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As a result of intensive advocacy, girls' and women's education is a developmental priority in India. Availability of international development assistance for basic education and women's education has gone up significantly. Government and donor perceptions of gender issues in education and the importance of reaching out to girls to achieve the goal of universal elementary education have noticeably changed. Despite progress, almost 50 percent of girls and women in India do not have access to education. Almost every conceivable strategy and approach has been covered in government policy documents that recognize these two stumbling blocks: poverty and social status. The government has a well established system for monitoring programs and submitting regular reports to State Assemblies and the Parliament. Program focus on gender equity is often lost during implementation; lack of gender sensitivity among administrators and technical people is a stumbling block. Political will, administrative commitment, and leadership are key in the march to gender equity in educational access in different parts of India. Recommended strategies to reform the system are to make school accessible to every child and to retain every child in school; design and implementation of special programs for deprived girls and out-of-school adolescents; to replicate innovations; and to sensitize educators to gender dimensions of educational access. (Contains 17 references.) (YLB)

Descriptors: Access to Education, Administrator Role, Adult Basic Education, Developing Nations, Economic Development, Educational Attainment, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Females, Foreign Countries, Government Role, Illiteracy, Literacy Education, Poverty, Program Design, Program Evaluation, Program Implementation, Public Policy, Sex Fairness, Social Status, Womens Education

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Autor: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Bangkok Thailand. Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pac


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