More girls dropping out of school

GURGAON: The government's Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save girl child, educate girl child) scheme does not seem to be working here as the city recorded a high dropout rate among girls in primary and middle classes of government schools.

As many as 15,000 girl students studying in the primary and middle classes have dropped out of school this year until June. There were 47,993 girls from classes I to VIII till December 2015. It is an increase of 13% as compared to last year when about 13,000 girl students left the primary and middle classes. While 14,000 girl students left in 2014, the total number of girl dropouts was 20,000 in 2013.

According to a source in the district education department, most girls drop out of schools in primary classes. The source told TOI it was worrying that the dropout rate among girl students has increased this year.

"More than 50% of dropouts take place in the primary school. To tackle the problem, the department has formed a team which will go to the surrounding areas of the government schools and spread awareness about various schemes offered by the government to encourage people to send their daughters to school," the source said.

Teachers in government schools blame it on ailing infrastructure and lack of teachers in the government schools. "Not many government schools in the city have enough toilets for girls," said the principal of a government school.

"Power cuts and shortage of water remain a major issue every summer. Shortage of teachers is a major issue as well. Parents often complain that it is better to send their daughters for work, instead of sending them to a school that doesn't have enough teachers. While the conditions in the government schools of Delhi are improving, they are getting worse here," the principal said.

Sheela Thakur, a retired educationist from CBSE, told TOI that parents from an economically poor background were aware of the benefits of educating girls. "However, it is shortage of teachers and lack of essential facilities that make them opt for early employment of their daughters. I have seen many cases wherein girls are pulled out of school after Class V or VI as parents feel that their daughters are wasting time in school. Many a time, girls are not able to perform well, especially in the middle classes, owing to unavailability of teachers and poor quality of education," Thakur said.

Kiran Rani, a parent of an 11-year-old girl, told TOI that her daughter has better prospects in housekeeping.

"I pulled my daughter out of school after Class 6 as now she can assist me in housekeeping work. She can make good money (anything between Rs 8,000 and Rs 12,000) by working as a maid in a household," Rani said.

Rani said the worst part of her daughter's school is that she doesn't learn anything there. "She can't even write a full sentence after studying for six years as the teachers hardly come to school," she said.

Despite several calls and messages, both Neelam Bhandari, district education officer and Sushil Gaur, block education officer, remained unavailable for comments.

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