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National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level:
The National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL) is a focused intervention of Government of India, to reach the “Hardest to Reach” girls, especially those not in school. Launched in July 2003, it is an important component of SSA, which provides additional support for enhancing girl’s education over and above the investments for girl’s education through normal SSA interventions.

Objectives of the programme:
  • Reduction of gender gap in education sector
  • Ensure greater participation of women and girls in the field of education
  • Improve quality of education
  • Stress upon the relevance and quality of girls education for their empowerment

Few of the many unique features of NPEGEL are:
  • Establishment of Model Cluster School exclusively to promote girls education
  • Scope for all round development of girls (Enhancement of Self-esteem and Self-confidence)
  • Vocational and Life-Skill Education
  • Gender Sensitization Training Programme for Teachers
  • Incentive for girls to attract them towards education

Target Population / Beneficiaries:
  • Out of School Girls
  • Drop out girls
  • Overage girls, who have not completed elementary education
  • Working girls
  • Girls from marginalized social groups
  • Girls with low attendance
  • Girls with low levels of achievement

NPEGEL in the Maharashtra is being implemented in 36 EBBs and 523 model cluster schools of 17 Districts, 18 Municipal Corporations and 2 Municipal councils covering 6,29,995 girls of classes I to VIII in 2012-13.

The NPEGEL budget sanctioned from the central government is as follows:

NPGEL Budget

NPEGEL Schools:

District Name Primary Schools Upper Primary Schools /
Upper Primary Sections
Govt. including local bodies Govt. aided Total Govt. including local bodies Govt. aided Total
1 Ahmednagar 3747 189 3936 594 701 1295 5231
2 Aurangabad 2195 277 2472 877 495 1372 3844
3 Beed 2270 194 2464 731 488 1219 3683
4 Gadchiroli 1603 93 1696 504 185 689 2385
5 Hingoli 851 62 913 469 119 588 1501
6 Jalagaon 1971 224 2195 551 643 1194 3389
7 Jalna 1513 104 1617 726 227 953 2570
8 Kolhapur 2159 192 2351 1013 508 1521 3872
9 Mumbai BMC 1198 458 1656 956 674 1630 3286
10 Nagpur 1835 448 2283 659 720 1379 3662
11 Nanded 2271 430 2701 1088 622 1710 4411
12 Nandurbar 1456 160 1616 264 234 498 2114
13 Nashik 3710 277 3987 990 652 1642 5629
14 Parbhani 1092 156 1248 616 238 854 2102
15 Pune 4298 350 4648 1338 808 2146 6794
16 Sangli 1753 173 1926 576 480 1056 2982
17 Thane 4132 531 4663 1368 697 2065 6728
Total 38054 4318 42372 13320 8491 21811 64183

Going Forward
A number of schemes and initiatives are being undertaken to ensure Elementary Education for the hardest to reach girls. The schemes and strategies to make it possible are as discussed below:

Gender Resource Centre (GRC):
Gender Resource centre will provide resources for addressing gender related issues and also provide a platform for mobilization of strategies like Maa- Beti Melava, Kishor Kishori Melava, SMC Members and Community mobilizer's Training.

Physically setting up GRC which would have the following components:
  • Posters depicting the contribution made by women achiever
  • Books written by eminent women thinkers
  • Case studies of women/girls, achievers from their block, district, region
  • Activity cards on gender and equity issues

The GRC will conduct the following activities:
  • Kishor-Kishori / Maa Beti Melave
  • Training bare foot counselors [43EBBs & 7 slum in urban = 50]
  • Vocational Education and Training

Maa-Beti Melava:
Maa-Beti melavas conceptualizes that retaining the girls up to elementary level besides would provide a platform for sharing health, hygiene and nutritional issues of both girls and their mothers and develop scientific outlook with respect of health and hygiene. These in-turn become role models in the community.
Health is one of the indicators that measures human development. Maharashtra has created extensive health related infrastructure facility has trained health personnel and it generally consider to be above national average. However, the data on adolescence girls as per DLHS 2007-08 shows that, 26.1% girls of 15-19 years age group and 0.7 % girls in 10-14 age group are married. 17.6 % girls are married below the legally permissible age with disparities between Nagpur, Kokan and Nashik, Aurangabad divisions. Similarly, as per NFHS 2005-06 13.8 % girls in the age group of 15-19 years have began child bearing and the incidence is significantly higher in girls belonging to rural areas, SC (19.40%) and ST (23.1%) social groups and lowest wealth index group (22.6 %).

Children under 6 years require appropriate nutrition and adequate care in order to reach their full growth and development potential. The projected population of the no. of adolescent girls in Maharashtra between the ages of 10 and 19 is approximately 9.96 million (source - UNFPA projected population report 2009). The National Family Health Survey indicates prevalence of anemia in 52% adolescent girls as against, 24 % adolescent boys. Similarly, more than half of the adolescent girls in Maharashtra suffer from acute under nutrition.

Menstrual Hygiene:
Menstrual hygiene is an issue that every girl and women has to deal with once she enters adolescence around the age of 12. Without the scientific understanding women and adolescent girls suffer from poor menstrual hygiene which restricts their movement and self-esteem. Good menstrual hygiene is crucial for health education and dignity of girls and women. Rapid assessment on menstrual hygiene and sanitary napkin market by WSSD and UNICEF in 8 districts of Maharashtra shows 60-70 % girls do not go to school during menses. Menstrual hygiene management needs to be seen within the overall equity and inclusion paradigm as a neglected issue. It cuts across other vulnerabilities such as disability, location, poverty, class, caste and religion according to the context.

Training Bare Foot Counselors:
This initiative works towards training community volunteer from amongst SMC members from each cluster who can work as a bridge between community and school.
Each school SMC is expected to work towards 100 % enrollment and retention. One of the members, if trained can take up responsibility to follow up with school and community. This member would be a link between school and community. To generate behavioral understanding, members of Meena Raju Manch proposed to each upper primary school under girl education would invite artisans, professionals from their own community. Through schools with the help of Meena Raju Manch members under guidance from counselor, gender sensitization and removal of gender biases in the community will be targeted.

Vocational Education:
Vocational education is an important component in NPEGEL. Every year programmes like stiching, sewing, rangoli, mehendi, computer literacy etc. These programmes are conducted with the help of locally available person. As a result, there is large variation in the quality and duration of the courses.
The National policy on education 1986 states, that the introduction of systematic, well-planned and rigorously implemented programmes of vocational education is crucial to enhance individual employablity and to reduce mis-match between demand and supply. In the National Skill Development Policy 2009, Govt. of India initiated programmes under skill development initiative which are demand driven short term training courses based on Moduler Employable Skills (MES). MES is minimum skill set which is sufficient for gainful employment or self employment in world of work. Similarly, National Institution of Open Schooling (NIOS) also conducts vocational courses.
The State would like to implement vocational education programme in NPEGEL, blocks/slums, KGBV schools and in each district for deprived children particularly from SC/ST and minority. All vocational courses would be certificate courses with job opportunities offered by various Govt. agencies such as, ITI, NIOS and MES.

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