's vocational schools
The perception about gender and gender roles evolve with time and vary according to cultural and social differences. Nevertheless, gender inequality and other types of social exclusion are seen in every society. The issues of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) and its implementation have been some of the major challenges in recent times. A qualitative research study titled Gender Equality and Social Inclusion in Technical and Vocational Education and Training, published in the Journal of Training and Development (JTD), highlights poorly implemented gender and social inclusion policies in vocational schools in Nepal.
Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) is a widely discussed topic in all sectors of Nepal. The country's new constitution has given high importance to GESI with provisions of proportional representation. The recently concluded Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) also gave high importance to gender equality and the promotion of excluded groups. The principle is carried forward in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, the implementation of the laws and regulations has been challenging.
The research found that there is no safe accommodation for female students in Nepal's vocational schools and toilet facilities are not good. Likewise, there are no ramps for wheelchair users. GESI policies have failed to deliver particularly in cases requiring the establishment of physical infrastructure, reported the article.
The study also highlighted how poor and marginalized students do not have enough money for their education. Although scholarships are provided to some students, they are not provided to all needy students. The curriculum is not gender friendly and the discriminatory decisions, policies, plans, acts, rules and regulations also hinder gender and social inclusion in these vocational schools in Nepal, found the study.
The ethnographic study was done by conducting in-depth interviews with participants (three female and one male) who are instructors in the technical schools of the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) and work as GESI focal people in the schools. The article published in the Journal of Training and Development said that the participants were aware of the information about gender and social inclusion and about maintaining a GESI friendly environment but that they saw challenges in the implementation.
Men and women get equal opportunities for employment in technical schools and are paid the same salary for the same kind of work. However, there is still some discrimination on the types of jobs they do and the engagement of females in traditional occupations. For example, a technical school would only look for a female candidate for the job of a maid, and only a male candidate for the job of a security guard.
In recent years, several structural and organizational changes have been made throughout Nepal to address issues related to gender and social inclusion. "Several positive changes are seen in the schools, such as the establishment of GESI units and appointment of GESI officers in most of the schools to look into the issues of discrimination and harassment," said Shiba Bagale, author of the research article and trainer at Community Development Programme of Training Institute for Technical Education (TITI), Bhaktapur.