72% of respondents across major cities were ignorant about govt schemes exclusively for girl education
One of the key barriers keeping girls out of school included a lack of separate toilets for them. Photo: Hindustan Times
Three years after the Right to Education (RTE) Act was passed, around 50% of families in slums across the country are still unaware of its existence, according to a report released by Child Rights and You (CRY), a non-government organization.
The report analyzes various barriers in the way of educating girls, drawing on data from a survey of 500 families living in five slums in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.
According to the report, roughly one out of every two respondents was ignorant about the RTE Act although awareness in Chennai and Bangalore, at 74% and 85%, respectively, was quite high.
Furthermore, 72% of the respondents across the five cities were ignorant about any government schemes exclusively for girls.
“Unsurprisingly, implementation is a problem,” said Yogita Verma, regional director of CRY, at the report’s launch. “The policies in India are actually quite good — but on-the-ground implementation is not.”
The report also noted that while 92% of respondents reported that their girls were in school, and 69% of respondents overall felt it was inappropriate for school-going girls to get married, half of them were aware of such marriages taking place in the local community. Once married, the girls would probably not continue their education.
Other key barriers keeping girls out of school included a lack of separate toilets for them and transportation to local schools, parental fear of harassment and abuse of their girl children en route to school and within schools, and a lack of a sufficient number of female teachers.
Key recommendations for improving the retention of girls in schools include building infrastructure such as toilets and transportation facilities.
The report called for disaggragated household data on why parents are not sending their girls to school, stronger implementation of government policies and building awareness about existing policies.