Crucial to mainstream GESI in skills development programmes: Experts

Oct 1, 2017

Photo: Anand Gurung/SKILLS

Increasing access for women and disadvantaged groups in skills development programmes is essential if Nepal is serious about achieving its development goals, experts have said

Experts have highlighted the need to expand the participation of women and disadvantaged groups in skills development programmes in Nepal, adding that producing trained human resources by increasing the access of these groups to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is essential to address the development needs of the country.

Speaking at a recent workshop on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) in Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Nepal jointly organized by UNDP’s Support to Knowledge and Lifelong Learning Skills (SKILLS) Programme and Nepal’s Ministry of Education (MoE), the experts said that discrimination against women, disadvantaged and minority groups in society have limited their ability to enjoy political, economic, social and cultural rights, hence hampering Nepal’s efforts to achieve sustainable people-centered development.

UNDP Nepal’s Deputy Country Director Sophie Kemkhadze said that gender equality, inclusion and women’s empowerment are human rights issues that are prerequisites if Nepal is serious about achieving the sustainable development goals.

“Economically speaking also, the world is losing huge opportunity for growth because not every woman is able to contribute to productive growth. So not only from a moral point of view, but also an economic and pragmatic perspective, gender equality is necessary so that women all over the world can be productive and participate in the labour market in equal footing as men,” she said.

In the same vein, Executive Director of the Training Institute for Technical Instruction (TITI), Akim Shrestha emphasized on the need for GESI mainstreatming in the TVET sub-sector. “Focusing on increasing female and disadvantaged groups’ enrolment in technical and vocational education in the country, recruitment of more female staff in management, teaching and support positions in Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training as well as other private TVET providers is not only essential but necessary,” she said.

Binda Magar, a GESI specialist at UNDP, talked about how promotion of gender equality, empowerment of women and social inclusion is central to the mandate of UNDP and also intrinsic to its development approach in Nepal. She said that UNDP’s approach to GESI mainstreaming is a dual one: First, support the empowerment of women through gender-specific targeted intervention, and secondly, address gender and social inclusion concerns in developing, planning, implementation and evaluation of all policies and programmes.

Magar reminded the participants of the workshop that UNDP Nepal has been advocating for women and girls’ equal rights, combating discriminatory practices, challenging the roles and stereotypes that affect inequalities and exclusion based on gender and caste, disability, sexual orientation, accelerating the right of women and excluded groups in law and practice, strengthening mechanisms to advance GESI, women’s equal and meaningful participation, and leadership development.

Talking about the GESI policy of the Government of Nepal and its potential consequences in the federal context of the country, GESI expert and former bureaucrat Ratna Kaji Bajracharya said that treating GESI as fundamental human right was key.

“In our society, inequality predominantly affect individuals and groups suffering multiple human rights deprivation. Typically, marginalized and excluded groups lag behind in the enjoyment of one particular right due to lack of access to other rights,” he said.

Similarly, sharing the findings and experiences of the recently concluded nationwide TVET policy dialogue consultation jointly funded by UNDP Nepal and MoE, TVET expert Mahashram Sharma said that the state must ensure the rights of women, disadvantaged as well as disabled groups to food, shelter, education, basic healthcare, social security and employment in order to achieve the desired development goals.

The programme saw the participation of senior government officials, representatives of development partners, GESI focal persons in different government and non-government agencies, private sector, GESI experts and members of the media. 

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