The recent Free Compulsory Education and Right to Education Bill passed by parliament should be implemented in letter and spirit. This bill allows the children from six to 14 years of age to go to school which is the fundamental right of every child.
THE RECENT Free Compulsory Education and Right to Education Bill passed by parliament should be implemented in letter and spirit. This bill allows the children from six to 14 years of age to go to school which is the fundamental right of every child. There are many programmes run by Government of India to ensure the girl child to school like (SSA) Sarva Shikhsa Abhiyan, Early Childhood Education and Care, National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL), Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya. These programmes attract girl children to school and are accompanied by incentives.
These are some aspects of the current human development index which were observed during the mid term evaluation of the tenth five year plan in relation to girl child as captured by Ministry of Women and the Child Development. The data shows that the literacy rate is 53.67 per cent among girls as compared to boys which is 72.26 per cent. The gross drop out rates among the girls says that 34 per cent drop out by the time they reach class V. The major reason behind this is the workload within and outside the household. The daughters are kept at home because the social and economic value of the girl is not recognised.
Inspite of all these programmes there is less retention of girls after the age of 11 years. As the girls reach class V, they drop out. There are innumerable reasons behind it, the common reasons is the distance of the schools from the villages. The parents do not want to send their daughters to distant schools. Besides, the adolescent girls act as helpers in household chores. The parent’s sensitivity towards the girl child education is less. It is more so a gender bias where son is preferred more.
The voluntary organisationss and the non-governmental organisation have tried their level best to institutionalise the free education for girls in school, which has focused on the development programme by the government to increase the retention in school.The alarming concern which has emerged in spite of all these programmes and initiatives is the increasing drop out rate of girls. This drop out is also due to early marriage. The parents prefer to marry off their daughters early so that they do not have to pay huge dowry.One of the voluntary organisations Jago Foundation at Giridih, Jharkhand is working towards stopping child marriages. Kiran, a women activist says that there is a demand of more dowry when the girl is older, so parents prefer to marry off their daughter for low dowry in their tender age. She even narrated that a qualified bride is of low demand in the rural areas. The second alarming reason of drop out is the girls eloping with their male friends. In a society in which girls are kept in close custody, even a small wrong doing by agirl is considered a big crime. They think that their reputation and honour in the village has suffered a great blot. These are the new issues which are emerging in this area and Jago Foundation is deriving some strategy towards solving this problem. There is need to work at all levels, the sensitisation does not only include a particular group of parents for sending their daughters, it also includes the adolescent groups, who should give importance to education rather than falling into Western traps.