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UNESCO-KEDI Seminar 2007

‘Gender Challenges in Post Primary Education in East and Southeast Asia’

Seminar details

Title – “Gender Challenges in Post Primary Education in East and Southeast Asia”

Dates – 13-15 November 2007 

Location – Bangkok, Thailand

Participants – 

The seminar brought together a total of 12 participants from 6 selected countries in East and Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, China, Republic of Korea, Cambodia, and Lao PDR). Each country was represented by two national experts, one on secondary education and another on gender and education.  Guest international experts and representatives from partner agencies also attended the seminar.

Background to the theme of the seminar

It is widely recognized that educating girls beyond primary schooling helps to empower them in a way that primary education alone cannot. The Dakar EFA goal 5 makes explicit reference to achieving gender equality in both primary and secondary education.  

Issues related to gender parity and equity are complex in secondary education.  While access of girls to secondary education in general terms is still an issue in many developing countries in Asia, a lack of access may be more pronounced among certain groups (e.g. ethnic minority girls). Looking only at enrolment at national level can disguise the real picture. Inequalities and biases based on gender can be greater the higher the level of education and the nature of the problem can differ depending on the types of programmes or streams. Inequalities based on gender biases/stereotypes within secondary schools can have an impact on survival and completion rates, on transition to higher level of education (lower to upper secondary, secondary to post secondary) and to the world of work. In some country contexts, gender issues are not confined to the disadvantages faced by girls, but also those faced by boys, which is also becoming a source of policy concern. 

Questions of barriers to gender equality in terms of both access and quality in post primary education deserve special attention in East and Southeast Asia, where universal primary education has been achieved or is closed to be achieved. Yet this is a field where limited work has been done until now, compared to primary education. 

Objectives of the Seminar

  • Share research findings on gender issues in secondary education policies and practices 
  • Identify and discuss various barriers to gender equality in post primary education 
  • Review various policies and directives in different country contexts and discuss how they are applied and what challenges they face.  
  • Identify gaps in the existing knowledge-base to make proposals for more effective implementation and monitoring of the EFA Goal 5. 

Key documents



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