The Reasons why Girls drop out of School

The Reasons why Girls drop out of School

by Yash Saboo August 15 2018, 10:20 pm Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 48 secs

According to a report by the World Bank, globally 89% of girl children complete primary education, but only 77% complete lower secondary education, this in most countries is just 9 years of schooling. In India, the fact that 32.4% of young girls aging 14-18 years opt out of schools due to restrictions caused by families is troubling.

The report also says that limited educational opportunities for girls and barriers to completing 12 years of education cost countries between $15 trillion and $30 trillion dollars in lost lifetime productivity and earnings. The report finds out that primary education is not enough.

School girls in India(Photo credit - Graham Crouch, Girls Not Brides)

So why exactly do girls, especially adolescents, drop out of school? To start with, girls are expected to contribute to the household far younger than boys are – the implicit understanding being that a girl is being trained for a role as a wife, mother, and daughter-in-law, whereas boys are being trained for an occupation. According to American Indian Organization, girls get married younger than boys do – a Harvard School of Public Health survey conducted studies in Gujarat looking into rates of child marriage and found that of girls aged 14-17, 37% were engaged and 12% married. On the other hand, for boys in the same age range, only 27% engaged and 3% married. The same study found a strong correlation between marital status and school attendance rates (in which married children were over twice as likely to not attend school as single children), but also marriage proved to be worse for the educational prospects of girls than boys.

Besides, families often think that the cost of education, both monetary and psychological is wasted on a girl because of her decreased earning potential. The economic benefit thereof is not immediately apparent to most families. Overall, the expectation of the girl child’s participation in family life seems to be a hindrance to her participation in schooling.

The Right to Education bill has set forth some norms and standards. It codifies expectations and requirements of norms and standards relating inter alia to pupil-teacher ratios buildings and infrastructure, school-working days, teacher-working hours. Therefore we do see legislators are at the very least, considering this area of concern further. It is also one of the easier aspects to tackle, as it falls within the purview of Education Departments in the Centre and in States.

However, it is commonly perceived that girls suffer for various reasons from the lack of infrastructure much worse than boys do - for instance, 40% of all government schools lack a functioning common toilet, and another 40% lack a separate toilet for girls. This, in fact, creates even more reluctance to allow for girls to be educated.

What can be done? Beyond interventions to improve education opportunities and delay marriage and childbearing, programs providing economic opportunities for women help in making investments in education more attractive to girls and their families. It must be understood that despite including girls in the scheme of Indian universalized education, reasons why girls drop out from school seem to make one thing clear – the causes are ingrained in systems that are larger than education. While temporary solutions are rampant and popular, it will take attention on the long-term scale to ensure that girls across India are able to freely, safely, and consistently attend school and access an education.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.