SSA's commitment to universalize elementary education necessarily implies equal & universal participation of all children regardless of religion, caste, creed, sex etc. Thus special attention to certain disadvantaged groups of children would be imperative if the goal of UEE is to be achieved. Girls, who comprise almost one half of the eligible child population, fall into this category of children requiring special attention as their participation in elementary education has been far from the desirable.

The deterrents to girls' education are rooted in their homes and society. Educating girls is commonly perceived as unnecessary; mainly on account of the role they have been assigned in running the house and also because they will eventually leave their parental homes after marriage where their skills in household chores will hold them in better stead.

Poor retention of girls is attributed to two main factors. The first is the tendency of parents to withdraw them from school on attainment of adolescent age (say 9+) as they become capable of fulfilling certain domestic needs (sustenance activities & sibling care) while the second is the school environment itself which neither encourages girls nor is able to bring out the best in them. During the seasons of harvest, marriages, festivals, etc. girls' attendance at school suffer a setback as they are kept back at home. In the absence of any mechanism to address their need as a result of these periods of absenteeism, their achievement suffers. Thus begins the cycle of teachers' neglect in the classroom leading to disinterest and de-motivation eventually resulting in their leaving school. Added to these are natural barriers, distance to school.

Ensuring equal opportunity for boys and girls is not adequate enough. The question of 'Gender equity' often demands additional support and facility for ensuring girls' education equivalent to others. A girl doing poorly, probably needs special attention in class, and perhaps even in family and community, while an intelligent girl may demand for attention that teacher should show towards every student in class. The teacher may also have to look into facilities, she is allowed in her family to increase the rate of improvement.

The Girls' Education component has now been supported through two prestigious programmes under SSA namely National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL) and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) and also through Mahila Samakhya.

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Bihar Education Project

Address: Mission Road, Ruidhasa, Kishanganj (Bihar) 855107
Telephone: +06456-225570
FAX: +06456-225570
E-mail: [email protected]
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