Why Education Programs Need To Be Tailormade For The Girl Child In India
There is no question that education is a must for any country to grow – it is only when the citizens of the country are educated that they will be able to contribute to the social and economic growth. However, in a country as large as India, the problem is the fact that education is yet to reach every person. Even though modern education has become easily accessible in larger cities, there are still many who are not able to attain the education that can take them forward in life.
In states like Kerala and Goa, the literacy rate is high (above 85 percentile), however, in states like Bihar and Rajasthan it is quite low (in the 60 percentile). The condition is much worse in villages and smaller towns, where the access to education is questionable. What comes as a matter of little surprise is that the comparative literacy rate is much different – the female literacy rates are much lower as compared to the male ones.
In order to fill the gap, the only way out seems to bring some important changes in the methodology of education and that has to happen from the bottom up. It is high time that we realise that one style of education will not work for all – education, quite like clothes, will fit better when it is tailor-made or customised. However, in order to do that, it would be imperative to understand the basic issues and prime facie, there are two main issues:
- Problems related to money – One of the greatest barriers in education, especially for the girl child, has to be money. The financial problems in education are simple – if there is limited income in the house, parents often choose to give preferences to the sons. While the girls might not be seen as the official breadwinners in the house, they might be sent out to do menial labour – this could include working as maids or nannies, working at small shops, selling things on the roadside or even assisting parents in whatever might be their profession. Because of this same financial problem, they might even be married off at an early age, because the thought process is that marrying the girls off means one mouth less to feed. In the direst situations, girls are often sold off into conditions of bonded labour.
- Problems of the society – There is a deep-rooted mindset that education is far more important for boys than girls. After all, it is the boys who will grow up to become the breadwinners and take care of the house. This is a thinking that needs to be eradicated completely, because earning a living is no longer gender specific. With the proper education, even girls can earn a living equivalent to the boys around and be responsible members of the society. In addition to this, there is a tendency to make the girls stay at home to complete household chores, such as washing dishes, cooking, cleaning and similar other unpaid jobs; while the boys are sent off to school. Yet another problem that is commonly seen is that even if girls are better at academics, boys are given preference for being sent to school.
Problems like these and many more demand that educational programs be tailormade – starting with the government down to the NGOs that are working towards improving the condition, there need to be some fundamental changes in the education system in India. Here are just some of the changes that need to be brought about:
- Girls being kept out of school or not being allowed to continue with their education is often due to a lack of awareness. Parents who have never gone to school are not aware of how the lives of their children and their own selves could change with their daughters gaining an education. The first change needs to happen there – this is one of the reasons why Educate Girls have volunteers from amongst the people of that community or village working towards the cause. Because they are from the same community or area, they have a pre-existing bond with the local people and a better understanding of the problems. By making them understand the importance of education, they can bring more girls into the fold of education.
- Poverty and financial issues in education have already been discussed, and while the government might not be able to offer completely free education to all up to whatever stage they want to pursue academics, efforts are being made. However, local bodies, private and public can step up and offer assistance – volunteers can assist with classes and those with the know-how could always offer their time for remedial sessions.
- As per the Annual Status of Education Report of 2022, all over the country, the basic reading ability of children has dropped to pre-2012 levels. Without a proper hold on reading, there was no way that they would be able to grasp the concepts that would await these children in the years to come. A fear of the same led to children, especially girls, dropping out of schools. By building simpler versions of coaching centres in local communities, this fear can not only be removed, but girls can be equipped to tackle academics at a higher level. If someone were to help them in reading and writing at the most basic level, it could prove to be extremely rewarding in the future.
- Induction into a new class should not be based in age; rather competence – a girl child might have had to drop at grade 5 and if she is returning to school after 3 years, rather than pushing her into grade 8 (which would have been the natural progression), she might perhaps need one more year in grade 5. Alternatively, if a girl shows a lot more talent and interest in a particular vocation, it might make more sense to offer support and assistance there. Teaching at the appropriate level and in the appropriate manner is far more important than just imparting factual knowledge and that is how the modern education system needs to be!
At Educate Girls, we aim to bring girls who have lost out on a chance of education back into schools. With the help of our army of 18,000+ Team Balika volunteers, we are trying to ensure that every girl gets the chance to gain an education. If you want to join the movement to educate girls, get in touch with us today!
Posted on January 12, 2023