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Educating the girl child everywhere in India should be made possible by educating the people about its importance and changing mindsets.
3 to 4 years back, I was a lecturer in a college, and really enjoyed my job. Teaching is in my blood so it would have been surprising if I had not been in the education field. I also love interacting with people. I have never been nervous before going to class; not even on the first day!
I always tried to get to know my students as people. Apart from their names and the cities they belonged to, one thing I was interested in the most was, “What would you do after graduation?”
Of course, I did not expect to hear, “I want to become a CEO!” as I could always understand their state of mind at that level of student life. It is always good to set the highest goal, but it is better to focus on the nearer goals because these are the steps you will be taking to reach the final stage; your ultimate goal. You can call it being down to earth or being grounded.
I had been in their place just a few years ago. So I could easily understand their dilemma.
Why did I ask this question? One thing was very clear in my mind – never put pressure on the students. Make them love the subject, instead of forcing them to memorize it. To avoid monotony and boredom in the classroom, I tried to be expressive during lectures (just to keep them away from random yawning!) and to do this, I often asked them various questions and “What would you do after graduation?” was one of my usual questions.
Almost everyone answered with excitement and happiness in voice. Everyone spoke of different Masters programmes. But I was shocked by what one girl said.
This was a girl who always sat in the first row and took the corner chair. She was very accurate in her work and particular in assignments and attendance. A studious, bright and aspiring!
She said with her usual smile, “I will not study further.”
“What?” was my reaction!
She repeated, “I will not study. I am allowed to study till graduation only. In my family, girls are not allowed to study more.”
A LOSS. A great Loss. I was in shock and still am in. Is that really possible? Can someone really tell you not to study? I could not digest the thing that this could actually happen.
We live in a country where we believe that the future of the country is in the hands of youngsters. And we also believe that education is the true strength of development. How can illiteracy rule the nation? It cannot. It simply cannot.
There are many children in the country like this girl who are bright and can be brighter citizens who can help the country in many terms. But why are we stopping them? Why don’t we believe in educating the girl child?
One reason which I learned was the marital issue. They believe that if the girl is more educated, the family may face the problem in finding a suitable groom. So ultimately, the girl would not live a happy life.
One more reason came: “Why should we spend so much money on daughter’s education? She will get married and will leave the house, so why should we INVEST in her education? Her husband will do whatever he feels like.”
These reasons are extremely strange to me. I am sure that they are not to them who have set these reasons.
But I wonder will it ever change? If it will, then when and how?
Yes, we are working towards women empowerment and educating the girl child. But there is still a portion of the society which has not changed yet. And we cannot ignore this portion if we are to make any lasting change for our girls and women.
Let’s make one such country where no girl will say, “I am not allowed to study.”
Published here earlier.
Image source: flickr, for representational purposes only.