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Time to support girl child education

Why should we come together to support girl child education for India’s prosperity

Education has always been termed as a basic right. But for many that right is a distant dream. According to estimates, India still has about 8-10 million girls in the 6-17 age group who are not enrolled in any school or educational institution. It presents society with many opportunities to come together and educate girls and empower them to become independent and make informed choices in life.According to the Census of 2011, there are 444 million children in India under the age of 18, that makes it 37% of the population! According to data put out by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the national dropout rate at the primary level was 4.34 per cent in 2014-15, and it was even higher at the secondary level, at 17.86 per cent.

Given the huge drop-out rates, there is no death of well-intentioned persons who are striving hard to highlight the national issue, For instance, Gautam Gambhir, one of the most successful openers in the Indian Cricket Team, keeps talking about the issue “The idea is giving back to society and the country, when both have done so much for us,” said the cricketer. The cricketer believes that imparting education to girl children is the best initiative. “If you educate a girl child, you are educating the entire family and the society benefits. We can move forward only by educating girl children,” he said in his interview with a National Daily.

The team of 16 cyclists rode from Hyderabad to Vizag to raise awareness and funds for less privileged girl children. Over 10 days, the cyclists crossed 10 major cities – Hyderabad, Kurnool, Puttaparthi, Tirupathi, Nellore, Ongole, Vijaywada, Rajamundry, Pittapuram and Visakhapatanam. They were a part of 20 meet & greet events with locals at every city. The Cyclothon was led by Jasmeet S. Gandhi, a cycling enthusiast who is passionate about social causes including education and healthcare, along with 16 cyclists from RBL Bank. It was quoted in a national daily “Poverty, availability, and accessibility are three big reasons why children drop out of school,” says SohaMoitra of Child Rights and You (CRY).

“When a family is not financially secure, prioritising a child’s education takes a backseat. Post-Class V, distance to school also tends to increase, and parents deem it unsafe for a child, especially girls, to travel far. You see this validated in dropout rates as well, which rise sharply after Class V.” she said in her interview with a National Daily. The point I am making is, why would 16 professionals leave their personal and professional responsibilities and cycle for 1000 kms or why should a National Cricketer travel all the way from Delhi to Vizag to support the girl child?Because this is a national issue and people are beginning to recognize the importance and impact of the same.

Why girls drop out

  • Money matters – The cost of education has gone up significantly and the family wants to conserve that money and cannot educate everybody. Hence, they choose the male children to female children.
  • Backward Thinking – people believe that girl will get married and go to the husband’s house and hence there is no benefit to her maternal home from her education. This again is not true because it has always been seen that the girl child supports her parents fully.
  • Fears of distance – still many parents are scared to send their girl child far from home. They want the school to be very close by. If in the middle school or higher schoolthe travel time is more, or they must walk long distances, parents choose to make the girls sit at home instead.

How to answer these challenges

  • Make sure that scholarships are available for deserving students
  • Constantly counsel the parents and present case studies to them about how girls, once educated, support their family financially
  • For distance, we need to make sure that schools are well spread out so that kids do not have to travel long distances
    So now it’s left to all of us, the state governments, us individuals, corporates to come together to support girl child education.

Author: T. Muralidharan
Name of publication: Telangana Today
Date published on: 01/01/2018
published in: Hyderabad
Tags: Employability

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