In the present scenario, girl child education in India is the need of the hour. With the growing number of educational institutions in Urban areas and parents enrolling their girl child in English Medium school, they are stepping up their game in the country’s development. However, in rural areas parents are still attached to their roots and keep their children under the influence of their grandparents, uncles and aunties. Some believe that educating a girl child is a vain attempt as they have to go to their husband’s house while those who want their girl child to read and write cannot afford the education provided.
According to the 2001 Census, the total literacy rate stands at 64.8% and the rate of literacy of males is 75.3% while the literacy rate of females is 53.7%, showing a widening gap of 21.6%. The census of 2001 clearly shows that the country is still lacking in the department of women’s education. As I earlier mentioned Urban parents are enrolling girl children in schools shown in the census of 2001. The Census specified that the gap in the literacy rate is even wider in the rural areas.
There's no doubt that the country has shown great development in the field of education since independence. The country's literacy rate has increased from 18.33% to 75.3%. But still, the question arises why there is such a wide gap in the education of males and females in rural areas?
1. Priority of Son’s Education over Daughter’s.
Prioritising a son’s education over a daughter is the most normal thing that you will see in every rural household. They have a strong belief that educating their daughters is a vain attempt. They don’t have any future in the field of education as well as they are not able to help the household while studying. The common wisdom is that sons bring wealth and prosperity while daughters drain their wealth in dowry.
2. Higher the education, Higher the dowry
Higher education of girls leads to an increase in their age in marriage. The thing that rural parents fear the most is their daughters not getting married. Higher education also leads to higher dowry because the groom doesn’t want a girl who earns more than him,
leading the girl’s family to pay a large amount of dowry. This shows that girls with less education pay a low amount of dowry. The main reason why rural parents prefer their daughters not to study is that they don’t have enough money to pay the dowry.
3. Lack of proper education infrastructure
Infrastructure is a part that influences students to go to school or any other place. Rural educational institutions don't have proper infrastructure for girls. No proper desks to sit on, no clean toilets, a lack of medical rooms, and many more shortages are there. Some schools don’t even have proper classrooms for which they have to sit in open spaces, which becomes uncomfortable for girls. Not having clean toilets is the major cause of the dropout of girls from rural schools.
The table below shows the rate of dropouts among girls and boys because of a lack of Infrastructure and Proper Toilets
Glance at 2014
4. Financial Constraints
Financial restrictions create problems in the education of girls. Many parents wanting to educate their daughters cannot afford them and eventually leave them at home to see the household chores and younger siblings while their sons go to school. The expensive education makes the girl child stay away from school.
5. Early and forced marriage
We know that Indian society has an obsession with marriages and that often ruins many lives. Girls are denied marriage and often forced to marry at an early age. The lack of education and early age, both factors make them indecisive. They are not able to attain the emotional and physical maturity, to know if the things happening to them are good for them or not. Education and awareness of the Right To Education for girl children are very important. And the first step that we have to take is to make our rural parents realize that educating a girl child is not a burden. In the present scenario, the government is making many efforts to support girls' education financially. This takes me to our next section. We know that the government is making efforts but we don’t know what they are.
Let’s discuss it.
1.Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
A campaign started by the Government of India in 2015. The main aim of the campaign is clearly stated in the name- Save the Girl Child, Educate Girl Child. This campaign has a financial incentive scheme linked- Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme - a financial scheme to encourage parents to build a fund for their girl child.
2. Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya
This scheme was initiated in July 2004, The main aim of the scheme is to provide education in underprivileged and rural areas. The scheme provides education as well as a girls hostel to upper primary level and secondary level. In Present they are providing primary, secondary, and senior secondary education to minorities and Below Poverty line groups.
A project launched by the Central Board Of Secondary Education. The tagline of the project is Giving wings to Girl Children. This program is for those rural parents who want their daughter to study higher education but can’t afford it. Under this project, the students are provided with free resources as well as study materials
4. Mahila Samakhya- Mahila Samakhya
A scheme was initiated in 1988, to pursue the objective of the National Policy on Education, 1986. The scheme mainly focuses on enhancing their self-esteem and self-confidence in herself. To encourage herself to study without any obstacles. In the present, Educating a girl child is equally important as a son's education.
They both can help in developing the country more and more. But still one of the most important issues in the present scenario is the education of girl children. In India, due to various historical, religious, cultural, economic, and social reasons, girls are prevented from getting a proper education. It is not only a shame but