The Gyaan Centre is a new school for girls soon to be opened in Rajasthan, India.
Rajasthan is one of the most conservative states in India, with women and girls still being limited to very traditional roles – many girls are still married off early and then their only prospect is to be tied to their husband and household as wives and mothers.
This is reflected in Rajasthan’s extremely low female literacy rate, which is currently under 60%.
However, thanks to the new Gyaan Centre, 400 girls a year will now be provided with the opportunity to receive an education.
This isn’t a typical school, because the founders realised they would have to work within local norms in order for the school to stand any chance of success, so it isn’t just offering a ‘standard’ academic style of education of its pupils.
It is also going to be offering training in local crafts such as dyeing yoga matts to the mothers and aunts of its pupils and have a craft market aimed at the tourists who frequent the local area (or at least did before Covid-19, but no one could have predicted that!)
This is an interesting example of how a development project has to be rooted in local culture in order to stand a chance of being a success (assuming it will be of course!) rather than just being imposed by the West, and thus being irrelevant.
It’s also a nice reminder of how students shouldn’t generalise about the level of development in any country, especially one such as India with a population of one billion people.
While India has seen rapid economic development over the past decades, gender equality lags behind, and in certain regions, such as Rajasthan it is particularly poor, hence the need for targeted local development projects such as this.
You can find out more about the school by reading this Guardian article.
This information should be of interest to any student studying the Global Development topic in A-level sociology, relevant to both gender and education.