This academic session, girls from below poverty line (BPL) families in Assam will have something to take them to school — a brand new bicycle gifted by the government.
Though many state-run schools in rural Assam have no teachers — exams could not be held in some 40 teacher-less primary schools in Cachar last year — their distance from home affects students’ attendance more.
The problem is more pronounced for many secondary schools that are situated 5-10 kilometres from villages. The consequence: girls drop out after Class V leading to a 15 per cent gender gap in the literacy percentage (64.28 as per 2001 census).
“We have decided to gift a bicycle to each BPL girl studying in Class VI and above,” Gogoi said at a New Year meet-the-press event organised on Monday. He hoped this would encourage the girls to pedal their way to schools located beyond walkable distances.
Gogoi said the number of such eligible girls is yet to be worked out. The expenditure, however, is likely to be heavy with Assam recording 17.5 lakh BPL families as per a recent survey.