State of affairs: ‘Only 3 of every 5 girls make it to higher secondary schools’

Girls face various obstacles in completing their education, including socio-economic challenges, cultural norms, long travel distances and safety concerns on their way to school.
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only. File Photo

NEW DELHI: Only three out of every five girls in India make it to higher secondary school, with reasons ranging from gender discrimination and early marriages to inadequate school facilities.

Concerned about girls leaving school prematurely, Child Rights and You (CRY), a prominent child rights organisation operating across 20 states, launched a seven-week national campaign on Monday.

The pan-India awareness campaign, ‘Poori Padhai Desh Ki Bhalai,’ aims to raise public awareness, shift societal attitudes towards girls’ education, and boost their enrollment across all educational levels — primary, upper-primary, secondary and higher secondary.

Girls face various obstacles in completing their education, including socio-economic challenges, cultural norms, long travel distances and safety concerns on their way to school. These factors contribute to increased dropout rates, leaving them vulnerable to child labor, underage marriage, teenage pregnancy, abuse, exploitation, and even trafficking.

Puja Marwaha, CEO of CRY, said, “Ensuring higher secondary education for girls is non-negotiable for their empowerment. To support girls beyond elementary education, targeted interventions with clear goals and actions are essential. This includes adequate public funding, financial incentives, improved infrastructure, community engagement, and rigorous enforcement of laws against child marriage. However, none of this is achievable without creating widespread awareness and social resonance around girls’ education.”

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act of 2009 aimed to provide universal education for Indian children up to the age of 14. Despite this milestone, many girls still lack access to secondary and higher secondary education.

The National Education Policy 2020 aims to extend universal, free and quality education up to the age of 18, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals for equitable education by 2030.

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