Gender Guidelines for the Sri Lanka Open School System

What was done?

The national Institute of Education (NIE), with the support of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) open schooling portfolio, organized a three-day workshop on Gender Mainstreaming and Development of Gender Policy for NIE, Sri Lanka from 26th – 28th November 2019. The workshop was facilitated by a team from the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) There were 45 participants including faculty from NIE, Regional Centers spread across the island and senior professors and consultants possessing rich expertise in areas of gender and open schooling.

Why was this intervention needed?

Despite a legislative framework committing to equality, and parity of educational access and success in mainstream schooling, the historical design and implementation of open schooling did not focus on gender equality and equity. It was believed the lack of gender focus in the programmes offered in open schooling had adversely influenced girls’ and women’s education.

What was the expected outcome?

The workshop helped NIE to reach agreement on the following:

Gender vision

Women and girls in Sri Lanka engage as equal partners in the educational development process via open school system

Gender mission

Through island wide open school centres,

  • building awareness on gender sensitivity
  • providing wider access to comprehensive gender-neutral learning environment
  • facilitating multiple learning opportunities to make girls and women interested in further learning
  • creating digitalized open school system which helps in social mobility
  • building awareness on benefits of open school for economic development 
  • encouraging multiple income generating avenues including home-based small industries
  • implementing open school activities leading to gender equality, equity and sustainability.

Flowing from the workshop, and an earlier literature review, Gender Guidelines for the Sri Lanka Open School System, were developed and formally adopted by NIE Management.