|Climbing the Ladder: A Case Study of the Women's Secondary Education Programme of Allama Iqbal Open University, Pakistan (IBE, 1999, 34 p.)|
The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) of Pakistan started the Womens Secondary Education Project (WSEP) through distance learning in 1986. The intention was to make secondary education available to women who did not have access to formal high schools after completing middle-level education (up to Grade 8). The project is unique and has many distinctive features. It was designed to cater for the educational needs of rural women who are denied access to the formal education system because of social and economic constraints. Accordingly, the course materials were designed and developed for the special needs of those women. Most of the courses are skill-oriented and are geared to the real-life situation of rural women. The project offers flexibility in methodology and implementation and has provided support to the target group at all levels.
The Governments of Pakistan and the Netherlands jointly funded the project. It was implemented in two phases: Phase I from 1986 to 1989; and Phase II from 1993 to 1995. There was a bridging period of three years between the two phases. The project formally ended in 1996 and has now been institutionalized as a regular programme called the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Programme.
In 1999 the AIOU opened the programme to male learners by adding new courses and removing gender bias from previous course contents. The addition of technical and science courses will be another incentive for learners.