Photo: Anand Gurung/SKILLS

Participants at a programme organized to discuss and devise ways to achieve gender equality in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Nepal have stressed on the need to ensure access as well as participation of women, indigenous nationalities, Dalits, persons with disabilities, among other marginalized groups in various technical-vocational training programs currently operational in Nepal to ensure sustainable and inclusive economic growth of the country.    

The programme, entitled "Gender Mainstreaming in TVET", was organized jointly by the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology (MoEST) and UNDP Nepal's Support to Knowledge and Lifelong Learning Skills (SKILLS) Programme in Kathmandu on Monday. Joint Secretary at MoEST Baikuntha Aryal said that the Government of Nepal has come up with various strategies to increase the access of poor, marginalized communities and women in TVET, one of the priority sectors of the government, so that they can be turned into skilled and capable individuals who can contribute to the development of Nepal.

"At a time when the government is planning to massively increase the scope of technical and vocational education and training in Nepal to ensure rapid economic growth, there has not been proportional increase in participation of targeted groups in TVET as expected, " he said, adding that this is why the government intends to widen the coverage of TVET sector to include women, poor, and marginalized  communities through substantial scholarship, incentives, and  job-oriented programmes. He said that the private sector should also be engaged accordingly to achieve the goal of gender mainstreaming in TVET.

One of the presenters at the programme, Renu Lama Thapa, Associate Professor at the Tribhuvan University, informed that Nepal's development plans have put special emphasis on mainstreaming gender in the national development process.

"Therefore, achieving gender equality by way of increasing women's participation in TVET, which is the key driver of economic growth and wellbeing, is one of the goals of gender mainstreaming efforts of Nepal," she said, adding that to achieve this TVET mission and goals on gender equality have to be defined on all levels through proper legislation, policy and public-private partnership.

Presenting a paper entitled, "Gender Concept and Gender Responsive Planning and Budgeting in TVET", Professor Uma Koirala stressed on the need to develop TVET programs in a way so that they would address the socio-economic needs of targeted groups which includes women, poor, and marginalized communities." She further said this can be achieved through integration of gender equality and social inclusion principles during TVET policy review and development.

Meanwhile, Binda Magar, a gender equality and social inclusion expert at UNDP Nepal, said that if we don't touch upon Sustainable Development Goal no. 10, which calls for reduced inequalities, while talking about inclusion of targeted groups in TVET services,  then Nepal won't be able to achieve inclusive economic development.

"If the TVET Policy focuses on increasing access of women, indigenous people, Dalits, persons with disabilities and people from poor, marginalized communities in TVET, then it will greatly help in reducing inequalities within the country," Magar said, adding that this is in line with the call of the Constitution and the 14th Development Plan for targeted interventions to enhance the capacity of targeted communities.  

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