Women’s education in India: statistics
- According to the statistics released by the latest census of 2011, India’s female literacy rate is 65.46 percent, significantly lower than the world average of 79.7 percent. China, India’s neighbor and the other global human resource powerhouse, precedes with 82.7 percent female literacy rate.
- The Right to Education (RtE) Act, introduced in 2009 making elementary education free and compulsory in the country, has been a shot in the arm for many. Nevertheless, statistics reveal the dismal gap between states – while states like Kerala paint a rosy picture of women’s education in India with 92.07 percent female literacy, relatively backward states such as Bihar with 51.5 percent female literacy rate highlight the importance of sustained campaign in favour of women’s education in India.
Education is the crux
- The impact of education on girls is extraordinary. Education sustains human values. It forms the foundation for learning and critical thinking. Education also provides skills for girls to become more self-reliant and provides them with more opportunities. Thinking into the future, education also provides them with the knowledge to manage health problems. A girl understanding her own body can make the difference between an unwanted pregnancy and an illegal abortion. Having the knowledge beforehand is crucial to saving and protecting lives.
- Education does impact human development, as mentioned, along with economicÂ development but the greatest impact is on democracy. Education is the only way a girl canÂ be an informed citizen, leading the way for her to having her voice heard in society. Â Education also provides a better overall quality of life. Research has shown the life expectancy rises by as two years for every one percent increase literacy (U.S. Census Bureau 1998). When women have a voice there can be changes made to existing laws changing the future for young girls.
Various Government Schemes for Girl Child
- It is an integral part of general awareness to know about the central and state-specific schemes and also the joint collaboration schemes between the centre and state. The Ministries of Government of India have introduced various schemes from time to time offering financial incentives to girl children to enable parents to provide proper education have enough savings for marriage, get subsidies, loans and quotas. Some of the schemes announced by the government are explained below for the advantage of the parents.
- Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana : (SSY)
- Sukanya Samriddhi account is a famous and popular scheme backed by the Government of India. As part of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign started by the Government, this is a saving scheme for the benefit of the girl child. The scheme helps to save the future of a girl child, encourage parents to build a fund to meet the expenditure for education and marriage of their girl child. It has a number of benefits which are mentioned below.
- The Sukanya Samriddhi Yojanaaccount pays an interest of 9.1% for each financial year. The interest rate offered in this is the highest when compared to other small saving schemes. This scheme is also one of the most tax-saving ones. One of the best features of this scheme is the provision of a lock-in period. You can certainly build an adequate amount to provide a bright future for your girl child. The account can be transferred too to another place if required.
- The account can be opened by legal guardians or parents of a girl child only. The age of the girl child should not be more than 10 years. A certificate for proof of age has to be submitted along with the form. Only two accounts can be opened by parents or legal guardians of the child. An amount of Rs250/- is required to open the account. After completion of 21 years, the account can be closed.
- UDAAN- GIVING WINGS TO GIRLS
- To address the challenge of low enrolment of girlsin technical education institutes.
- To minimize the gap between school education & engineering entrance examination.
- To enrich and enhance teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics at senior secondary level
- Intended Beneficiaries
- Girls studying in classes XI only from KVs/ NVs/ Government Schools of any recognised Board/CBSE affiliated private schools in India.
- Salient Features
- Launched by CBSE under guidance of Ministry of HRD.
- It trains girl students in entrance examinations to top institutions and provides them incentives and support through tutorials, video classes, etc.
- Supports 1,000 selected disadvantaged girls per year
4 reasons why girls are pulled out of school
- The first reason why girls are pulled out of school is because of family responsibilities. Girls provide free labor at home for the family. Home is also where they learn to be a better housewife. Many girls are kept at home because it is a better payoff than going to school. Having the girl attend school is not valuable to the whole family. This problem is lucidly evident in India, even in urban areas, but more prevalent with poorer families. Girls can be found doing everything from farm work to household chores.
- The family plays a central role in a girl’s life and shaping her future. Respect is given to elders in all situations and no decision can be made without consulting an elder. This often leads to the practice of arranged marriages. The decision is entirely up to the family and the girl often does not even see her future husband until the day of the wedding. Compared to American norms, individuals growing up in India are much more dependent on their families, especially parents.
- The second reason why girls are kept from receiving a primary education is because they are pulled out early to protect family honor. This also can affect the dowry when the girl is married. The boy’s side of the family can raise the dowry if they suspect she has been in school with boys during puberty. The practice of dowry is illegal, but laws are not always implemented. If the dowry cannot be paid, the bride runs the risk of being ruined, or worse, being killed. Honor killings are prevalent among the poor.
- The third reason for inequality during primary education is because girls can’t attend school due to inadequate facilities. Schools are unable to provide safe and sanitary facilities for young girls to attend, and with the population increasing at a rapid speed the priority for new facilities is given to boys. In many cases, though, this is exacerbated by basic infrastructural problems: roads, running water, and electricity are often scarce.
- The fourth reason girls are kept from school is because of the shortage of female teachers. The problem can be solved, but it starts with first educating girls so they can aspire to be teachers. The government, however, does not see this as a problem and continues to deny that there is gender inequality within the education sector. There have been efforts, as listed earlier, by the government to enroll more girls but this has not been for the nation of India, but rather for international recognition and numbers.
- All of these contribute to the issue of unequal access to education for girls along with many more issues. These four issues have many underlying issues that contribute to the overall problem. And to solve this issue we can look to three conclusions: NGOs and nonprofits, and the government’s response.
- First, NGOs and nonprofits can offer the most helpful solution to this problem because of grassroots movements across rural India. Many of the past efforts have come from reviewing previous reports. NGOs and nonprofits work at a local scale where a difference can made, whereas the government has worked on a larger scale with less success.
- Second, the government’s response can help the whole process of providing primary schools for girls. The Indian government has recognized the problem has been slow to act on the issue. As mentioned earlier, education is not a priority for the government right now; rather the government is focused on the economy. Without girls being involved in the future economy, the government is taking a risk and putting the issue off for another generation.