Best Digital Initiatives for Promoting Girl Education in India
Increasing outreach of girl/women education has been an integral part of educational policies and programmes in India. The National Policy on Education has emphasized on the need for women empowerment through the expansion of girl education in India. Accordingly, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, has taken a number of initiatives to promote girl education in the country.
There are numerous initiatives and Government schemes for girl child education in India. We have tried to compile a list of all the major initiatives in this direction. The list is only indicative and there are many more initiatives running into play.
Central Government Digital Programmes and Initiatives for Promoting Girl Education in India
#1 ‘Girl child Education’ group on MyGov
‘Girl child Education’ group on MyGov provides the platform to discuss ideas to improve girl education in India. Its objective is to prepare a policy framework taking inputs from suggestions received for increasing girl education and providing them with livelihood opportunities.
Besides, specific suggestions, everyone in the group has emphasized on the need to create a proper learning environment to foster girl education in India. Many members in the discussion group feel that parents play the most pivotal role in the education of the girl child, hence it becomes crucial that they should be first sensitized about the critical importance of girl child education.
Proper infrastructure and access to schools in rural India have always remained a big challenge. Another crucial area of improvement is proper sanitation facilities for girls in schools. Most members have stressed upon this basic need to promote girl education in the country.
Numerous suggestions have come on the need for higher education among girls. For this, they suggest opening a college in each taluka to arrest school drop out after class 12 among girls.
#2 Digital Gender Atlas for Advancing Girls’ education
India is yet to achieve a high growth rate in girl education in India. The low representation of girls in schools across the country in many states still persists. Schools still witness low attendance rates and high drop-outs among girls. This calls for a thorough analysis of the situation for better planning, effective implementation and monitoring.
In this regard, a Digital Gender Atlas for the country has been initiated to identify the low performing geographic pockets for girls, particularly from marginalised groups. It is developed by the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development with support from UNICEF.
This initiative of the Government is to ensure an equitable education for girls by enabling critical decisions and action in pockets where performance needs to be stepped up.
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has launched a scheme “Udaan” to provide free online resources to girl students of Class XI and Class XII for preparation of admission test for the premier engineering colleges in the country.
The special focus of the scheme is to address the low enrolment ratio of girl students in these prestigious institutions and to enable girl students to receive special incentives and support so that they can join these institutions and go on to take leadership roles in the future.
E-Pathshala is a portal jointly initiated by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and National Council of Educational Research and Training launched. E-pathshala hosts educational resources for teachers, students, parents, researchers and educators, which is available on Web, Android, IOS and Windows platforms. The resources are available in English, Hindi and Urdu languages.
The students can get access to all educational material, including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals and a variety of other print and non-print materials through e-Pathshala. These materials can be downloaded by the user for offline use with no limits on downloads.
#5 Free Access to Higher Education Study Material Through Mobile App
After launching the digitisation of the education initiative, ‘E-pathshala’, HRD Ministry announced that the higher education course material will be made available free of cost to the students through mobile app and other sources. According to press reports, additional educational modules would be prepared and efforts would be made to provide free access to all books through a mobile app.
#6 HRD Ministry Launches More Educational Channels for Students
The HRD Ministry has provided a digital platform wherein 32 channels would render systematic instruction to students. Of the 32 channels, 3 channels are devoted to IIT aspirants.
Other Educational Schemes and Policies in India Initiated by the Government and Statutory Bodies for Promoting Girl Education in the Country.
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save the daughter, educate the daughter) is a campaign of the Government of India that is aimed at spreading awareness and enhancing the efficiency of welfare services for girls in the country.
The Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme is a national initiative jointly run by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resource Development. It addresses the issue of declining child sex ratio in the country.
The campaign aims at ensuring girls are born, nurtured and educated without discrimination to become empowered citizens of this country. The Campaign interlinks National, State and District level interventions with community-level action, bringing together different stakeholders for accelerated impact. The initiative’s YouTube channel shows various videos related to the campaign.
National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education (NSIGSE)
National Scheme of Incentives to Girls for Secondary Education is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for promoting girl education in the age group of 14-18 especially at secondary education level launched by Department of School Education and Literacy, MHRD, GoI.
The Scheme does not cover married girls, girls studying in private unaided schools and enrolled in schools run by Central Government like KVS, NVS etc.
Under the scheme, a sum of Rs. 3,000/- is deposited in the name of eligible girls as fixed deposit. The girls are entitled to withdraw the sum along with interest thereon on reaching 18 years of age and on passing the 10th class examination.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)
Government of India has launched its flagship programme Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) to ensure Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) with special focus on girl education in India. SSA is being implemented in partnership with State Governments.
SSA also seeks to provide computer education to bridge the digital divide.
Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA)
Under the integrated scheme of RMSA, interventions include the construction of new secondary schools, provision of toilets blocks in existing schools with separate toilets for girls, construction of teachers’ quarters, construction of Girls Hostels, organization of empowerment/awareness camps to improve the education of girls at the secondary level etc.
Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme
Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme was launched in 2004 in order to provide primary level education to girls. The scheme was specially designed for the underprivileged girls in rural areas.
Measures were taken by UGC
UGC has undertaken a number of measures for the improvement of education of Women.
It has allocated special grants for construction of Women hostels in the Universities, started the Single Girl Child Scheme, released Post-Doctoral Fellowship for Women, providing funds to Universities in India which are set up exclusively for women.
The scheme by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)
All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has launched a scheme to provide assistance for the Advancement of Girls participation in Technical Education. The scheme empowers young women through technical education for advancing her future. The scheme provides scholarships.
Maharashtra State Bureau launches E-Balbharti App
School students can now read textbooks on mobiles. The Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research (Balbharti) launched an application that will let students read textbooks on their mobiles. Textbooks produced by Balbharati are published on ebalbharati.in in pdf format. The pdf e-books can be downloaded free of cost. The policy was aimed at reducing the weight of bags carried by students to school.
Educate the Girl, Educate the Family, and Educate the Nation
When you educate a man, you educate an individual and when you educate a woman, you educate an entire family and subsequently the entire nation.
India is determined in educating all children, especially the girl child. Through schemes such as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, we are committed to providing free and compulsory education to all the children between 6 to 14 years of age.
However, even after declaring education as a fundamental right, the country is facing several challenges in educating the girl child. The biggest bottleneck is the orthodox mentality of families towards girls and their importance in society. In many parts of the country especially rural areas, girls are still confined to domestic drudgery.
That is why the government of India has initiated various programs and policies to ensure that a girl does not miss out any opportunity of getting an education. But still, a lot more needs to be done for providing education to the girl child. It will require a much effective implementation framework along with a greater level of commitment of people in general.
Until we create awareness amongst people about the benefits of women education, all these programs would not bring about the desired result.
We should all know that girls are the foundation of a strong nation. No country can progress fully if women are not given equal opportunities to grow and thrive. In order to harness women power for nation-building, we will have to ensure that each girl child is able to contribute to her full potential. Only then can we aim to claim our position amongst the league of superpowers of the world.