On National Girl Child Day, only 81% of our girls in school

Bengaluru: As the country celebrated the National Girl Child Day on Wednesday, a survey revealed that education for girls both in the urban and rural areas in the state needs a serious change.

Amidst talks of making a girl child’s dreams come true and empowering her, the first step to achieve that seems to have taken a beating. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) reveals that only 81.4% of girls, aged six years and above, attend schools in urban Karnataka, while only 63.1% of girls in the similar age group are going to school in rural areas. In Bengaluru, it is slightly better at 84.9%. 

“Empowering a girl child starts with early education which is a very important period in her life. If in that period she faces discrimination and negligence then it is a huge blow to her self-confidence. It is sad that we keep getting calls about children being sent to Anganwadis, pre-primary schools and lower or upper kindergartens and most of these inquiries are for male children. Parents think empowering the male child will help them in the future," says Nagasimha G. Rao, Director, Child Rights Trust. 

“We have to see what being in school actually means and for a lot of families, who are impoverished, sending the girl child can mean access to midday meals and security than what is exactly being transacted at schools. But this is just one part of it. If you look at age 12 or 16, these numbers are dropping drastically. The girl children’s role changes as they grow old and many of them are caregivers for young children or even the elderly at home," said Kavita Ratna, Director, the Concerned For Working Children (CWC). She said, “For any gender-related issue, a statistic reflects the gender-related inequity in society overall. These statistics open up discussions at various levels.”

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