Literacy is the most important factor behind human resource development. It is the key to dispelling ignorance and promoting rational thinking. No person can be moulded into a responsible citizen in absence of education. Considering the importance of education, Indian government has launched many educational schemes for benefiting the Indian citizens time and again, yet India faces a very low female literacy rate.
Women form about half of India’s population but they have always played a lesser role in social and economic issues. The Indian women possess the capacity and attitude to contribute to the society but they are forced to maintain a low profile. For Indian woman, it is important to be literate, if they wish to stand equal to men and participate actively in development. However, the Indian girls especially those who live below the poverty line does not get access to the basic right to be educated due to several factors .Let’s find out some of the many important factors behind girl’s illiteracy in India.
Factors responsible for low literacy rate of female below poverty line
Most of the people who live below poverty line practise social crime like childhood marriage. Though marrying before 18 years of age in India is illegal for girls, the parents usually marry them at very early ages.
The female child is expected to live in the house and help her mother. If the parents can give education facilities, they prefer to educate the male child because they think that the girls would someday marry and leave them while the male child will earn for them during the old age. The girls are also taught to carry the younger sister and brothers at home rather than going to school.
The girls are sent to different places to work during the seasonal periods. Even if they are enrolled in school, the migration leads to their absence in schools.
In many villages, girls are not allowed to move freely outside their homes as it is considered a taboo.
The poor parents are unable to afford the education of their children. It is very difficult for them to meet the daily expenses. In such a situation they cannot buy textbooks, pencils, erasers etc. and pay school fees.
Both the parents need to work to make a living and thus the girl child is forced to take responsibility of the day to day household activities.
Girls are taught to assist the poor parents in cattle-rearing, duck-rearing and fetching fire woods.
Improper Implementation of Government Programs
Government officials are incapable of implementing the policies made for female education properly and they also fail to provide aid and assistance to literacy though there are sufficient funds available.
Location of Schools
Some villages do not have schools and the students need to travel long distances to study. This is also one of the main reasons behind female illiteracy as the family does not find it safe for girls to travel such long distances every day
Absence of Female teachers in the schools also makes the parents uncomfortable in sending their girl child to the school.
Many rural areas in India are prone to drought and flood that forces the family to pay more attention in earning when the conditions are good and they engage the children too in the earning process rather than sending them to school. The floods also destroy the school buildings in the villages.
The poor parents are illiterate too, so there is great unawareness about education in the society.
Practical Importance of Education
The poor families do not find education playing a great role in daily life. They think that making their daughters skilled in other activities like cooking, weaving etc. will be of much use in their married life
Impact of Neighbours
Even if some families want to support girl education, they fail to do so in fear of criticism from their friends and society
The girls below poverty line often fall victims to malnutrition and anaemia that lead to sickness and make it difficult for them to attend school.
Thus, we see that there is a lot that needs to be changed and revived to promote girls education in India. People need to understand that the nation cannot run on one wheel for a long time. If a nation needs to develop, both the sections need to stand equal. It is worth quoting the words of our first prime minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in this respect –
“To awaken the people, it is the woman who must be awakened and if she is on the move, the family moves, the village moves, the village moves and the nation moves”.
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