A Missed Opportunity

Gangavathi Taluk

Young girls of Gangavathi taluk still struggle to complete their schooling.

Despite a lot of measures and schemes introduced by state and central governments to ensure compulsory education, a lot of girls from Gangavathi taluk of Koppal district in Karnataka are unable to finish their education. At the core of this lie various reasons that lead to girls dropping out.

Tasleen, a 17 year old girl works as a house hold help in the nearby villages to sustain her family, which consist of her grandparents and two siblings, after her parent’s death. She left school right after 7th standard. She said, “I couldn’t continue with my education due to these problems. There is no one to stay back at home and take care of my family, so I have to do that.”

The average literacy rate of Karnataka is 75.36%, as per government census 2011. Wherein the literacy rate of females is 68.08% and for males, it is 82.47%. In Gangavathi, the female literacy rate is 58.19% and male literacy rate is 76.51%, according to a report by Azim Premji Foundation.

Literacy rate for the state, district and taluk:

The teachers from various government schools of the taluk gave their insight on why girls generally drop out, the reasons for which vary great lengths. Shaanta, a primary school teacher said, “Women generally go out to work and they also have a lot of responsibilities like taking care of children in their homes, cooking, cleaning, looking after the family and hence, sending them to school becomes difficult at times.” Poverty also becomes an important factor in this. “The mentality of the people here is also a problem. They think that if they send their girls to high schools, which are generally in Gangavathi town and is far away from their villages, then their daughters will encounter different people on the way to their schools or colleges. If they face any harassment, it will tarnish their characters forever,” said Roopa, another primary school teacher.

The report by Azim Premji foundation also states that the dropout rates seem to increase as one move from upper primary (11.3%) to secondary level (40.9%).

The Sarva Sikhsya Abhiyan by the government of India aims at making education free and compulsory to the children of 6-14 years old. But, once the children cross this age there is no scheme covering them which make dropping out easy.

Mumtaj Begum, a housewife from Gundamma camp in Gangavathi said that her daughter dropped out after 8th standard simply because she didn’t like going to school. On being asked whether she pursued her daughter, she said, “We had admitted her but she didn’t want to continue any further, so what could we have said?”

Raghavendra, a driver and Mumtaj Begum’s neighbor echoed her thought and said that despite some parents allowing their girls, they leave as they get disinterested very quickly or do not like the food being provided there.

Educationalists say that even if the schools are shabby it is important for the girls to attend one as the environment of a school would help them broaden their knowledge base, which in turn will help them make decisions and be a part of the decision making process in not only her home but in the society as well.

“The aim of education is the holistic development of a human being that will not only help them develop the skill sets that can be useful for a job, but it will also develop each one of us. Let’s say there is a girl who is getting married at the age of 18 and is someone who did not do anything after dropping out of school. Now if she had got education, then as a woman, in her marriage she will be able to say a lot of things that will establish herself as an equal,” said Professor Rishikesh B.S from School of Education of Azim Premji University.  He also stated that going forward, the same woman as a mother would be able to drive confidence and motivation into her daughter that would help her contribute more to the society.

As of now, the 17-year-old Tasleen is still confused about her future as she doesn’t know what to do about her situation. The only thing she knows is that she has a problem and she needs to find a solution for it anyhow.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *