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Classroom, Bangladesh

Schools

In order to keep adolescent girls in school—and maximise their academic success—teachers, schools, and curricula need to recognise girls’ gender- and age-related needs.

What we know now:

Schools play many roles in girls’ lives. They not only teach girls reading, writing and maths, but also help them develop the critical thinking skills they need to function as adults. Schools also provide girls with opportunities to socialise, expose them to role models and offer them a glimpse of the wider world.  Furthermore, because students are effectively a “captive audience”, schools can help expose girls and boys to the gender equitable ideals that are often lacking in other contexts. Interventions that have improved girls’ educational outcomes are highly varied.

  • Where teachers see girls as less capable, rather than simply overworked, teacher training can help girls stay on track academically. This is particularly true when girls are also offered extra tutorial support to offset their more frequent absences.
  • Where girls are pulled out of school in order to marry, linking students into school-based ‘reporting chains’ can help them alert authorities to planned illegal marriages.
  • Where girls do not attend school during their periods, building gender-segregated toilets—and providing sanitary supplies-- can help keep girls in school because they can privately deal with their hygiene needs.
  • Where school violence—by teachers or students--pushes girls out of school, anonymous reporting boxes can allow girls (and boys) to report violence without fear of retribution.
  • Where girls leave school because they cannot afford fees, cash or in-kind transfers may help girls to continue their education. There is also emerging evidence that school-based income-generation projects can allow girls to make the money they need in order to stay in school.

GAGE’s contribution:

GAGE will seek to better understand which schools and learning environments  are generating the most successful girls and work to distil lessons about what sort of interventions might help less successful schools and teachers deliver more change for girls. We will look at:

  • How can national- and regional-level Departments of Education best support local level staff to deliver high-quality, gender-equitable and adolescent-friendly schooling?
  • How can school administrators shift school culture to eliminate violence and foster student future-seeking?
  • How can schools involve parents and students in identifying and solving the problems that keep adolescents from being academically successful?