23 April, 2021

When The Girls Go Marching In

We must embed accountability mechanisms across the National Education Policy, ensuring gender equality as the backbone of the system

Bridge The Gap
37 per cent of girls are married before they turn 18
When The Girls Go Marching In

Four million girls in India are still not showing up at school. The reason? They are ­females. While the number of girls not ­enrolled in schools has dropped significantly from 10 per cent in 2006 to just above 4 per cent, that figure is still disappointing. And once we delve into the nitty-gritty, we realise that while the average is dismal, the performance of some states is downright appalling. It has been ten years since the Indian government passed the Right to Education Act, but in states such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, girls’ attendance in schools is below 60 per cent. The new draft National Education Policy (NEP) offers an opportunity to make a concerted push and finally resolve this problem.

In 1968, the first NEP was drawn up, promising a “radical reconstruction of education”. As early as the sixties, the policy talked about “equalisation of educational opportunity”, including that “the education of girls should receive emphasis not only on grounds of social justice but also because it accelerates social...

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