Introduction – Girl Child Education
According to the Constitution of India, education is a fundamental right of every child. However, the situation in India is dreadful because girls in many parts are not given the option of attending school. How can education be denied based on gender? By denying education to a girl child, we are putting humanity to shame.
Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg once said, “When you invest in a girl’s education, she feeds herself, her children, her community and her nation”. Education of a girl child is the first stride towards the wholesome development of a country.
Education Lays the Foundation
Imparting education sustains human values and triggers learning along with critical thinking. Girl child education is the key weapon towards development and empowerment of women who face suppression from the patriarchal society. Educating a girl child makes her aware and bold. She will stand up and fight for her rights. The importance of education for girl child will be seen when she will raise her voice against societal evils inflicted upon women like dowry, female foeticide, sexual harassment, child marriage, etc.
Reasons for the Problem in Girl Child Education
The reasons for the lack of education of girl child can be attributed to the following:
- Family Problem- First of all, the birth of a girl child is frowned upon in few parts of India. People in parts of rural India believe that it is worthless educating a girl child. Girls are believed to stay at home to take care of the household chores and then get married at a suitable age.
- Societal Views- Education of girl child is regarded as a waste of time and money by the backward, orthodox sections of the society. The pursuit of education is not encouraged as girl child has the burden of domestic responsibilities and having a professional career is seen as a sign of disgrace to the family name. Also, educating a girl child would mean paying a heavier dowry for her marriage. These are the kind of ridiculous societal norms that a girl has to face.
- Financial Struggle- Poor families who earn just enough to feed their children cannot afford education for a girl child. In their view, a girl has to get married eventually and educating a girl child is seen as a waste of money.
Girl Child Education Schemes by the Government
Indian Government, both at the Central and State level have taken conscious efforts to promote education for the girl child. All girl children are entitled to free education till Class 8 under the Right to Education Act. To address the declining sex ratio and to raise awareness regarding the importance of girl education, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme. Several State Governments provide free education for the girl child, free textbooks, educational loan, Sukanya Samridhi Yojna and many other policies to help girl child obtain a formal education.
Girl Child Education Statistics
The Gross enrolment ratio in pre-primary schools for girls for the period 2008-2012 is merely 55.9%. The female literacy rate for the age group 15-24 years during 2008-2012 is 74.4%.
Source- UNICEF (https://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/india_statistics.html)
Ways in Which Education of Girl Child Benefits the Society
- Educated Future Generations- Educating a girl child results in educating the entire nation. The first teacher of a child is the mother. Education of a girl child results in empowering them which makes the community stronger and more developed.
- The decrease in Child Marriage and Female Foeticide- When an educated girl child understands her worth she will not give in for an early marriage, aborting a female foetus, demand for dowry, sexual and domestic abuse.
- Participation in Political Process- Women are not just great homemakers, they are great leaders. Education allows girls to step out of their houses and participate in the decision-making process, discussions, political assemblies for an adequate representative government.
The step towards educating a girl child will eventually solve other societal problems because women will not tolerate atrocities inflicted upon them. The march towards a developed country is realizing the immense potential of the girl child and that she will lead us on the path of prosperity.