The barriers and enablers to education among scheduled caste and scheduled tribe adolescent girls in northern Karnataka, South India: A qualitative study

Lalitha Bhagavatheeswaran, Sapna Nairb, Hollie Stone, Shajy Isac, Tejaswini Hiremath, Raghavendra T., Kumar Vadde, Mahesh Doddamane, H.S. Srikantamurthy, Lori Heise, Charlotte Watts, Michele Schweisfurth, Parinita Bhattacharjee, Tara S. Beattie International Journal of Educational Development, 2016; Read full paper online

This qualitative study explored the barriers and enablers to scheduled caste/scheduled tribe (SC/ST) adolescent girls entering into, and completing secondary education in northern Karnataka, South India.

In-depth interviews were conducted with 22 adolescent girls, their respective parent/guardian and 11 teachers, recruited purposively from 11 villages within two districts in northern Karnataka.

The study found that:

  • SC/ST adolescent girls faced numerous barriers to education at macro and micro levels.
  • The main macro level barriers to education included the belief that a girl should stop schooling after reaching puberty, fear of a girl’s reputation being ruined (for example en route to or at school), and lack of a supportive school environment.
  • The main micro level barriers to education included the influence of peers in dropping out of school as well as a girl not valuing education herself.
  • Enablers to education were also identified and included a supportive school and family environment, and positive peer role models.
  • The study highlights the importance of involving multiple stakeholders to overcome the barriers to education, and working to change beliefs and expectations around adolescent girls in this setting.

Read more in the Barriers and Enablers to Education brief.

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