IMPACT OF COVID ON GIRL EDUCATION
“When you educate a man, you educate an individual but when you educate a woman, you
educate an entire family.” This declaration is true as an educated woman has the self
confidence, skills as well as intelligence to understand the need to be a better daughter, sister, wife and mother and make a progressive family. Education is the only tool with which a girl or a woman can empower herself and eventually her family. 1
Every girl deserves Education. Female education not only benefits the country and the society but also empowers the girl child, makes her independent enough to stand on her own feet. An educated girl will be more aware of her rights and the rights of others. Thus, she can bring in a wave of change around her. It is often told that girls are meant to work at house and shouldn’t pay much heed towards education. This limits the capabilities of young girls and when such things are put into their minds, it stays with them until someone proves it wrong.
STORY OF MAMTA
Mamta is a 7 year old girl that lives in Haldwani, Uttarakhand. She belongs to a financially
unstable family. Her father works at a dhaba, mother works as a househelp and apart from
them, she has a younger brother. Before covid she was studying in a school named Jim
Corbett school in 5th standard. During the pandemic her father lost his job and he could not
afford to pay the fee of his daughter and chose to educate his son only as he thinks educating
girl is not so important. As per him a girl’s life is limited to cooking, cleaning, marrying
procreating and taking care of her children. Mamta’s mother works at Mitali’s house, shared
her problem with her and asked for some help as she intends to send her daughter to school so that she becomes independent.
IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION IN WOMEN LIFE:
PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY– When girls are educated they become
independent this will give her an equal status in life and equal and fair opportunities
are provided to them.
PREVENT CHILD MARRIAGE AND EARLY PREGNANCY – About 15 million
girls are married before they are 18 educating girls is the most powerful tool to
enable girls to avoid child marriage and it also develops their skills , knowledge and
confidence to make informed decisions .
HEALTH KNOWLEDGE - Educated women has prevented many child death and
they are more informed about nutrition and live a healthy lifestyle
TO MEET RISING COST OF LIVING - Working women can contribute in everyday
expenses of household and can also help their families during financial crises in
STOP FEELING HELPLESS – women should be educated so that they never feel
helpless in life and not become financially dependent on their partners and not tolerate
domestic violence and abuse just because she is not independent. 2
RIGHT TO EDUCATION: A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT
ARTICLE 21-A (Right to Education)
The Right to Education as mentioned under Article 21-A, provides that, “The State shall
provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years in such
manner as the state may, by law, determine.”
This section clarifies that ‘Compulsory Education’ puts an obligation upon the appropriate
government to provide free elementary education and ensure compulsory admission,
attendance and completion of elementary education to every child between 6 to 14 age group.
The word ‘Free’ means that no such child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or
expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education.
IMPACT OF COVID
In the words of Aheli Chowdhury 3 , “The economic impacts of the pandemic have had
disastrous effects on girls’ education in India. The income of people has consistently gone
down during the pandemic, and when the family income goes down, girls are the first ones to be pulled out of school.” 4
Due to the unstable financial condition during COVID-19 crisis many families opted to pull
out their daughters from school because they were unable to afford it. Lack of digital access
was the biggest obstacle, affecting the education of girls during quarantine.
ACTION TAKEN BY SUPREME COURT
The Supreme Court of India observed that, “Only a small section of children enrolled in
expensive private schools, with access to regular internet, gadgets and other support systems,
continued their schooling. Whereas, majority children with lack of these resources couldn’t.
This situation affected the fundamental right of children because of their economic class.
The Supreme Court directed that, “The government should amend the RTE Act in its next
parliamentary session to include online learning and obligate the State to provide students
with online learning resources in order to fulfil its mandate of “free and compulsory
education”. This will be in line with the 2019 ruling of the Kerala High Court in its Faheema
Shirin R. K. vs State Of Kerala 5 judgment recognising the right to have access to the internet as a part of the right to education.”
When Mitali came across this issue, she was surprised that even after so much progress, we
as a society have failed to detach away these stereotypes from thinking/ mindset. Mitali had a word with her father and explained him the importance of education.
Mitali & Saubhagya
She also explained him that a child’s potential cannot be judged merely on the basis of their
gender. She also in
formed him about different governmental schemes like Beti Bachao Beti
Padhao, that have been specially made keeping in mind the objective of promoting the female gender.
In the end I would like to conclude by saying that a change of perspective is all that is
needed. Our gender doesn’t define us, nor does it limit us. Every child is much more than just a girl or a boy. Every child radiates a different spark, and it is this spark which should be
focused upon and not the gender.
1 https://www.iwcwtministry.org/girl-education-programmes/ (accessed 30 th November 2021)
2 https://www.personalfn.com/fns/women-financially-independent ( accessed 29th November 2021)
3 Malala Fund Education Champion and director of Joint Operation for Social Help (JOSH)
4 https://assembly.malala.org/stories/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-girls-education-in-india (accessed 28th
5 WP(C).No.19716 OF 2019(L)
6 https://www.theleaflet.in/education-a-casualty-in-the-pandemic-violating-rights-of-students/ (accessed 28 th
About The Author
Mitali & Saubhagya
The Stambh Organisation, India