Despite devising strong measures to boost female literacy in Uttar Pradesh, the state of girls’ education remains abysmal. According to a recent survey by Bal Vikas Seva Evam Pushtahar, several districts in the state are witnessing a rise in the number of dropout of teenage girls from schools.
The figures reveal in Etah, 9,368 girls between the age of 11 and 18 were not seeking education. The primary reasons for this is either they have dropped out of school or they never went to one. In Mainpuri, 50,550 girls didn’t go to school and the figures are 16,541 for Mathura. According to the data, nearly 12,000 teenagers dropped out in Agra and 13,400 in Firozabad.
A senior official of Yojana section ICDS said, “The anganwadi workers collected data of the teenage girls based on EPIC (Electors’ Photo Identity Card). Since the voter ID cards are issued to their fathers, the data on teenage girls cannot be accurate. The survey will be done again, to cover all the girls who are not going to schools or are dropouts.”
Another official, who is an acting district program officer, told TOI, “Our prime job is to provide iron and folic acid tablets to children, teenagers, pregnant women and lactating mothers. However, this year in April, for the first time, we also collected the data of girls who are deprived of education, so that they can be covered in the Kishore Shakti Yojana.”
He also added that their aim is to transform these uneducated girls into skilled youth. These girls will learn embroidery, cooking and other skills. So that, they can earn money or take care of their family once they become adults.
Speaking to TOI, deputy joint director of secondary education in Agra division, R P Sharma, highlighted the reasons that thwart girls from going to school.”There are several reasons for such massive dropouts in the state, especially in rural areas. First reason is the gender gap, parents don’t allow their daughters to attend a school. The boys’ strength is stronger compared to girls. Further in rural areas, girls have the responsibility to take care of their younger siblings.” He further said,
“Poverty forces teenage girls to work along with families to earn their daily bread and butter, hence they drop out from schools. Further, cases of girls’ education — banned by a particular religious community — is also one of the major factors in massive dropouts.”
It is time for the state government to realise girls’ education is pivotal for its development and prosperity.