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Open Schooling: Getting girls and women back to school – Webinar 2

17th November 2022 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm EAT

Open Schooling: Getting girls and women back to school - Webinar 2


Join Prof. Rose Ruto-Korir and Dr Tony Mays for an enagaging webinar on how Open School can play a role in getting getting women and girls back to school.

Date: Thursday 17th Nov. 2022 5.30-7.00 PM EAT

Please see the details below to join the webinar: pwd=Y3BiT3g3NkZVTVNBLO5sa21CK08VUTO9

Meeting ID: 870 5442 7703 Passcode: 473159


Commonwealth Open Schooling Association (COMOSA) and Commonwealth of Learning (COL) have planned a series of 3 webinars to focus on the context of out of schoolgirls and women and the potential for open schooling initiatives to get them schooling.


Education plays a critical role in enhancing the lives of all beneficiaries. Individuals who are educated tend to thrive both economically and socially. That is why the UN Sustainable Goals number 4 rallies Nations to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ (UN, 2021). While it is important to ensure the education of both boys and girls, according to the World Bank ‘every day, girls face barriers to education caused by poverty, cultural norms and practices, poor infrastructure, violence, and fragility (World Bank, 2022). In fact, globally, according to data for 2016 from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators, nine in ten girls (89.3 percent) complete their primary education, but only three in four (77.1 percent) complete their lower secondary education (Wodon, 2018, p.7). By illustration, ‘in sub-Saharan Africa, adolescent girls are more likely to be out of school than adolescent boys – 48.1%, compared to 43.6% and 37% of women aged 20 to 24 were married or in a union before the age of 18’. (UN Generally, research shows that failure to ensure 12 years of education for girls cost countries between $15 trillion and $30 trillion in lost lifetime productivity and earnings (Wodon et al., 208, p.5).

Photo credits: Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash (

According to the World Bank, ‘girls’ education goes beyond getting girls into school. It is also about ensuring that girls learn and feel safe while in school; have the opportunity to complete all levels of education, acquiring the knowledge and skills to compete in the labor market; gain socio-emotional and life skills necessary to navigate and adapt to a changing world; make decisions about their own lives; and contribute to their communities and the world’ (World Bank 2022). Women who are educated are empowered economically, tend to have fewer children, are informed about healthcare and better nutritional for themselves and their families (World Bank 2022). Wodon et al. conclude ‘overall, the message is clear: educating girls is not only the right thing to do. It also makes economic and strategic sense for countries to fulfill their development potential’ (Wodon et al., 2018, p.1). For women especially, as caregivers of others in society, investing in their education creates impact for them and for those under their care (World Bank, 2022).

Yet there are still 37m Out of School (OOS) children in Sub Saharan Africa. Out of these, slightly above 20m are primary school-going girls who risk multiple layers of vulnerability through Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), abusive marriages, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and cyclic poverty (COL, 2019). With specific reference to girls who are married off sometimes as early as 15 years old, their vulnerability is layered when they never go to school or drop out of school early, potentially getting married early and ending up raising young and vulnerable families that also end up with little or no education (Wodon, et al., 2018). This would further disenfranchise families through illiteracy and related poverty.

But why have children, especially girls remained out of school? In the Niger, reasons for girls’ dropouts which resonate with those of other African contexts include; poor learning outcomes and cost of schooling, failure at examinations, distant secondary schools, forced withdrawals for marriage, never enrolling or enrolling late, external influence from relatives due to cultural demands and value of girls’ education (Wodon et al, 2018 citing Perlman et al. 2018a, 2018b).

Therefore, it is clear that if girls get educated, personal and community trade-offs are clear. In many contexts, while alluding to the benefits of education for a woman, a common saying is that when you educate a woman, you educate the world. That is why, in its strategic plan 2021-2027, COL has indicated that one of its strategic thrusts will be getting girls back into schooling in African countries that are members of The Commonwealth.

The concept of Open Schooling Initiatives (OIS) has potential to support girls and women back into schooling. Open education is a flexible approach for learners to access learning through technology, and to participate in multiple ways of teaching and learning for them to build and share knowledge with the options of pursuing formal or non-formal education in a way that supports a connection between the two.

Webinar Series (Three Webinars)

The three-webinar series will run at intervals starting from 11th November 2022, focused on the theme ‘Getting girls and women back to school through Open Distance Learning in Sub-Saharan Africa’. Through a stakeholder- discussion forum, the participants will focus on the potential for Open Schooling options in the Commonwealth countries in Africa, with a particular focus for using ODeL to get girls and women back into schooling. Therefore, in collaboration with COL, COMOSA Chapter- 3 Africa will host these webinars to engage stakeholders and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) with the aim of clarifying the potential for OS in getting girls and women back to school.

Topics for discussion

To capture the focal areas of interest, a baseline survey of potential topics for the webinars was run in the month of September 2022 .The results of the survey highlighted the following thematic areas; Frameworks for getting girls and women back to school, the African context of Out of School Children, out of schoolgirls; policy areas of Open Schooling (OS policies, funding models), governance and management, ICT infrastructure, and priority areas for Open Schooling. Generally, the questions which the webinars seek to answer are:

1. What is the context of out of school women and girls in Africa?

2. What are the possible pathways for getting women and girls back to schooling?


Commonwealth of Learning. (2019). Addressing the Challenge of out-of-school youth. Vancouver: Commonwealth of Learning. Retrieved from Challenge.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

World Bank (2022). Count me in: World Bank Education Global Practice improving education outcomes for girls and young women. Washington, World Bank.

Wodon, Quentin; Montenegro, Claudio; Nguyen, Hoa; Onagoruwa, Adenike. 2018. Missed Opportunities : The High Cost of Not Educating Girls. The Cost of Not Educating Girls . Notes Series. World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”


17th November 2022
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm EAT
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Website: pwd=Y3BiT3g3NkZVTVNBLO5sa21CK08VUTO9

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