This compares to half that number for boys, exemplifying the large educational gender imbalance. Disparities are highest in the Arab States, sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia. In India, 33 million out of 267 million children aged 5 to 17 years are out of school. This equates to around 12.4% of children in the entire school-going age being out of school. The share of out-of-school girls (13.3%) is higher than that of boys (11.6%) (Mitra et al, 2022). In India, for 2019 to 2020, 63 million boys went to primary school compared to 58 million girls (UDISE+ from World Bank). Less value is placed on educating girls, especially as when they are married, the benefits will be to the marital family. Costs of education (uniforms, books, travel costs) can make it difficult for families to send all their children to school, in which case they will prioritise educating their sons.
Educational problems during childhood have a knock-on effect for the rest of a girl’s life. For example, progression to secondary school remains statistically higher for boys in India than girls – 130 million boys compared to 121 million girls (UDISE+ from World Bank, 2020). As such, female livelihood opportunities in the labour market and girls’ ability to network and develop social groupings are all seriously impacted.
However there are significant issues about the quality of education – according to the ‘World Development Report 2018: ‘Learning to Realise Education’s Promise’, India ranks second after Malawi in a list of 12 countries wherein a grade two student could not read a single word of a short text. India also tops the list of seven countries in which a grade two student could not perform two-digit subtraction. This highlights the poor quality of education, alongside gender inequality related to access and retention of girls in schools.
Partners of Action Village India are directly supporting girls’ education coaching centres, which focus on quality of education in Maths, Science and English to ensure they can successfully complete Year 10 in remote and rural areas.
Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra (NBJK) – Girls’ Education and Coaching Centres, Bihar and Jharkhand
Action Village India continues its support for this Girls’ Education project which strives to remove the barriers that stand between girls and a successful and continuing education, through:
One of the areas most affected by the pandemic has been education. After almost a year of being closed, the devastating second wave of Covid-19 in the first half of 2021 forced schools across India to close again, affecting the learning of more than 280 million children. Throughout this period, NBJK worked with its project team to provide online teaching where possible, but with a lack of internet and smart phone facilities, this was not possible for everybody. Eventually, with Covid numbers dropping and vaccinations increasing, all schools reopened again around August/September.
Vitally, remedial coaching centres were able to open sooner as these are non-formal education centres. Over 2022, NBJK has been able to include another 135 girls to the programme, bringing the total of girls from 300 to 435. With so much lost education, it is even more vital to now increase the support for girls to be able to continue with schooling.
Lakshmi Ashram is a women’s ashram at Kausani in Uttarakhand in the foothills of the Himalayas. It provides education on the Gandhian basic education model to local girls from disadvantaged families. The staff and students, from age 5 to school leaving, run the ashram. The ashram also runs kindergartens and environmental projects in the surrounding hills. Lakshmi Ashram hosts volunteers who work and learn about the local area and the Gandhian tradition.Girls' Education Project Lakshmi Ashram