'Girls keen on rejoining schools'

Plan India study reveals alarming dropout rates

Nearly 52 per cent girls who drop out of sc­hool before completing their senior secondary education wish to go back to school, according to an ongoing study by child rights group Plan India.

Some key findings of the study ‘Because I am a Girl’ were released on Tuesday ahead of the International Day for Girl Child. The report has a sample size of 2,700 adolescents across UP, Bihar and Jharkhand.  “The literacy rate or education level of mothers is a strong determining factor in girls continuing their education. We found that 80 per cent mothers are illiterate, which prevents girls from going back to school,” said Plan India member Meena Narula.

Poor financial condition and underage marriage are other factors for high dropout rates among girls. Only 35 per cent girls who dropped out in UP schools said they can take their own decisions.

Child abuse

Most of the school children in the three states have experie­nced beatings, corporal punishment, teasing and harassm­ent. Less than one-third of boys and girls reported cases of violence and abuse and a lesser percentage of dropout girls reported such issues.

“We started this campaign five years ago. This year’s theme is ‘life skills and education’ as discrimination against girls is prominent in society. A girl in India faces barriers at every stage of her life,” said Plan India executive director Bhagyashri Dengle.

To mark the International Day for Girl Child, Plan India and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will illuminate Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb and Purana Quila and Charminar in Hyderabad with pink lights.

“The ASI’s permission to illuminate monuments is not restricted to this occasion. We seek to collaborate with the NGO to celebrate other events as well,” said D N Dimri, ASI Delhi circle superintending archaeologist. “There is a huge evidence of importance and respect given to women in early history. Discrimination started in the medieval period, which continues till date,” said Dimri. Actor Anil Kapoor, patron of the project, said ASI’s support will help spread awareness about promoting girls.

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