Five ways to improve girl child education status in India

Wednesday 31 August 2016
India's rapidly deteriorating sex ratio (2011: 918 girls for 1,000 boys) led the Indian government to initiate the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme in 2014, for the girl child's survival, safety and education. The campaign fights bias and seeks to give the girls of India what they rightfully deserve – survive, thrive and learn well.  This is part of a bigger ecosystem that state and central governments, civil society and activists are working for - one that prides itself on women empowerment. The role of three ministries involved - Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare and Human Resource Development, combined with the efforts of the civil society and aware citizens can do wonders here. Here's how India can improve the status of the girl child education in India.
 
1. Create accountability
‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ and other girl child education initiatives will need firm accountability from the civic administration. Divisional Commissioners must be assessed for their ability in increasing girl child enrollment. Civic authorities must also be regularly checked for other factors that push girls out of school, including harassment, sanitation (lack of dedicated toilets for girls is a known factor in pushing girls to drop out), access to a clean and healthy Mid-Day meal, etc. 
 
2. Support an NGO initiative’s teams
Concerned citizens of India can work closely with various on-ground organisations providing education access and support to girl children. Volunteering with an NGO can be a good start. You can lend some time out of your busy schedule to the cause of India’s girls. Also, as part of the community where NGOs operate, you can ensure that there is adequate support and a welcoming feeling from the communities.
 
3. Create dialogue with communities
Support is needed from local police, members of legislative assembly, and other influential
people. NGO’s must initiate a conversation about the benefits of girl child education, and how they can benefit the community at large. This message must be reinforced through cultural events, contact opportunities and discussions.
 
4. Honour academic success and extracurricular achievements
Honouring girl education victories, e.g. high scores, etc. is one of the fastest ways to foster pride in the girl child.This will ensure that instead of being pushed down, a girl has equal rights and access to education opportunities, at par with boys.
 
5. Support an NGO like Save the Children
Save the Children is one organisation which has empowered lakhs of underprivileged girls by enabling them to get access to quality learning. Leading corporates like P&G have engaged with Save the Children, ensuring quality education across numerous girls schools in Jharkhand and Rajasthan.
This is supplemented by trainings imparted in computer literacy and English speaking along with regular extra-curricular activities for girl children. Out-of-school girl children have been identified, and their entry back to school is being facilitated. Schools have been provided gender-sensitive material, which is now reaching over 30,000 children, and families are being encouraged to send their girls to school. Many girl children are today their family's first generation learners and have made their villages proud by participating in national academic events. Donate to charity like Save the Children today to contribute your bit in empowering India’s girls.
 
Conclusion
It must be clear by now that empowering the girl child with education necessitates a change in India's deep-rooted mindsets of powerful figures, family members, teachers, and women. NGOs like Save the Children are working closely with the Government’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme, via massive awareness and large-scale female welfare services across districts. All this can ensure that a girl child has access to life, education and opportunities, instead of being just household workers and family caretakers. Educated girls stand up for themselves, and their communities enhancing their health, prosperity and ending social evils like child marriage and girl child illiteracy.