Education of Girls
The goals of SSA include a specific focus on reduction of gender disparities in education, as reflected in lower enrolment, retention and achievement of girls, particularly those from socially and economically disadvantaged groups. Gujarat has adopted specific strategies to enhance girls' access, enrolment and retention in schools. Gender sensitive curricula and textbooks have been developed. All the new school buildings have been provided with separate toilets for girls. Early Child Care Centers (ECCE - AS Centers) have been opened to support girls attendance in school.
State Resource Group & District Resource Group have been entrusted with the responsibility of designing gender education strategies taking into account the local specific needs. Gender awareness materials such as posters, handbooks and brochures have been developed. Gender Training Modules for teachers, Master Trainers and BRC and CRC functionaries have been developed.
The programme recognizes the crucial importance of enabling communities, particularly women, to play a crucial role in every aspect of the programme. In this direction, village level local bodies such as SMCs have been empowered to take the responsibility of promoting education of girls in their areas. Intensive capacity building of community, viz., women groups, Mahila Sarpanches and Panchayat Members have been carried out with a focus on education of girls. Besides, communities and women organizations were involved in mobilization and school management and in monitoring enrolment and retention and levels of achievement with emphasis on girls.
Reducing Gender disparities in Primary Education
In Gujarat, it is felt that real empowerment of women is possible only through education. Mothers will have to be educated first and made aware of the importance of educating their daughters. In line with the basic emphasis on reduction of existing gender and social disparities in educational access, GCEE is trying out diverse interventions to promote girls’ education under DPEP and SSA. Persistent efforts have been made to motivate the people, in general, and women in particular, to send their children to school. This refers to demand generation for primary education. The strategy is to change the attitude of the village communities, especially of the women, towards the school resulting in stronger community-school linkages.
Pedagogical Renewal Process
Under SSA, Gujarat has been immensely successful in revising the pedagogy. Wider consultations with teachers, professionals from universities, colleges and NGOs have ushered in decentralization in the pedagogical renewal process. Efforts have been made to replicate such consultation process at the district level as well, where DIETs play the major role. They have been empowered to identify the training requirements at district level and, also, plan and implement training programmes accordingly. Creation of resource centers at the Block and Cluster levels has replaced the earlier administrative type of inspection system in Gujarat. There is a greater emphasis now on follow up of teacher training and support visits by BRC and CRC co-ordinators wherein teachers receive academic counselling and are assisted in their efforts to cope with the changing teaching/ learning situations.
In the above context, concrete steps have been taken in terms of development of new textbooks, curriculum review, orientation of teachers towards new pedagogy, which can be broadly defined as child - centred, activity based and joyful teaching/learning. The State Resource Group (SRG) for pedagogy has been playing an important role in the pedagogical renewal process. Block and Cluster Resource centres have been operationalised. The TLM grant and school grants are made available to all schools in the state under SSA.