During our school days, we were taught a lot about the importance of educating girls. I remember that writing an essay on it was considered one of the expected questions of the exam. Much work has been done to raise awareness about this, but educating girls remains a challenge. An uneducated child is still much more likely to be a girl than a boy. According to reports, 58 million girls worldwide are out of school.
South Asian countries including Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, etc. have the highest number of out-of-school girls in the world. According to the 2011 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Program, about twice as many men as women receive secondary education in Pakistan and India also with regard to girls’ education. Once the international community promised that in 2005 there would be an equal number of boys and girls in school, but later, after taking stock of development, leaders around the world admitted that ‘they had not kept that promise.
But the million dollar question is why this goal could not be met? Is there an obstacle between the two? What circumstances prevent us from educating girls?
It was analyzed that few challenges make it difficult for girls to access education. These include the cost of education, poor school environments, the position of women in society, social exclusion and, lastly, myths.
Regarding the first challenge, the governments of the subcontinent, particularly India and Pakistan, have somehow succeeded in ensuring free education for children (including boys and girls) belonging to to marginalized sects. Programs like Midday Meal Scheme, RMSA, SSA and Education Endowment Fund, Study Voucher Program, etc. to quality education due to financial and social constraints.
The poor school environment is a major concern, however. A school environment that may be acceptable to boys may be hostile to girls. Physical and sexual violence against women, common in many societies, is reflected in the school environment in several countries. Physical abuse and kidnapping is not only a major violation of girls’ basic human rights; they also present a major practical constraint for going to school. Parents feel obligated to protect their daughters and may decide to keep them at home if they feel the school is too far away. This problem needs to be addressed, but unfortunately nothing remarkable has been done to ensure a safe school environment for girls.
The next challenge is the “weak position of women in society”. Within communities, girls face many obstacles. In countries like Afghanistan, rural India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, girls are married off before their 18th birthday, increasing their responsibilities at an early age, forcing girls to drop out of school. . Additional domestic responsibilities also force girls to drop out of school.
Another obstacle is “social exclusion”. Certain groups of girls are more likely to be excluded from school because of caste, ethnicity, religion or disability. Children with disabilities, and among them girls with disabilities in particular, constitute a large group who are denied access to education. There is an urgent need for an appropriate strategy to end this bias.
The latter is a myth that religions forbid the education of girls, although a trend has changed to a large extent, yet the girl is not allowed to have the same type of education as her brother. Boys are allowed to attend institutes of their choice, but girls are confined to the home. Some Hindus even consider girls to be incapable of studying Vedas, however, Islamic ideologues mainly focus on religious education for girls and not on contemporary education. Some Muslims and Hindus also believe that learning domestic skills is sufficient for girls and do not think about sending girls to school even though there is no gender disparity in education in any. religion. The Holy Quran states: Say: “Can those who have knowledge and those who are not the same be alike? Only then will the wise receive the warning. [Al-Zumar, 39:9.]. “So only those of His servants who have knowledge (of those realities with vision and perspective) fear Him. Surely Allah is Almighty, Most Forgiving. [Fatir, 35:28.]
It is evident from the above verses that Knowledge is neither gender specific nor confined to religious knowledge and that the importance of Knowledge has not been restricted to men by Almighty God, but do we persevere in creating them ourselves? Several prophetic traditions also speak directly to the fact that knowledge is obligatory and binding.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: The acquisition of knowledge is compulsory for all Muslims (men and women without any discrimination). [Ibn Maja in al-Sunan]. He (pbuh) said in another place: Allah Almighty makes the way to paradise easier for the one who walks on it to obtain knowledge. [Muslim in al-Sahih.] etc. Some fear that education will empower women and maybe empowerment means that a woman is able to dominate a man, which is a bad opinion. Some believe that attending school would affect her homework assignments, they are also incorrect, as girls have already proven themselves in all areas. Thus, we must be factual and not mythical and must realize the importance of educating girls.
The girl is an indispensable part of our life. As a mother, she is the first guardian of a child and can brighten the future of the nation through the good education of her child. Educated mothers can ward off hunger because mother’s education improves children’s nutrition. Education is vital to eradicating malnutrition in the long term – especially education that empowers women.
According to UNESCO reports, mothers with an education at least up to primary or secondary level can play a role in reducing child deaths from malnutrition, saving 3 million lives. Educated mothers are more likely to make sure their children are getting the best nutrients to help them prevent or fight health problems. They know more about proper health and hygiene practices and have more power at home to ensure that children’s nutritional needs are met. Studies show that educated girls are less likely to die in childbirth. Thus, 98,000 lives can be saved.
In addition, as a sister and wife, she has a central role in the family. When she was educated there would be a significant amount of positive change in every household and therefore in society. Education enables individuals to function effectively in a range of adult roles, including that of worker, household provider, parent, spouse, caregiver, citizen, and community participant. It is a proven fact that girls’ education is a remarkably effective catalyst for social and economic growth in developing countries and has a huge global impact on the whole of society.
Considering all these challenges, let us fight together to overcome them to achieve gender parity in education, in which resides progress, prosperity of society and nation.