School-going girls: rare species?
UN report on ‘The State of The World’s Children – 2004’ finds a sharp fall in number of girls being enrolled in primary schools.
When the ratio of girls going to school matches with boys, the nation
achieves “Gender parity’. But now disparity reigns. Against girls.
1. More boys... always
When school gates swing open, both girls and boys swarm in. But the number of girls thins down slowly... ‘Gender parity’ (the red line in graph) means education for all— girls and boys. Equally. Does it happen? While in a tiny country like Vanuatu more girls are going to school than boys, India remains far below the parity line!
Most countries, including ours, dont provide free, compulsory, and most importantly, ‘acceptable’ education facilities for girls and boys alike.
2. No latrines and no drinking water in schools
Even if primary education is ensured, schools fail to provide a safe environment as children grow up. Numbers decline at the secondary level, especially of girls, and there are various reasons for this high dropout rate.
Girls are roped in for domestic chores or are the first to be taken for work whenever there is an economic crisis… Inadequate sanitation facility for girls is a very critical factor in triggering dropouts at the secondary level. Schools with safe water and separate latrines improve girls’ attendance.
Schools with latrines get more girls
Girls : Boys (in secondary schools 1995-2000)
91 - 100 %
81 - 90 %
80% and under
* Under 50% of the population uses improved drinking water sources – 2000.