Implementing Girl Education Programmes
The on-going girl education campaign,‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao (educate girls, save girls) in State 2 has not been able to make much difference. Under this campaign, a firm step has been taken as the state is to insure Rs. 100,000 after the birth of a girl child. This insurance is done at the ward of permanent residence of the citizen at the time of birth registration from the first of Magh 2075 BS.
One of the primary elements of success for any campaign is planning and effective implementation of the plan. There is no appropriate preparation for the scheme, such as how many programmes are to be conducted in a month, or a year; what will be the designated destination ;in which ward, village or municipality the programme will be conducted with respect to making people aware. Things are ambiguous and confusing. Consequently, the slogan is limited to slogan only because the plans are not envisioned and formulated.
Furthermore, the other element for good outcome of any initiative is investment or budget. However, no budget is allocated for any programmes related to ‘Educate Girls, Save Girls’. In this regard, no much effort has been made to make it successful. However, at some places the newly elected ward chairpersons have distributed bicycles to some needy girls to continue their education, and at some schools fellowships were granted to girls to motivate them. It was also people not to take females as burden on the parents and the society.
In a TV programme, State 2 Chief Minister said that his attempt towards empowering girls continues and he will be trying his best to solve the problems regarding gender biases. And now it has been reported that actress Rekha Thapa will be supporting him in the ambition to solve the problem of gender based discrimination through the Beti Padhao Beti Bachao campaign.
While looking at the steps taken forward in this direction, it is clearly visible that in the social media, certain awareness posts are being created and shared. Moreover, posters and pamphlets are designed and pasted on the walls in the urban areas and countryside. There is an illusion that many major efforts are made to eradicate the problems concerning female education and empowerment. When I asked some people to express their views regarding this issue, most of the participants proclaimed that they had seen problems even with the designing of slogans. They said the campaign seemed dreadful in an area where some people attempt to murder their own daughters.
I believe that if the slogans had been designed in rather different way, it would have brought better result. The slogans should be designed in softer words so that they would not hurt the sentiments of the Madhesi people. For instance, the slogan should be like Educate Girls-Eradicate Dowry Custom; Educate girls-End Gender Inequality; Educate Girls-Set An Example, and the like.
For a balanced ratio of both genders, it seems the glory of good parenting and motherhood should be spread because mothers of daughters are not given regards as the mothers of sons. And in some sense, they themselves are barriers to proper development of their daughters. Therefore, most of the women wish to have son and they have not been able to love their daughters.
Simultaneously, the most devastating truth of Tarai region is that women’s lives are not considered to be inclusive if they do not give heir to the family. Thus, polygamy is practiced by males in the region.
Hence, it is illustrious that education and educated people can bring changes in the society and lead the society of equality and quality. It is noteworthy to note their understanding and idea; like going to heaven through rituals performed only by sons after death; in old age son will be there to nurture and nourish and sons as the helping hand and support to protect the family from all kind of predicaments and threats.
On the other hand, the major problems of plains in general are dowry, early marriage, no tertiary education and no job opportunity for girls. The state government should try its best to solve the problem of female discrimination which has been continuing for ages. And this can be done by giving rights and independence to girls so they succeed to become economically independent.
Originally, the ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao’ campaign started in our neighboring nation India. It was launched in 2006 AD in Bihar State. In this mission, the state government brought some programmes and launched them efficiently to control selective abortion of girl and dowry custom by insuring certain amount of money for studies and marriage of girl children.
Moreover, school going girls there were provided free education, 4 kg of wheat grain as ration, and fellowships to encourage people to control gender based violence besides spreading slogans and posters in the towns and villages. Chairman of Indian ruling Party Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciated the concept and adopted it in 2014. Similarly, in the context of State 2 in Nepal, the acceptance regarding soothing and smoothing the girls child is emulation from India after Prime Minister’s visit to Janakpur in last Baishakh. During the visit of Modi, State 2 Chief Minister Lalbabu Raut held discussions on bringing changes in the state where gender inequality, gender based violence and other discriminations are remarkably higher than in other states of Nepal.
Considering the given scenarios, the government should take quick actions through planning, budget allocation, programme formulation and giving more priority to education and employment of girls. We should do more than imitating the Indian programmes and should do concrete works as per the demands of the people. The programmes should not be limited in slogans alone.
(Mishra holds Master’s Degree in English Literature and writes on women’s issues)