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Advocating education of adolescent girls

Nov 27, 2009

Population Council’s document New Lessons: The Power of Educating Adolescent Girls emphasises on the significance of investing in girls’ education. It argues that this will make them achieve self-sufficiency and help them access better economic opportunities.

New Lessons: The Power of Educating Adolescent Girls

Publisher: Population Council, 2009

An adolescent girl stands at the doorway of adulthood. In that moment, much is decided. If she stays in school, remains healthy, and gains real skills, she will marry later, have fewer and healthier children, and earn an income that she’ll invest back into her family.


But if she follows the path laid down by poverty, she’ll leave school and enter marriage. As a girl mother, an unskilled worker, and an uneducated citizen, she’ll miss out on the opportunity to reach her full human potential.

Investing in girls is the right thing to do on moral, ethical, and human rights grounds. Perhaps no other segment of society globally faces as much exploitation and injustice. Only a tiny fraction of international aid dollars is spent—and spent effectively—on needs specific to adolescent girls.

This report demonstrates that education for girls during adolescence can be transformative, and hence it identifies a broad array of promising educational approaches which should be evaluated for their impact. Adolescent girls in poverty are acutely aware of the obstacles they face, but are full of ambitious, powerful ideas about how to overcome them.

It shows that across the world few programs are specifically designed with the developmental and learning needs of adolescent girls in mind. Little research or programmatic attention has been given to educational quality and relevance, in particular those aspects that may be beneficial to girls, including curricular content.

The document offers evidence on how proven practices, including scholarships for girls and the recruitment and training of female teachers, can increase the number of adolescent girls attending school and highlights the pedagogical approaches that enhance learning and employment.

Key findings highlight:

The benefits of girls’ schooling ripple out within the family, within the community, and across generations.

Continuing education during adolescence is a necessary first step for girls if they are to overcome a history of disadvantage in paid employment and civic life.

If girls are to make the shift from economic dependency to self-sufficiency, universal access to a range of educational opportunities is essential for sustained learning during adolescence, regardless of girls’ prior educational backgrounds.

It gives a “call to action” for governments, education ministries, donors, NGOs, and corporations to collaborate, innovate, and invest in a range of educational opportunities for adolescent girls.

Source : UNGEI
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