India is home to the largest number of illiterate women in the world. Over 3.7 million girls are out of school. Girls in India average less than four...
In 2010, India had the third highest number of out of school girls in the world. Investing in girls' education and empowering them to be opinion leaders and decision makers can address many challenges that plague Indian society: maternal and child health, population explosion and gender based violence. Dasra’s report Up Grade lays out the key challenges and solutions in the Indian context for keeping girls in secondary school.
The barriers to secondary education for girls broadly belong to two categories: lack of access and lack of quality. There is a shortage of secondary schools in India, and the quality of facility, teachers, and pedagogy is very low, affecting literacy and future employment. Investing in improving secondary education for adolescent girls can help improve health and socio-economic outcomes as an additional year of schooling for adolescent girls reduces infant mortality by 5% to 10%, girls with secondary schooling are up to six times less likely to be child brides than those with little or no education, and an extra year of secondary school increases a girl’s potential income by 15-25%.
In Up Grade, Dasra has identified key focus areas to build a strong and enabling environment to improve secondary education for girls in India. First, to increase parental and community involvement for budget allocation, recruitment of staff, infrastructure improvement, and monitoring of teacher and student performance in schools to increase ownership, transparency and accountability.
Other recommendations include creating a girl-friendly environment in secondary schools, increasing focus on skills development, and integrating technology to improve quality of education.