Educating The Girl Child - Role of incentivisation and other enablers and disablers

By CRY - Child Rights & You On 11 March 2019
Educating The Girl Child - Role of incentivisation and other enablers and disablers


Greater role in decision making, improving self confidence, enabling girls to participate as empowered citizens, claiming their entitlements, these and many more including educated and productive next generation are some of the valuable reasons why educating girls is so important and critical. Unfortunately, girl child education in India has been historically fraught with a myriad of challenges (Singh, 2008). The issue is particularly daunting as multiple heterogeneous problems exist from the supply (availability to schools, teachers availability in the schools, quality of teaching and budgetary provisions for elementary and higher education etc.) and demand sides (access to schools, knowledge of services provisions, utilisations of services provisioned).

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) - Goal 5 talks about gender equality and Goal 4 talks about quality education and ensuring that all girls and boys get complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education by 2030. It also talks about eliminating gender disparities in education and ensuring equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous people and children in vulnerable situations (UNDP). The World Economic Forum (WEF) global gender gap report 2018, ranked India at 142 out of 149 countries in terms of economic participation and opportunities and at 114 in terms of educational attainment. Nonetheless, gender based exclusion has remained a cause of concern especially in Indian setup (Asadullah & Yalonetzky, 2012; Bing, 2009).

In pursuit to this, India is committed to ensure good quality education to all and various efforts had been taken in this direction. The history of policy efforts to improve the condition of girl child education in India is almost half a century long and over the years, girl child schemes have also gained significant attention. It has been a vital part of the efforts made by government and civil society organisations to improve girls’ education in India while consistent investments have been made over decades to incentivise the populace to send girls to school.

Union government and various state governments have taken initiative to promote girl child education lately. Earlier, education was a state subject. Through the 42nd Amendment, Act of 1976, it has been transferred to concurrent subject, where division of responsibility is of both centre and state. Thus, both union government and state governments make laws that are passed by parliament and state legislature respectively. Government of India had launched various schemes e.g. ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, scholarships for girl child, hostels etc. To promote education. Likewise, various states have taken initiatives to promote girl child education through schemes like Mukhyamantri Bicycle Yojana etc.

The available secondary data on education is limited and does not allow critical gender-based assessment of school education in the country and prima facie, trends in education in India seem gender-neutral. For instance, access to schooling is most often measured by enrolment ratios. Government data does not show discernable differences between enrolment ratios for boys and girls at secondary and senior secondary level of education (PIB., 2017). Other education indicators e.g. transition, retention and dropouts rates etc. show comparable outcomes for boys and girls in India. However, enrolment does not indicate classroom attendance which is critical and would indicate the challenges faced by girls in attending school. Furthermore, a study conducted by Planning Commission of India reported presence of strong socio-cultural push factors towards dropout for girls (Planning Commisson, 2006). Although, the reasons for dropouts and delayed education of girl children have been researched in the past, the problem appears to remain unaddressed.

Various studies have reported gender differentials in access of education and showed that gender differentials could possibly be due to historical attitudes, giving less importance to girl child education, social and family outlook towards girls, engaging girls in non (paid) work etc. (Gregory White, Matt Ruther, & Kahn., 2015). Child Rights and You’s (CRY) experience in the field of child education, nutrition and protection also shows vital differences among boys and girls in their school education, access, usage and perceptions. This difference is believed to lie in the social and systemic determinants of education.

This study aims at highlighting these differences in the backdrop of enablers and disablers to girl child education with the scope of providing recommendations to the design of appropriate incentivisation schemes by delving into precisely what is lacking in the measures and schemes taken by the State. The study aims to uncover the inter-linked vulnerabilities that hinder girl child education so that effective advocacy towards a host of solutions that address root causes of the problem is possible.


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Tag : Girl Child Education Incentives

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