Recommendations for Creating Effective Distance Learning Programs for Indian Women
By Meena Laad, associate professor of physics at Symbiosis Institute of Technology, Symbiosis International University, Pune, Maharashtra, India
- Develop educational and vocational training programs to equip unemployed women with new knowledge and skills that will enhance and widen their employment opportunities.
- Spread awareness about the importance of distance education programs by organizing special events, street plays, and community programs for urban, rural, and tribal women.
- Encourage women learners who have already benefitted from distance education programs to share their experiences and knowledge with other women.
- Design application-oriented courses for women to help them achieve economic and social empowerment.
- Encourage women to use the experience and knowledge they have gained outside of the classroom in programs focused on subjects associated with women’s traditional roles, such as cooking and catering, agricultural research, and tailoring and embroidery.
- Including scientific and technical training in the curricula. New technologies can not only improve women’s job prospects in nontraditional fields, but also make learning easier, faster, and more interesting.
- Design course materials in language that is easy for students to understand, including regional languages.
- Emphasize gender equality when designing curricula.
- Keep courses affordable to women in lower income groups and provide financial assistance as necessary.
- In remote villages, open study centres with libraries stocked with books, magazines, and other educational materials.
- Continuously revise curricula in response to women learners’ needs.
- Provide employment opportunities for women who have completed a distance learning course by organizing job fairs in their villages and creating a database of employable women for prospective employers.