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Building an empowering mentoring model for girls and boys to strengthen secondary education in India

Tue, April 16, 8:00 to 9:30am, Hyatt Regency, Bay (Level 1), Bayview B

Proposal

Dr. Jyotsna Jha with the Centre for Budget and Policy studies leads the Bihar Mentoring Project (BMP), which is developing an empowerment-based mentoring model that can be integrated into regular public-school curricula and pedagogical approaches at the secondary level.

Malala Fund selected Jyostna as a Gulmakai Champion in 2018 to support the further development and implementation of the model. This model is being developed through an action-research study based in urban and rural Bihar, a state with high numbers of children out of school, focusing on adolescent girls and boys. The mentoring model will develop leadership skills, develop critical thinking skills to examine and change perceptions and knowledge of themselves and their aspirations, and enables positive actions related to themselves, their families, and their communities. The project will target girls and boys from 11 to 14 who are in school, as well as connect out-of-school girls and encourage their use of other means of schooling such as Open and Distance Learning (ODL). The rationale for targeting this age group is to introduce conversations of agency, body, self-efficacy, and empowerment at a critical stage in the life cycle.

The scalable model allows for changes in the social and policy environment, so that the methodology can be used to adapt to changing social, cultural, political and economic contexts. The model also aims to prepare them for lifelong learning, given the context of a fast changing labour market where ‘learning to learn’ has become much more important than ‘learning’ itself.

The implementation of the model expects to see some changes at the level of (i) recipient girls and boys, (ii) action research site, and (iii) institutional level. At the level of girls and boys, the expectations relate to their self-image, self-perception and confidence leading to changes in their understanding of their self, their bodies, and their capabilities; their engagement with the narratives, social norms, and social institutions that control women’s sexuality, bodies, and identities; nature of their participation with their families, and a stronger critical analysis of the social norms that are prevalent within their families; the nature of their participation in their school, and a stronger critical analysis of the social norms that are prevalent within the school; and in their aspirations and their capabilities in strategising and planning to attain their goals and aspirations.

At the level of action research site, the project is expected to produce changes in girls’ and boys’ participation in public and political spaces in the school as well as in the village/locality, and a greater involvement in civic matters and political action on issues of entitlements, rights, and other actions. It is also expected to see greater acceptance of girls’ roles within the household and in schools, as well as girls’ mobility and presence in public spaces. At the broader level, it can be expected to see the presence of a documented model based on the entire methodology, process and results of the action-research undertaken to develop the empowerment-based mentoring model, presence of a scaling up framework for the model in diverse and changing social-political-institutional contexts, and an informed discourse on the pedagogical approaches to education and empowerment for adolescent girls and boys.

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