Girl’s Education

Girl’s Education

Red ribbons tied on oiled black hair, the hair plaited and combed. The school bag is ready. The lunch bag sits on top of the dining table, emanating various smells of curries, rotis and dals waiting to be taken to school. After eating breakfast, my little neighbors are excited to go to school. Of course, they make a show of detesting school, but deep down I know they like their school. This is a sight that welcomes me every morning when I dart down from my apartment, on to the main road.

I always like the way children get dressed for schools, the hurried way in which they get ready. They sulk. They occasionally make an excuse to not go to school, involving headaches, fevers, sometimes even a pretend stomach flu. These will always be a favorite part pf my memory, as I too have indulged in the same experiences as a kid. Now, I wish I can go back to my school and re-live the same experience all over again. But today, as I head out onto the street, I see two children, a girl about 12 years old and her younger brother around 9. She was helping him get ready to go to school. I asked her if she is not going to school and she said she stopped going to school a long time ago.

There are a thousand more girls like her, who are not given the opportunity to pursue secondary education in our country. It is an alarming fact of life in the day and age we live in. According to the data collected by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) data, there are around 1.3 million schools in India. Out of the 139.9 million primary school aged students, only 67.2 Million are girls. Though the percentage is up by 19% from the data procured during the last decade, there are still many girls who don’t get education after class 5.

So, what is it about Girls’ education that we don’t talk about? To get to the root of the problem, we must understand why girls need to education in the first place?

Why must women need to be educated?

There is an old saying,” If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” This adage is true. If you want to develop your country, you must start paying attention to the education of girls. Giving education to girls will help them in a much greater way. It will provide for their livelihood, help them make choices which will have a good effect on their lives. They will be able to have a healthier and happier life if they are provided with the means to do so. In some countries, the boys attending schools outnumber the girls by 2:1. This situation must change. Everyone should have the right to education. Women will have the skills, necessary information and confidence to survive. They will be better parents and also a good citizen.

What will it take for girls to get educated?

  • Parental and community involvement – Parents must send their girls to school. They must get involved in their education. They must reach out to know the progress of their child from time to time. Communities should come together to create schools which suit their needs.
  • Free Education – Making education free until a certain level will ease the burden on parents. The government can take initiatives to achieve this. Even if the government can’t make free education, it should be at least affordable to parents.
  • Scholarship and Stipends – By providing scholarships and stipends the schools can even compensate the families. In India, there are some private schools that provide their students with scholarships based on written exams. Germany, Norway, Sweden provide free education and we can take an example out of such countries and start a new initiative here too.
  • Limited Hours – School hours should be limited. The students can learn more and practice what they have learned. If possible, the children can help out their parents with basic household chores, making sure that parents who need their children to help out at home aren’t left out.
  • Distance – Schools must be somewhat closer to home, as their parents often worry about girls safety. Self-Defense classes should be introduced as an after-school activity for parents to feel ensured about their child’s safety. Self-defense should not be limited just to girls and should be taught to boys as well.
  • Higher Education – Girls are to be encouraged to take up higher education, this will increase their chance of a better life, even more, broadening their job opportunities, giving them a chance to explore many more career options.

How can we help?

We can reach out to NGO’s like “Nanhi Kali”, “EducateGirls”, or ”Care India” that have girl’s education on their agenda.

  1. We can launch campaigns to encourage girls and their parents to continue their education
  2. Sponsor a girl child if we can.
  3. Partner up with the government to teach for underprivileged girls.
  4. Create awareness among villages on the importance of education to girls and encourage them to send their children to school.

The literacy rate in India currently stands at 81% for men and 60% for women. If we all join hands, we can be the change. We can make a difference only if we strive for it. Women have the right to education as much as men. If we can make a difference in at least one household, we can make a difference for everybody else.


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