According to the 4th goal of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it is necessary to ensure the whole population the opportunity to attend primary and secondary studies, guaranteeing equal opportunities for both boys and girls to access to quality technical and vocational education.This means that states will have to respond through political interventions to safeguard both quality improvement and above all complete indiscriminate access for every child, through means that address gender inequality, food insecurity and armed conflict.
In India, important advances have been made regarding the universalization of primary education, succeeding in obtaining an improvement in enrollment rates and completion by girls in primary and secondary school studies. According to the report of UN system in India, Indian population managed to reach the literacy rate among youth aged 15-24, from 83.2% to 91.4%,between 1990 and 2016. Completion rates in primary school were 89.6% by 2016.
What the data show is that the Indian policy framework is fully embracing the fourth objective of Sustainable Development Goals, and it is aimed at achieving universal quality education for all Indians, and is complemented in this effort by targeted schemes on nutritional support, higher education, and teacher training.
Although the Indian government is striving to achieve a full schooling of its population,there are still obstacles that are not easy to deal with and that depend on many factors.In a country where nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas, access to educational opportunities is limited. Even today, the gender inequality in schools is a problem that has to face different realities: the economic conditions of the family, cultural attitudes and taking into account the social background of which people are part.
From the 2005 India Human Development Survey data, it emerges that, the school success of the male child is preferred over the daughter, especially if the family lives in rural areas with a lower socio-economic background. This can explain how social level can contribute to a different quantity of learning resources and to the actual devotion to the study, but they also depend on cultural attitudes.
It isn’t difficult to understand that learning outcomes are influenced by the historical cultural aspect that leads to seeing the role of women different from that of men and people who live in rural conditions are very tied to these concepts.
Indeed, as a girl student known at school told us, Roshni, in her family even in small daily gestures, parents worry a lot more about the well-being of her brother, even if older and has already got a job, but always mother worries about preparing food for him, while for her there is some less consideration.
The social-economic background: poverty and gender inequality preference.
The school quality is an important aspect in order to foster a good quality education but also to have more means available in order to deepen studies. However, Indian girls may experience lower quality school environments than boy.Infect, girls enrolled in private schools are slightly lower than boys and often boys are more likely to conclude a high school education studies.In a rural context, it becomes an important expense to provide children a complete education. Given the expense, and given the limited willingness to advance the studies to their children, it is considered appropriate that they earn the basic education and after working immediately. Low-income families can struggle to fund their children's school and consequently require more effort for household, giving this responsibilities, as well as that of looking after the children, to daughters and family’s women.
Distance to school.
Girls from rural area haven’t many opportunities to progress after primary level, often because they don’t have nearby high-school and to reach the nearer school could be an additional expense,or they aren’t allowed to travel to distant school. There are not allowed for the fear that educating girls can causes excessive independence and people can see girls going to school by doing it alone.Above all, because they risk of experiencing violence and harassment during the journey.
Especially, girls represent an economic value and the education of girls may be converted to household and child rearing tasks. The opportunity cost regarding the role of girls are expressed through girls employment in activities that permit the economic survival of the family. Furthermore, another reason could be that girls have to be prepared for marriage and parents need to save money and limit the amount of funds for daughter education. After marriage, the early pregnancy is one of the reasons for girls have drop out of school.
According to the association Girls not Brides, India has the highest number of child brides in the world. It is estimated that 27% of girls in India are married before their 18th birthday. Over the last decades, the rates were about 50%. While fewer Indian girls are marrying before the age of 15, rates of marriage have increased for girls between ages 15 to 18.
Lack of safe and private girls-only toilets
However, one of the many reasons why girls do not go to school and interrupt their studies is due to the lack of adequate and private facilities for girls only. Many facilities are not adequate for personal hygiene, even when girls have to deal with menstrual periods.
As in 2012,UNESCO statistics demonstrated that 40% of all government schools lacked a functioning common toilet, and another 40% lacked a separate toilet for girls.
Analysing facts, it is possible to notice that Indian girls enrolled in school are at lower rates than boy, they enter late and drop out earlier.
Women are undoubtedly the foundation of the basic unit of society: the family. Even in traditional roles they demonstrate great innovation, skill, intelligence, hard work and commitment. They can all be magnificent attributes to be developed and invested in every social context, from the family to the economic, educational and work.The education of women is therefore key.
The role of NGO is important to affirm the women empowerment in every context of their life. As Heeals, that is committed on woman integration, believes that every point of view and way of thinking it is formed in the educational environment.Trying to get easier the obstacles that girls have to face, HEEALS intends to provide students with the awareness of some useful alternatives to continue to attend school and not be obliged to stay at home. Whether it is through the construction of well-equipped separate toilets or the distribution of sanitary napkins, but most important it is the spread of information about how to deal with the management of menstrual hygiene, so students can be free to go to school and taking care of their health.
Azam, Mehtabul and GeetaKingdon, are Girls the farer sex in India? Revisiting intra-household allocation of education expenditure, Discussion Paper 5706, IZA, 2011.
United Nation Development Programme, India Human development reports 2016.