New order: Boys study in English medium; govt schools for girls

New order: Boys study in English medium; govt schools for girls

Even as the government is having its campaign ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ to promote educating the girl child, there is discrimination in the kind of schools girls are sent to. Parents often prefer to send their sons to private English medium schools and daughters to government schools.

According to data from the District Information System for Education (DISE), the number of girls in Karnataka who are enrolled in private schools from Class I to X in 2016-17 is nearly 5 lakh less than the number of boys. On the other hand, there are 1,38,513 more girls in government schools than boys.

PC Jaffer, Commissioner of Public Instruction (CPI), said, “There is not much of a gender gap in the overall enrolment of children in schools. But the data does appear to point towards some sort of parental preference.”

In 2004, Prof Niranjanaradhya V P, fellow at Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University (NLSIU), was part of a campaign by the state government called ‘Ba Baale Shalege’ to increase enrolment of girl children in schools. Workshops and awareness drives were held and women teachers were encouraged to adopt blocks and ensure enrolment of girls there. “At the time, dropout, child marriage and child labour were rampant problems and gender gap in enrolment was large. The campaign was successful in bringing more girls into the school system,” he said. However, as enrolment of girls improved, a new problem emerged.

“We have been observing for a while now that there is a new form of gender discrimination with boys being given English medium education and girls Kannada medium. If the government is really interested in educating the girl child, they need to give good quality education in their schools and create a level playing field,” Prof Niranajanaradhya said.

“Of late, a lot of private schools have been mushrooming in villages. Low-end private schools in rural pockets offer English medium education, that everyone looks up to, “ said Shivakumar D, executive director of Kalike Trusts, which works with government schools in Yadgir district.

When parents can afford private education for only one child, they pick the son. “Parents have aspirations to send their child to a private school. They look at it from an investment point of view. They think the son will be with them and support them whereas the girl will get married. This mindset needs to be changed,” he said.

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