In the past decade, school enrolment and retention has increased amongst adolescent girls in Bihar. This has resulted in unprecedented levels of enrolment of unmarried girls. As more girls complete secondary school, they should be better positioned to pursue higher education and/or skilled employment or enterprise-building.
Yet in India, increased education is associated with declining participation of women in the labour force. Barriers to participation include a lack of skills appropriate to employment or enterprise, insufficient employment opportunities aligned with education level and needs, concerns related to distance and safety, and childcare and domestic responsibilities.
Skills training has recently gained national momentum in India, with considerable investment in vocational training and job placement programs for youth. Skills training programs are also envisioned to be a pathway to improving girls’ transitions from school into quality labour force participation. In Bihar, government-operated skills initiatives target youth in and out of school. In government schools, life skills – such as the ability to negotiate, make a life plan, or make informed decisions on sexual and reproductive health – have been incorporated into teacher training and curricula, with technical support of non-governmental organisations. Outside of the classroom, the Bihar Skills Development Mission (BSDM) provides youth from 15-24 years with vocational training and job placement support through programmes conducted in block-level centres.
Improving pathways for girls to transition from school to work include:
This project aims to generate evidence on the implementation of school-based interventions designed by Going to School (a New Delhi and Mumbai-based content creation organization) to encourage girls to engage in the labour force and create an enabling environment for them. Going to School is partnering with the Government of Bihar to support government-led scaling up of school-based interventions such as story content, learning activities, and linkages with ongoing skills programs.
PopulationCouncil Consulting (PCC) is a learning partner for Going to School, through the Initiative for “What Works – Bihar”, led by the Center for Catalyzing Change (C3). In this role, the PC Consulting will conduct formative research around participation of girls in the labour force and conduct an implementation research study on the content, context, and processes involved in government-led implementation of Going to School’s interventions across Bihar.