Girls' education in Sri Lanka: A moral necessity: Access and impediments to education for female tea plantation residents

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Selvaratnam, Sesheeni
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of the educational experiences of girls' and women in the tea plantations. Despite Sri Lanka's impressive literacy levels the tea plantation communities' lag behind the national rates in literacy, retention and participation in education. The gender gap in education in the plantations is also higher. The access of plantation girls to primary education is no longer a problem. Yet, retention and participation are problems due to the cost-benefit perceptions (employment), supply factors (schools, transportation) and cultural barriers. Girls with a grade 10 education are unable to translate their educational achievements into employment opportunities, which are in short supply. Cultural barriers, labour market sex segregation, ethnic insecurities are factors that continue to disadvantage girls in education and employment in the modern sectors of the economy. Women's work as housemaids in the Middle East and in garment factories provide an alternative source of income but these occupations do not require high educational qualifications. Thus, the labour market expansion of women will have negative effects on cultural perceptions on the value of girls' and womens' education in the future.

Sri Lanka, girl's education, female residents, tea plantation, access, impediments