New project aims to bring education to 10 million girls in rural India
A new outreach programme is launching in India to provide secondary education to girls who have dropped out of school.
The digitally-led Project Pragati aims to provide 10th grade qualifications to 10 million girls over a period of 10 years. It has been developed by Educate Girls, a non-profit that focuses on facilitating girls’ education in India’s rural communities. Working in partnership with the government, Educate Girls operates in over 20,000 villages in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Locally-based volunteers will help to identify adolescent girls and young women who have permanently dropped out of school. They will then be enrolled into secondary schools, and will receive support for exams in “learning camps” that the programme will set up in the villages where the girls live.
The gaps in education for girls
Nearly 40% of adolescent girls aged 15-18 do not have access to any kind of schooling in India. In rural areas, access to secondary education can be particularly challenging due to a lack of adequate infrastructure, facilities, and resources.
One of the main issues is the distance between homes and schools. Many are forced to travel long distances on foot to reach school, which can be dangerous, especially in areas where girls’ safety is a concern.
Another major obstacle is the lack of qualified female teachers in many rural areas. Many girls are taught by male teachers who may not understand their unique needs. Period stigma and period poverty also cause girls to stop attending school, with an estimated 23% dropping out of school permanently when they start menstruating.
Education leads to financial independence
According to research, a 10th certificate in India has a lifetime wealth effect of $60,000. By helping girls to complete 10th grade examinations, Educate Girls hopes to support more young women into entry-level jobs, traditional loans, further education, and vocational training to help them become financially independent.
“For us, 2022 was about progress, about pushing our ambitious goal to provide education to every girl in India,” said Safeena Husain, Founder and Board Member of Educate Girls. “With Project Pragati, it is our aim to ensure young women who have no hopes of being in school get a second chance at education and build a better life for themselves.”