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In Chittorgarh, girl education drive takes school enrolment to 90%

Enrolment in government schools in Chittorgarh has touched 90% after the district administration started a special drive for girl education

jaipur Updated: Jan 13, 2018 20:09 IST
Sachin Saini
Sachin Saini
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Chittorgarh,girl education drive,school enrolment
School students and villagers at a ‘shiksha chaupal’ in Chittorgarh district.(HT Photo)

Enrolment in government schools in Chittorgarh has touched 90% after the district administration started a special drive for girl education.

In January 2017, the administration launched ‘Udaan’ – a campaign to ensure that all girls in the district are enrolled in schools by June 2018. The campaign, inspired by the Centre’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme, aims at reducing dropout rates at upper primary and secondary levels and strengthening school management committees to promote girls’ education.

“Under the campaign, a door-to-door survey of girls in the district was conducted at the village level, and a database was prepared to connect them with education,” said district collector Inderjeet Singh. “The administration worked on strengthening anganwadis and school development and management committees, effective execution of schemes related to girls, and upgrading physical infrastructure of model and excellent schools.”

In 3.5 lakh households, 3 lakh are children, of which 2.30 lakh go to schools, the survey found. Of the remaining 70,000 children, 50,000, including 32,000 girls (5-14 years), have been enrolled and efforts are on to bring others to school, Singh said. “Today, Chittorgarh is among the top districts in terms of increase in enrolment. Our target is to enrol every girl in school by June 2018.”

It wasn’t a cakewalk, considering the extent of psychological barriers, the collector said. “Girls’ education was ignored in households. A change in mindset was needed. Around 4000 teachers went door to door to convince families, and apprise them about government schemes for midday meals, scholarships, cycles and books,” Singh said. “We ensured proper environment and infrastructure, such as functional toilets.”

He said parents expressed fears about girls’ safety. “We placed Garima boxes at schools to receive complaints about eve-teasing and misbehaviour.” Citing an instance, he said, “A girl contacted me to say how a warden is encouraging eve-teasing; immediate action was taken.”

Rajasthan has about 65,000 government schools, including 13000 secondary and higher secondary schools.

The collector said the campaign focused on ensuring quality education to dispel people’s cynicism about the system. “Alumni of government schools, especially women officers, were invited to ‘shiksha chaupal’ to create awareness. The idea was to encourage girls to have dreams.”

He said the campaign could not have been successful without community participation. He said an 85-year-old man who has no relatives donated his saving of Rs 25,000. A farmer, whose only son died in accident, donated his almirah and Rs 50,000. “Till date, around Rs 8 crore has been generated from 100 gram panchayats.”

Asked how the campaign was different from the one run by the education department, the collector said, “The enrolment target list prepared after the survey provided details, such as the names and addresses of children, which made the task smooth for every school and anganwadi.”

Singh said the girl-education drive focused on creating awareness about schemes through banners and hoardings, installation of sanitary pad machines at schools, distribution of iron folic acid tablets, students’ health checkup programmes, setting up girls’ corners, and ensuring a woman teacher at every school.

First Published: Jan 13, 2018 20:09 IST