Multi-sectoral support of basic and girls' education

Multi-sectoral support of basic and girls' education

How can intersectoral partnerships of government, business and civil society stregthen national education systems?

The study provides an overview of how and to what extent the religious, business and media sectors have supported girls' education in developing countries in order to understand their role in and potential for supporting girls' education activities. It categorises sector activities into three areas: policy advocacy, opinion-making and service provision. It particularly looks at:

  • the relation to the public sector
  • their motivations and rationales for doing so
  • who the beneficiaries are
  • how they have implemented and financed their activities
  • what considerations, challenges and constraints are associated with their involvement and support for girls' education

The study found that the business sector focuses on school quality issues. Its strategy is generally to build on existing school infrastructure, mobilising itself and its resources - either as a single business, an industry or a community - to support basic education. It is a powerful policy advocate but vulnerable to economic trends, demanding of rapid results and is less active in girls' education.

The religious sector focuses on ensuring access to underserved children, tending to operate its own services independent of the pubic sector. International and western organisations tend to define culturally appropriate schooling in economic terms whereas local and eastern organisations tend to do so on religous terms. Many religious sector programmes emphasise girls' roles as wives and mothers and its interpretations may truncate their educational opportunities. Of the sectors, it is the most stable and committed to girls' education.

The media provides both educational services such as distance learning or educational programming and publicity and news coverage about education issues, including girls' education. However most media involvement in education promotion or service delivery is profit-making or reimbursed. The media is often subject to government censorship and as it is a business, it may both willingly and inadvertently air programmes that promote negative and stereotypical images of women and girls.

The report concludes that each sector enjoys comparative advantages and suffer from specific liabilities. They are not the sole solution to financing gaps nor can they take over state provision of education. There is a risk in actively mobilising multi-sectoral support of education as neither donors nor governments can easily control the support that ensues.[adapted from authors]

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