Exploring adolescent girls' perceptions and experiences about their entry and re-entry in education through non-formal education provision

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy in Education


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Non-Formal Basic Education (NFBE) is a flexible accelerated learning program which is specifically designed to offer primary education curriculum to the out-of-school children (OOSC) in Pakistan. In the Sindh province, which has its own share of OOSCs, various organizations are currently managing the NFBE programs. This program and many other similar interventions generally focus on enrolling and retaining girls who make up the majority of the OOSCs. Thus, against this backdrop, the present research explores the experiences and perceptions of 10 adolescent girls who were currently studying in the NFBE centers and started/re-started their educational journey through this model. These girls lived in the urban slums and attended the NFBE centers situated in their neighborhoods. Semi-structured interviews with the participants were conducted to collect the relevant data. The analysis was carried out using the Gender and Development Theory that emphasizes on relationship between men and women as an essential way to understand women’s/girls’ experiences and their disadvantageous position in the society. The study findings have revealed a number of factors contributing to these girls' exclusion from education. For instance, restricted mobility hampered girls’ access to schools.
The participants showed a positive view of their entry in NFBE and perceived their education to be an instrumental factor in helping them retrieve their self-esteem and social standing. This research highlighted that NFBE education enabled them to think about a better future, which would allow them to change the mindset of the society through propagating a number of intellectual approaches such as meaningful teaching and improved child-rearing process leading to a gender-equitable society. However, sustainability seems to be a major challenge as the projects related to OOSC and girls' education are time-bound and are offered in an episodic fashion, with little or no continuity toward the programs for next level of education. The participants expressed their opinion about the gaps in the policymaking process, which hindered their academic excellence and further education. Thus, they urged for making a more vigorous policy framework to cater to the mobility and accessibility issues of girls in the pursuit of education. The research recommends a focus on long-term plans instead of short interventions in order to maintain a consistent approach specifically towards the education of OOSC girls. The study also confirms that strong parental support, quality teaching and conceptual development can transform the landscape of girls' education in both formal and non-formal educational arenas.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library