An equal contribution from both men and women of the society is the need of the hour when an economy aspires to flourish. Nurtured with equal efforts from every individual, the prosperity of the nation outshines the world. Even in the present-day economics, statistics reveal that there are several nations where outreaching girl education is still a struggle. The Non-Aligned Movement has always advocated for the empowerment of women.
The issues concerning gender equality have always enshrined in the guiding principles laid by the forum. Empowerment of women has been a major concern in NAM’s socio-economic agenda. Pitching for both, the 120-member organisation has always approached the member states to address the issues concerning, with effective and efficient efforts. There are several chronic issues, including patriarchy, that violate the very freedom of the women clan. Women’s education, their safety and security has always been an integral part of several policies and programmes in India. With keen efforts towards their growth and development, the Government of India has expressed with a number of initiatives, its commitment towards the concern. With an inclusion of schemes sponsored by the Central government, there are several schemes offered by the state governments as well to be availed by the girl child.
The major policies, schemes and programmes launched by the Government of India for promoting girl child education in the country are:
• The pan-India ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme that highlights the idea to save the girl child from social ills like gender biased abortions and ensure their survival and protection in infancy. Also, the education-based initiative paves way for education and active participation of the girl child.
• Another scheme designed to provide financial support to young girls and their mothers who are below poverty line, is the ‘Balika Samriddhi Yojana’ that helps the girl child with the scholarship to improve their status in the society and improve their enrolment in schools. The scheme involves a monetary award to each girl child proceeding to the next class.
• Administered by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) through the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the CBSE ‘Udaan’ scheme eyes to increase the enrolment of girls in engineering and technical colleges across India. The special focus is laid upon the girl students belonging to economically backward sections of the society.
• ‘National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education’ provides Rs. 3,000 in the name of eligible unmarried girls below 16 years of age as part of its aim to establish a sound environment for the girl students to reduce the rate of drop outs and higher the rate of enrolment.
• With special targeted interventions for girls and to ensure their active and greater participation in elementary education, the government launched ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ as part of its efforts to ensure Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE).
Apart from these, E-Pathshala, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas Scheme, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, Dhanalakshmi scheme and many others strongly advocate government’s commitments and determination towards providing education to every girl child so that no girl misses out the opportunity of being educated. It is rightly said that when you educate a man, you educate an individual but when you educate a woman, you educate an entire family and eventually the entire nation.
The strong message of the government of India and its efforts towards promoting girls’ education in the country have also gained much respect at the hands of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the Director General Audrey Azoulay hailed the Indian government for its efforts towards the concern and said that the country has influenced the vision and objectives of the world body through the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. She expressed her happiness in noting India’s efforts to make quality education available to every section of the society. The Gross Enrolment Ratio of girls in the country, for the first time, surpassed that of boys across various levels, informed the Minister of Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’. With measures in the same direction, India and the world body signed the Operational Agreement in the field of education, extending the presence of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP). Making this concern as an area of focused improvement, NAM has helped the member states to safeguard the rights of the women and empower them to make every life count. India’s commitment to ensuring inclusion in education and also the use of technology in the concerned field is a remarkable and crucial move towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.