Gender parity a distant goal
Raman Mohan

ne of the “millennium development goals” the world gave itself in 2000 is to end gender disparity in education and ensure that all children complete a full course of primary education by the year 2015.

Campus Notes
Punjabi University, Patiala
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar



Gender parity a distant goal
Raman Mohan

One of the “millennium development goals” the world gave itself in 2000 is to end gender disparity in education and ensure that all children complete a full course of primary education by the year 2015.

However, while it is acknowledged that girls' education is expanding worldwide, the pace is simply not enough to achieve this goal nine years from now. According to a UN study “UNICEF projections based on attendance data for 81 developing countries show a global gender parity index (GPI) in 2005 of 0.96 - meaning that there are 96 girls for every 100 boys in primary school. This technically puts the world on track to meet the goal of gender parity in primary education. However, in practice there is a long road still to travel, with three of the world's regions lagging way behind in terms of girls' primary participation. Globally, some 54 per cent of the children out of primary school are girls, meaning that for every 100 boys out of school, there are 117 girls in the same situation.”

According to this study, poverty, child labour, child trafficking, HIV/AIDS, remote geographic location, poor infrastructure, ethnicity, women's low social status, mothers' lack of education, civil conflict, natural disasters and violence make it difficult to ensure complete gender parity in schools by 2015. More significantly, it is difficult to know how all these factors interact to make an impact on education. Besides, these social factors, funding remains a problem too. It is estimated that in addition to the $ 9.5 billion being spent annually at present, an additional $ 6.5 billion will be required every year from now to achieve complete gender parity by 2015.

However, despite the odds it is necessary that the world's commitment to girls’ education is not allowed to falter. Delaying gender parity by a few more years will be costly both for the girls whose lives will be adversely affected, and also for the entire “millennium development” exercise.

Girls’ education must take priority over any other kind of development anywhere in the world because without educating and empowering women, any kind of development is meaningless. Experts have suggested a number of strategies to policymakers for increasing girls’ participation in school. The most important of these being building more schools-including separate facilities for girls where necessary; recruiting more women teachers and providing scholarships or other financial assistance.

On the other hand, sociologists point out that besides infrastructure we have to take into consideration the social investments also. A study conducted by Population Action International (PAI) says that parents’ decisions to invest in girls’ education are more sensitive to the price of education than their decision to invest in boys’ education. The study using data from nearly 90 countries over three decades shows that “price elasticities of demand for primary and secondary enrolment as well as total years of schooling are between 12 and 21 percent higher for girls than for boys. This greater sensitivity results from parents’ perception that investment in girls yields lower returns to the household than investment in boys”.

According to PAI studies on private returns to schooling do not confirm this perception. It found that in fact, the proportional increase in wages from an additional year in school was greater for girls than for boys. Even where the private returns to education did not differ systematically by gender, demand for girls’ education could be affected by gender differences in effective returns realized by parents. In societies where women move to their husbands’ household and thus have limited ability to transfer resources to their parents, investments in daughters appear less desirable. This mindset has to be changed to encourage education of the girl child.

How important attitudes can be while dealing with such large issues is evident from the fact that a recent study in Kenya revealed that “girls in primary school are particularly affected by negative attitudes and discrimination. For example, whether teachers think Mathematics is important for girls and whether boys and girls receive (and perceive) equal treatment in the classrooms significantly affects girls’ (but not boys’) propensity to stay in school.

Likewise, parental attitudes have a similar effect. In households where parents think schooling is more important for boys than for girls, holding other factors constant, sons attain higher examination scores than those in households with no such attitude”. Before we can think of marching into 2015 with gender parity achieved, such attitudes have to be changed and teachers’ training methods and school curricula have to be suitably modified.

Gender disparities in education vary from country to country. A UN report card on this subject points out that “ensuring that all children of primary school age are in school by 2015 will require programmes and interventions that are carefully tailored to the conditions of each country

There is also a rural urban divide. In rural areas, 84 per cent of children are out of school in India. Among those children out of school who live in rural areas, girls are often the most deprived. Caste also plays an important role in keeping girls out of school in India and Nepal.

According to the UN, the South Asian region as a whole is a cause for worry. In this region there are 94 girls in school for every 100 boys — lower than the global average — with Nepal (89) and Pakistan (83) both scoring disappointingly low on this particular index of gender discrimination. To achieve universal primary education by 2015, Pakistan would have to increase participation at an average of 2.6 per cent per year — but girls’ participation in that country would have to rise by 3.1 per cent. The comparable annual rates of increase for Nepal would be 2.3 per cent (2.6 per cent for girls) and for India 1.7 per cent (1.9 per cent for girls).

Although the goal looks far away at present in the wake of high odds, a UN official recently said, “It is realistic, it is affordable, it is achievable. And it is our children’s birthright. Let no one use the interim indicators to claim that the goal of universal primary education is beyond us”. But he cautioned, nevertheless, that each nation will have to keep a close and constant eye trained on the interim targets, and their leaders must be called to account if they are falling short in their commitments.


Campus Notes

Punjabi University, Patiala
Much demand but few courses in Sociology

Concern regarding new challenges faced by social sciences because of lesser number of recruitment of teachers at the college level came to the fore at the Punjab Sociological Association meeting held at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Punjabi University, Patiala. Prof R.K. Choudhary, Head of the Department, chaired the meeting. The teachers reviewed the state of Sociology in the region and discussed ways to take the discipline to new heights. Sociology as a subject is much in demand at the BA course in the whole Malwa region, to which the university largely caters to. Ironically, the subject is offered in very few colleges. Despite the constant growth of students opting for Sociology at the graduate level, authorities have been found wanting in recruiting more teachers to match the rising demand. Prof Inderjit Kaur from Government College for Girls, Patiala, stressed upon the need to set this skewed ratio right to make the classwork more interactive as per UGC guidelines.

Prof Birinder Pal Singh stressed upon the need to provide a strong base for the students and asked teachers not to miss an opportunity to shape the future of Sociology in the region. Prof Surinder Jyoti, JLN College, Mandi Gobindgarh, suggested measures to increase coordination and interaction between the university and college departments.

Dr H.S. Bhatti linked the wider concerns of sociologists at the national and international level to the concerns shared by teachers at local level. The emerging role of the discipline was highlighted due large-scale changes taking place in the society.

Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
Good job offers for MBA students

As many as 40 students of MBA of Guru Nanak Dev University have got job offers in the first week of January through campus placements before their completion of their degrees. Dr. Rajneesh Arora, Director Placements said that India Bulls offered jobs to 18 students, Max New York to 11, Fortis Securities to 4, HDFC Bank to 3, JCT to 2, Malwa Industries and Nestle to one each. He said About 272 students had been offered jobs by national and international companies through campus placements, before the final exams of the students are held in May.

Contributed by Rubinder Gill and Pawan Kumar


Civil Services

Public Service Commission, Uttar Pradesh

Combined Lower Subordinate Services (Special / General Recruitment) Exam – 2006

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Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore 560012 (Kar)

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2) Course (ME / MTech / MDesign)
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Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore 632014 (TN) (Deemed University)

VIT Engineering Entrance Exam (VITEEE – 2006)

For Admission to BTech (Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Science & Engineering, Electronics & Communication Engineering, Electrical & Electronics Engineering, Electronics & Instrumentation Engineering, IT, Mechanical Engineering, Telecommunication Engineering)

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Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, School of Management Studies, Allahabad 211004 (UP)

Master of Management Studies (2-year / FT)

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Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT, Kharagpur 721302 (WB)


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Selection: JMET, GD, Interview.

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School of Communication & Management Studies, Prathap Nagar, Muttom, Aluva, Cochin 683106 (Ker)

PG Diploma in Management (2-year/ Full Time)

Selection: CAT-2006 scores

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Institute of Management, Nirma University of Science & Technology, Sarkhej – Gandhinagar Highway, Ahmedabad 382481 (Guj)

1) MBA (Family Business & Entrepreneurship)

2) Doctoral Programme in Management

Eligibility: For 1: Bachelor’s degree. Candidates should belong to a business family.
For 2: Master’s degree

Selection: Entrance Test: 15 April 2006 / GD and Interview

Application Form: Send Rs 500/- by DD favouring "Institute of Management, Nirma University" payable at Ahmedabad to the Deputy Registrar at the above address or download from website

Application Deadline: 31 March 2006.

Maths & Stats

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Post Box 1234, IISc Campus Bangalore 560012 (Kar) (Deemed University)

Integrated PhD Programme in Mathematics

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Application Form: Contact the Administrative Officer at the above address.

Details: Employment News (21 - 27 January 2006)/ Website

Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), 203, BT Road, Kolkata 700108 (WB)

1) B Stats (Hons) 3-year
2) B Maths (Hons) 3-year
3) M Stats (2-year)
4) M Maths (2-year)
5) MS in Quantitative Economics (2-year)
6) MTech in Computer Science (2-year)
7) MTech in Quality Reliability & Operational Research (2-year)
8) Junior Research Fellowship in:
(a) Stats b) Maths, c) Computer & Communication Sciences, d) Economics e) Demography, f) Physics & Applied Maths, g) Agriculture and Ecology, h) Sociology, i) Psychology, j) Human Genetics, k) Library & Information Science
9) Associateship in Documentation & Information Science (2-year)
(Programmes 2, 8 k & 9 at Bangalore
Programmes 8 a, b at Kolkata, Delhi & Bangalore
Programmes 3 at Delhi
Programmes 8 d 5 at Delhi & Kolkata
Remaining programmes in Kolkata only

Selection: Test: 07 May ‘06, Interview and Academic record.

Application Form: Send request for application with Rs 450/- by DD favouring "Indian Statistical Institute" payable at Kolkata to the Head, of Delhi/ Bangalore/ Chennai/ Hyderabad Centre by 3 March 2006 or download from website.

Details: Employment News (21-27 January 2006) / Website

Application Deadline: 24 March 2006


KC Mahindra Education Trust, Cecil Court, 3rd Fl, Mahakavi Bhushan Marg, Mumbai 400001

KC Mahindra Scholarships for Post-Graduate Studies Abroad
For Advanced Studies in Engineering, Natural Sciences, Humanities, Medicine and Business Management including the study of Military, Naval and Aviation Industry.

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Government and quasi-government officers with credible academic record, going abroad for specialized qualification also eligible.

Selection: Interview: July 2006

Scholarship Amount: Up to Rs 95,000/-

Application Form: Send preliminary application with stamped (Rs 10/-), self-addressed envelope (25 cm x 18 cm) to the Executive Secretary at the above address by 28 February 2006.

Application Deadline: 31 March 2006.

SAARC, Ministry of External Affairs, Room No 1025, Akbar Bhawan, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021

SAARC Youth Awards - 2005

Aim: To provide suitable recognition to extraordinary young talents and encourage the overall development of youth in the region.

Eligibility: nationals of SAARC member states.
Age: 20 – 35 years

Award: A citation in English, a SAARC Gold Medal, Cash prize of US $ 1500; per diem and return ticket for travel to the venue of presentation of the award.

Application Form: Send in prescribed format with the required documents to the Under Secretary (SAARC) at the above address.

Details: Website.

Application Deadline: 31 March 2006

SAARC Division, Room No 1025, M/o External Affairs, Akbar Bhavan, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi

SAARC Award – 2005
(Offered by SAARC Secretariat, Katmandu to honour exemplary work of individuals and organisations based in the South Asia region in areas such as environment protection, improvement of condition of women and children, poverty alleviation and regional co-operation).

Award: Citation, gold medal and cash prize of US $ 8000.

Details: Website

Application Deadline: 21 April 2006

— Pervin Malhotra