Girl child ‘unviable’ in Rajasthan

Girl ChildJAIPUR (RAJASTHAN): With government school closures in Rajasthan are on the rise for being “unviable”, girls from poor families are being forced to drop out, according to a new study.

NGO Save the Children’s new report on the status of girl child titled “World of India’s Girls, 2014”, released on Wednesday, said poor girls were left with little choice but to enrol in low-fee private schools and compromise on the quality of education.

While Rajasthan is often cited as an example of successful implementation of the public private partnership (PPP) in the education sector, such schools are expensive and not easily accessible, said the study.

The proportion of out-of-school girls (aged 11-14 years) has increased from 8.9% in 2011 to over 11% in 2012. At the upper primary stage, the enrolment rate for girls falls to below 60%.

According to the NCERT position paper on Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes children, rural SC girls in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha have low participation rates, the worst being in Rajasthan where the per capita income spending on education is the lowest.

The report, which recommends a National Policy for the Girl Child, looks at how gender-based discrimination starts even before birth in India, affecting the way the girl child experiences her childhood and leaving a lasting impact on a woman.

In this context, Rajasthan saw a drop of 26 points in child sex ratio during 2001-11, mainly because of rampant use of ultrasound technology for sex determination.

In 2006, over 100 doctors in 22 districts were found violating the law and suspended; inexplicably, however, their suspensions were revoked by the Medical Council of India in the following year.

Over 1,651 private ultrasound centres — 122 in government hospitals and over 1,000 in private centres — were providing this “service”, the report said.

As per 2007-08 data, the proportion of full immunisation among girls is lower at 46.1% than that among boys at 51.1%.

The gender bias in terms of child health, according to the National Household Survey (2005-06) was among the highest in Rajasthan.

Similarly, the highest incidence of child marriage is in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, where the proportion of girls getting married before the age of 18 years is 40%.

In Rajasthan, only 17% of the sample worksites of MGNREGA projects have child care facilities which would mean girls have to look after siblings when their parents go out to work. – FROM THE HINDU

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