Awareness about the Right to Education (RTE) Act is high in the city’s slums, but when it comes to practical implementation, there is still some way to go, a survey has found.
The survey, by non-profit group Child Rights and You (CRY), was conducted across five cities through structured questionnaires. Five hundred slum households across India took part. The study aimed at measuring the knowledge, attitudes and practices of people on the obstacles in the education of the girl child. The survey coincided with International Girl Child Day, which falls on October 11. The findings were released at a conference on Wednesday.
While 100% of all respondents surveyed from the city said education was important and 64% were aware about education as a fundamental right, 72% said they knew children were not attending school.
While nearly 90% respondents said they valued education over marriage and 99% said they knew 18 was the legal age for marriage, 86.2% said girls should marry between 16 and 18 years. Of the city’s respondents, 93% said that someone below the age of 18 is not a child, while 78.1% said if someone is tall, can look after a baby, work and earn, they cannot be considered a child.
“These are opposing pulls,” said Kreeanne Rabadi, regional director, (West) at CRY. “People might believe in education, but cultural attitudes pull them in another direction.”
The study also looked at the average proportion of income families spent on education. In the Mumbai households surveyed, respondents said they spent the most on housing (30.1%) followed by food (28%) and then education (23.7%).
“Distance of schools, safety, lack of toilets affects girls. When expenses are high, girls get pulled out of school first,” said Puja Marwaha, chief executive officer, CRY.