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With only 16% Indian women using mobile internet services and schooling having moved to online classes, many, especially from the lower socio-economic strata, are taking their girls out of schools.
Yesterday, during a discussion with my domestic help lady Bimla, I came to know that she has three small children who are studying in the same school. As the schools are closed because of COVID -19, the schools are managing classes by zoom application.
All students are getting homework through messages. The three children are studying in different classes and hence a different timetable for online classes has been allotted to them. But it seems difficult for her to manage the study of all three kids because she has only one smartphone at home.
She further told me that she will continue the study of her boys, but will drop out the study of the girl child as according to her, the girl has to manage the home whether she studies or not.
There are many people like Bimla who are dropping their girl child’s education during the COVID-19 period, as they are unable to set up the technical environment for their children at home. The mindset is that the girl has to get marry and look after her husband’s home.
In a research, it has been found that at the time of certain pandemics whether its Ebola or during COVID-19, boys generally return to school but girls could not as the parents force their girl child to drop their studies for the sake of their families.
The world has moved to digital classes, and schools have already implemented this mode of studies, but according to data, India’s digital gender division is worst when we compare with other countries. Being the second-largest internet user base and with cheap mobile data plans, it has been found that only 16% of Indian women use mobile internet services. In rural areas, girls are not allowed to access personal devices as men do. Hence, in an effectively inconsistent and divided society, the transition to online classes will abandon millions of girls’ education.
Image source: shutterstock
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