Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state located in the northern part of the country, has made significant progress in recent years, but access to education remains a challenge, especially for girls.
According to the National Family Health Survey-4, only 59.3% of women in Uttar Pradesh are literate, compared to 80.9% of men. The low literacy rate of girls in Uttar Pradesh is a significant concern, as it violates their fundamental human right to education.
Access to Education for Girls:
Girls in Uttar Pradesh still face numerous barriers to accessing education, despite the government and non-governmental organizations’ efforts. Poverty, gender discrimination, and social norms that prioritize male education over female education are the primary reasons for this.
Many families cannot afford the cost of schooling due to poverty and may rely on their daughters to work or care for siblings instead of attending school. Gender discrimination is another significant barrier, as girls are often considered less valuable than boys and may be denied educational opportunities.
Social norms that prioritize male education over female education are also a concern, as families may not see the value of educating their daughters or may believe that girls should be married off at a young age instead of pursuing education.
Challenges Faced by Girls in Uttar Pradesh:
Girls in Uttar Pradesh face several challenges when it comes to accessing education. One of the most significant challenges is the lack of infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. Many schools in rural areas lack basic facilities such as electricity, toilets, and clean drinking water, which can make it difficult for girls to attend school regularly.
Another challenge is the lack of female teachers. In many parts of Uttar Pradesh, there are few or no female teachers, which can make it difficult for girls to feel comfortable in school and can also limit their educational opportunities.
Child marriage is also a significant challenge for girls in Uttar Pradesh, as many are forced to drop out of school to get married at a young age, which violates their human rights to education and freedom from child marriage.
Efforts to Improve Access to Education for Girls:
There have been several efforts to improve access to education for girls in Uttar Pradesh in recent years. The government has launched several schemes, including the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) scheme, which provides residential schools for girls from disadvantaged communities.
The government has also launched the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme, which aims to improve the status of girls and promote their education. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also played a significant role in improving access to education for girls in Uttar Pradesh. NGOs such as Nanhi Kali and Educate Girls have focused on improving access to education for girls in rural areas by providing scholarships, improving school infrastructure, and increasing the number of female teachers.
The Link to Human Rights:
Access to education is a fundamental human right that should be available to everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic status.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) recognizes the right to education as a fundamental human right and requires that it should be available to all without discrimination.
The right to education is also recognized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires that children should have access to primary education that is free, compulsory, and of good quality.
The lack of access to education for girls in Uttar Pradesh violates their human rights to education, equality, and freedom from child marriage. Poverty, gender discrimination, and social norms are the primary reasons for these violations.
Efforts such as the KGBV and BBBP schemes and the work of NGOs are critical steps towards improving access to education for girls in Uttar Pradesh and fulfilling their fundamental human rights.
Despite the efforts of the government and NGOs, girls in Uttar Pradesh still face significant challenges when it comes to accessing education. Poverty, gender discrimination, and social norms that prioritize male education over female education are the primary reasons for this.
The lack of infrastructure, such as basic facilities and female teachers, is also a significant challenge. Child marriage is another significant concern that violates the human rights of girls in Uttar Pradesh. Improving access to education for girls in Uttar Pradesh is critical to fulfilling their fundamental human rights.
Efforts such as the KGBV and BBBP schemes and the work of NGOs are steps towards achieving this goal. However, more needs to be done to address the underlying causes of these violations, such as poverty and gender discrimination. By addressing these issues, we can ensure that every girl in Uttar Pradesh has the opportunity to receive a quality education and fulfil her potential.
- International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and Macro International. 2007. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), 2005–06: India: Volume I. Mumbai: IIPS. Government of Uttar Pradesh.