Let us take the instance of 2 young girls, Seema and Rani, aged 12 years. Both are keen on gaining education, and moulding their own future. However, the community pressures against an adolescent girl stepping out from the house stops Rani from pursuing education.
On the other hand, a discriminatory behaviour of the teacher against Seema has instilled fear in her heart that stopped her from pursuing her education any further. Our education case studies are filled with such chapters which continue to exist well into the 20th century.
Surely, there are cumulative results that are stopping young girls from pursuing education and allowing their families to let them step out into the competitive world. It is mix of cultural inhibition and foolhardiness when it comes to incentivising education to make the matter more persuasive.
Interestingly, there have been a lot of speculations about incentivising education for girls to improve the gender ratio in the current educational scenario. The concept, though nobel, hasn’t been actively observed in the paradigm which is raising questions on the reformative structure that NGOs and the Government are adopting to empower girls and women via education.
Here are some steps that the community can adopt to make girl-child education a more attainable dream
Awareness is the most important facet of promoting girl child education. A substantial population is unaware of the plight of educational scenario in India which pushes this matter into the abyss. It can also be a personal endeavour to improve the quality of education by sponsoring a child and undertaking the responsibility of educating her. A personal touch always works wonders when it comes to maintaining a quality of life and education for the child.
Encourage Girls in STEM Education
STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is a field that has a smaller ratio of girls. The idea is to break stereotypes and enable the entry of women into this field without having to face any condescending experiences. Studies show that girls are more apprehensive about taking up mathematics, citing the unfamiliarity and the male dominance that is often found in the sector. This can be negated by eradicating the notion of these subjects being the forte of only boys. Girls should be encouraged to take STEM up as a viable future. This is sure to improve the gender ratio in the educational paradigm.
Making Education Compulsory in the Remotest of Areas
Stopping girls from pursuing education should be dealt with the most stringent of regulations and must be strictly adhered to in all corners of the country. In villages, Panchayats should be made responsible for ensuring every child’s education, irrespective of gender and make it a community effort to bring forth education in every household.
In many places, co-education is something that is frowned upon. Where co-education is not an acceptable ante, schools can teach in shift system where separate time is alloted to girls and boys to attend classes. This will also negate the excuses like “building a new establishment” which costs money and also acts as subjective matter to limit education.
Initiatives like "Beti Bachao Beti Padhao" and several other girl education campaigns must be accountable to civic administrations who check into the feasibility of the actions that are being taken up. Authorities’ duties also extend to retainment of girls in the educational system and keep a check on activities like harassment, pulling out girls from school, sanitation, hygienic meal and proper conduct by the school authorities. Mid-day meals must be available and hygienic for consumption.
The activities should not be limited to government or private bodies but individuals as well. Concerned citizens can work with these NGOs on various levels and administration and help out in the process that is in constant need of assistance. Volunteering with the NGOs is always a good start in creating a positive impact in a benevolent way. Individuals can spend some time of their day in teaching these students and honing them for the world.
The main factor holding back girls from pursuing education is their respective families who are bound by the clutches of abhorrent societal norms. By making the families aware of the positive impact that an educated girl (or child) can bring in, they can be influenced into supporting the cause of allowing their daughters to study. This will slowly but surely, change the community’s mindset as well and make a girl education more acceptable clause.
Educating Women of The Families
It seems cliche in this section but in order to make an educated household, it is very important for the mother to be educated as well. By educating the ladies of the house, we can set down a clear framework of making sure that the children of the house are introduced to the concept of education.
Education is a cause that is still taking time to catch up. Girl child education is an even greater challenge. However, with the right mindset, this vision can be achieved and we can unlock the country’s potential to the maximum.