by Comrade Twinkle Siwach
The scheme “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” was launched on 22nd January, 2015 in Panipat, Haryana to balance child sex ratio. The agenda is to save girl child and to ensure education and participation of the girl child. Around one crore money has been given to villages for maintaining child sex ratio and the scheme is controlled by three ministerial departments namely, Women and Child, Health and Welfare and Human Resource Development. According to the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development, around 90 percent of funds as allotted to the programme of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” remain unutilized. Out of the total allotted amount of 43 crore in the fiscal year 2016-2017, only 5 crore was utilized. To ensure survival, protection, equality, empowerment and education of the girl child, there needs to be a much coordinated effort to create a female friendly environment in our society. A society which is free from gender based discrimination, which provides basic elementary education, social security schemes and stringent laws against crime/violence against women. If she is born, she is made to feel vulnerable at various stages of life both inside and outside their home. The lack of proper sanitation facilities inside home leaves her no option other than relieving herself out in the open which often leads to physical harassment. On the other hand, the absence of (functional) toilets in the schools has been a major reason for the drop out of girls. Another major cause of hindrance in the education of the girl child is of the safety which also leads to her early marriage. The ratio of the boy and girl in primary education is one concern and the equivalent ratio of student and teacher is another concern.
Education is not just a tool to make someone literate; it is the social training through which values, knowledge and skills are ingrained into people. Therefore, quality matters. For a majority of female students, it becomes difficult to access higher education due to socio-economic factors such as high fees, lack of infrastructural facilities, lack of financial aid etc. which determine her participation in education. Socially constructed barriers for women continue to put constraints on their freedom to acquire education as independent beings. Whether the regular calls day and night to know of our whereabouts or being asked to remain within the socially demarcated boundaries, some are even advised to keep a check on what to wear, eat, whom to meet and become friends with. Even after having cracked the entrance or competitive examination, not all women are able to claim their seats because of the above many such conditions. On the eve of independence, women enrolment in India was less than 10 percent of the total enrollment which has increased to 41.5 percent in the academic year 2010-11. As per the UGC Report, 2012, only 12 percent women students enrolled for Master’s Level program whereas a mere 0.8 percentage was enrolled in research. Gender based discrimination, sexual harassment, molestation, violence do add hindrance to the continuation of their degrees and add to the reasons of dropping the course. To decrease the gender gap in some higher educational institutions, there are provisions to provide five marks relaxation to women students. To address the question of safety inside campus in colleges/universities, it is necessary as per UGC guidelines to set up an internal mechanism body which functions like a complaint Redressal forum to take cognizance of cases relating to that of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, it is hardly being implemented in most of the central universities. The presence of women in higher educational institutions have made them play a crucial role and sharing the responsibilities in social, political, economic and cultural arenas.
The participation and representation of women students across central or state universities have been tremendous over the years. Students Federation of India is one such student’s organization which has not just engaged with women students across social economic backgrounds but also motivated them with full efforts to increasingly participate in student movements and protests both inside and outside university campuses. In the current year, it holds close to 250 women students in Students’ Union position across colleges and universities in India. It is an organization which not only believes in increasing the number of memberships over a year but constantly believes in the spirit of Study and Struggle! Our comrades, excel both in academic as well as political life where they bring their classrooms learning’s, discussions as well as theories practically on the ground to fight discrimination at societal level on the basis of caste, color, religion, gender, race, ethnicity, language etc.