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CRY launches campaign to ensure every girl completes schooling up to class 12th

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Senior Correspondent

BHOPAL: To address the pressing need to ensure that every girl completes her schooling till class 12th, CRY - Child Rights and You, a child rights organization, launched 'Poori Padhai Desh Ki Bhalai' (complete education; well-being of country) campaign on June 24, 2024.

With millions of girls across India still out of school, and many unable to access secondary and higher secondary education, this seven-week nationwide initiative seeks to revolutionize public awareness and societal attitudes toward girls' education, a CRY release said.

By engaging stakeholders and implementing targeted interventions, CRY aims to dismantle barriers to education and pave the way for a brighter future for girls.

The campaign is crucial on the backdrop that CRY analysis of the Unified District Information System on Education Plus (UDISE+) 2021-22 database suggests that one of every three girls (35%) of the corresponding age group is out of school at the secondary level. Also, one of every eight girls (12.25%) of the corresponding age group drops out and hence does not complete secondary education (calculations based on Adjusted Net Enrolment Rate – ANER). 

CRY’s extensive presence in the field suggests in Madhya Pradesh socio-economic challenges, cultural norms, gender discrimination, early marriages, inadequate school facilities, long travel distances, and safety concerns all hinder girls' educational journeys, posing significant barriers to completing higher secondary education. These barriers lead to higher dropout rates and make girls more vulnerable to child labour, underage marriage, teenage pregnancy, abuse, exploitation, and even child trafficking.

To tackle these issues head-on, CRY has rolled out the 'Poori Padhai Desh Ki Bhalai' campaign, which began on June 24 and will run until August 15, India’s Independence Day. This campaign seeks to engage all stakeholders to address gender disparities in education.

CRY and its partner organizations will strive to increase enrolment and retention of girls in primary, upper-primary, secondary, and higher secondary education in our operational areas. CRY aim to create widespread awareness by engaging with children and their families, educators, community members, influencers, state authorities, students at various educational levels, media houses, corporate sector, and the public at large.

In Madhya Pradesh the campaign kick started in 12 districts along with CRY’s intervention projects across 20 states in India. Under this seven-week nationwide campaign CRY and its partner organisations will organise mass awareness rallies, signature campaign and various outreach programs.

Puja Marwaha, CEO of CRY, highlighted the critical importance of the campaign: “Ensuring higher secondary education for girls is a non-negotiable for their empowerment and the nation’s development. Targeted interventions with specific goals and action points are needed to support girls beyond elementary education.

This includes adequate public provisioning for girls’ education, financial incentives, improved infrastructure, community engagement, and robust enforcement of laws against child marriage. But none of these are possible without generating a mass awareness and a social resonance around girls’ education.”

Soha Moitra, Regional Director at CRY, emphasized the urgent need for this initiative, stating, “The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act of 2009 was a landmark step towards universal education for Indian children up to the age of 14. As we mark the 15th anniversary of this act this April, we recognize that many girls still lack access to secondary and higher secondary education.

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 paved the way to extend universal, free, and quality education up to age 18, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Goal-4) for equitable education by 2030. However, the latest UDISE+ 2021-22 data reveals that only three out of every five girls in India reach the higher secondary level. This means that just 58.2% of girls are currently enrolled in higher secondary education”.

[Representational photo, Source: CRY, India]