Strategies to facilitate girls’ access to TVET at the level of schools, TVET centres, (local) development agencies and NGO’s

Schools and training centres have a key role in facilitating girls’ access to TVET programmes, as do the development actors implementing these programmes. To go beyond simple gender-awareness, schools and/or TVET centres should be stimulated to develop a clear gender policy. Important elements of such a gender policy:

  • Train the entire school staff on gender issues, to change mentalities and counter prejudice. Also integrate gender in continued learning initiatives, i.e. retraining, peer groups, professional learning networks.
  • Positively enrol girls in education, for example through scholarships or adapted admission criteria.
  • Create a girl-friendly school environment where girls are at ease, can meet their peers and feel safe and appreciated. Investment in specific schooling infrastructure (e.g. appropriate sanitation, safe lodging facilities) can help create such an environment.
  • Safety is not only crucial for the students themselves, but is also key in convincing parents to send their children – girls in particular – to school, especially when the school is located far from the community where the girls live.

Investing in education and taking up TVET courses will only be a genuine choice for students and their parents if there is a good chance that alumni can find (decent) work opportunities afterwards. Strategies to support this are:  

  • The diversification of trades offered. This includes going beyond the traditional perceptions of “male and female jobs” and motivate girls (and/or their families) not to choose automatically for traditional “female” trades (hairdressing, sewing, cooking, etc.), as these often do not result in well paid jobs and generally are not highly appreciated in society.
  • Continue to offer education towards “typical” women’s jobs (as these remain attractive for girls), but “upgrade” them so they give more opportunities on the labour market: from knitting to “haute couture”, from cooking to “processing of fruits and vegetables at semi-industrial level”, etc.
  • Create new curricula, in line with developments in certain sectors (ICT, solar energy, printing, …) without creating a gender division of labour.
  • Prepare students for self-employment by including specific modules on entrepreneurship to the curricula.

Other strategies are related to non-formal TVET opportunities. It is important to increase their quality and recognition, as they may be more accessible for girls: shorter or free trainings, provision of additional services, closer to their homes, access through women’s groups or girls’ clubs, etc. It is also important for these programmes to look into strategies to deliver a certificate or diploma that is recognised for its quality.

Illustrations/Good practices