CREATING AWARENESS AND MOBILISING THE COMMUNITY TO FULFILL THE OBJECTIVES OF ‘BETI BACHAO BETI PADHAO’
Green Institute for Research and Development (GIRD) carried out a Public Campaign from 1April 2017 to 14th April 2017 to create awareness and mobilise the communities about the importance of girls’ education. Promotion of girls’ education is one of the objectives of the BetiBachaoBetiPadhao programme initiated by the Government of India. The campaign was carried in different areas of South West Delhi, West Delhi and North West Delhi districts of Delhi – these are three of the five districts identified as Gender Sensitive Districts for the purpose of focused action by the BetiBachaoBetiPadhao programme by the Government of India.
At the end of the Public Campaign, a Public Meeting was organised on the 15th April 2015 at DMA Cultural Centre, 15A, Institutional Area, Sector – IV, RK Puram, New Delhi. The Public Meeting was organised in two sessions:
- Inaugural Session
- Technical Session
The Inaugural session was Chaired by KP HareendranAchari, President, GIRD. He welcomed dignitaries and participants and emphasized the need of spreading awareness on this particular subject at the present juncture. He appreciated Prime Minister, Shri NarenderModi’s initiatives on this project. AK Shamshuddeen, AK, Secretary GIRD presented a Theme Paper. Shri SenManbendu, Consultant, MahilaVikasKosh and Ministry of Women & Child Development, Abdul Wahid Siddiqui, National President, Al Hind YuvaSangh, Ms. PreetiTokas and Mrs. Vidhya Joshi, Teachers spoke on the occasion.
The Second session was chaired by Shri. SudhirHilsayanan, Editor, Dr. Ambedkar Foundation. Smt. Nargis Khan, Chairman, EktaSudharSamiti; Mrs. SujataHilsyanan, Social Activist; SZ Mallik, Social Activist; Ms. S. Ramya, Teacher; and Mrs. Saltant Zaidi, Chairman, Pherhan Trust of India spoke on the importance of girls’ education and BetiBachao, BetiPadhao programme.
The Public Meeting was attended by about 300 people including students, teachers, parents, NGO representatives. They came mainly from different parts of the three Delhi districts, namely, South West Delhi, West Delhi and North West Delhi districts where we had organised public awareness campaign.
Several participants actively participated in the discussions on the importance of girls’ education.
The Public Meeting was also marked by the cultural programmesby students. In recognition of their talents, five of the student participants of cultural programme were given cash prizes.
By conducting the Public Campaign and Public Meeting, GIRD has been able to arouse public interest in the Government of India’s BetiBachao, BetiPadhao programme, especially about its objective of ending discrimination against girls in the provision of education.
Background to “BetiBachao, BetiPadhao”
BetiBachao, BetiPadhao is among the latest of the Governmental action programmes which aims to promote the education of girl children. In the past, various other policy proclamations as well as schemes/programmes were in place which focused on the importance of girls’ education. These policies and programmes have been able to make a positive impact on the level of girls’ education in India going by the enrolment of girls at the primary level where the Gender Parity Index has increased to 1.02 in 2012 compared to 0.84 in 1999. The Gender Parity Index at Secondary School level in 2012 has also improved to 0.94 from the 1999 level of 0.70.
Despite these achievements, there are large numbers of girls who remain out of school in India. Though girls attend primary schools in roughly equal numbers as boys, the gap between girls and boys widen as they get older because of drop-out of girls in large numbers.
BetiBachaoBetiPadhao slogan and programme has been launched by the Government against the backdrop of the still continuing overall disadvantage of girl children in India. The Child Sex Ratio is heavily adverse against the female gender. In various health indicators the girl children suffer more than boys.
In the case of educational attainment, there are various specific factors which go against the girls. The gender-biased traditional society in India wants girls to help with work at home. In lower-end sections of families, girls are required to participate in the labour force outside home. About two-thirds of the girls who are out of school belong to lowest categories in the caste system, namely, the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and weaker castes (such as castes of artisans, fisher-folk, service-providing communities like barbers, washermen, etc) of the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes.
There are many other reasons for a large number of Indian families not to send their girl children to school. There is the fear of dishonor to girls from boys on the way to school and also inside school. In many areas in different regions of the country, even teachers are not trusted. Schools are largely in unsanitary conditions without even separate and covered toilet facilities for girls. Classrooms are mostly over-crowded. In this situation, there are reasonable apprehensions on the part of parents about sending their girl children to school.
The implementation strategy of the BetiBachao, BetiPadhao programme includes sustained Social Mobilization and Communication Campaign to create equal value for the girl child and promote her education.Mobilisinggrassroot workers as catalysts for social change in partnership with local community/women’s/youth groups is also part of the strategy outlined by the Government for the implementation of the BetiBachao, BetiPadhao Programme. The Government of India has identified a total of 100 districts in India for implementing the BetiBacho, BetiPadho programme. These Districts are termed Gender Critical Districts on the basis of the lower Child Sex Ratio in these districts.
The three districts in Delhi where the GIRD undertook the above public campaign are among the total of five districts in Delhi which have been identified as Gender Critical districts. We plan to extend the campaign to other Gender Critical districts in Delhi in near future.