School education in India has a long history. The concept of provision of education to all has its roots from the beginning of Indian civilization and has continued in a similar manner till date. The post independence period took a more comprehensive and wholistic view of the entire educational system in relation to national development. The National Policy on Education, 1986 (MHRD,1986) highlighted the need for providing meaningful and quality education to the hard-to-reach, marginalized and disadvantaged group of children, with a specific focus on providing education for girls and at the same time reducing their drop out rate. The most recent national programme Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (MHRD, 2001), has made an attempt on similar lines emphasizing universal access with retention and set time-bound targets.
Socialization of the girl child in India seems to have followed a set pattern ,where she is faced with limited access to resources, opportunities and is excluded from making decisions for herself in all aspects of life. She is subjected to commands and practices that patronizes exclusion of various natures at variety of levels, the main among them being ‘education ‘. Even if provided with education , she is susceptible to low school quality ,and the inadequacies that follow as a result of it . Further ,the high opportunity cost of schooling a girl child adds to the malaise that finally culminates to her dropping out of school. Approximately 69.5% ( 2005)of the girls enrolled into schools drop out by the end of Std. VIII.
Dropout does not mean mere rejection of school by children. It leads to wastage of funds invested in school buildings, teachers’ salaries, equipment, textbooks and so on. Deficiencies in the organization of the education system , more so the ‘curriculum and related aspects’ ,is one of the main reasons for drop out among girls. Curriculum is a core component in the educational process and thus its efficient organization and management cannot be undermined .Certain key factors directly and indirectly related, influence curriculum and its implementation, leading to drop out of girls from schools, especially in rural areas. .
Curriculum - Directly related factors leading to drop out among girls :
1. Objectives stated, do not emphasize or promote women empowerment.
2. Curriculum lacks relevance, and fails to take cognizance of the socio – economic context.
3. Curriculum is culturally delinked.
4. Curriculum lacks flexibility that further gets hampered because of:
a) Teacher’s lack of motivation and unwillingness to learn.
b) Teacher’s lack of competence leading to poor commitment towards the task assigned.
c) Lack of regular in-service training programmes for teachers
d) Enforcement of syllabus completion by competent authority.
e) Ineffective leadership displayed by the Head of the institution.
5. Curriculum provides minimal scope for handling gender issues.
6. Curriculum provides little scope for conducting teaching learning experiences in rural settings.
7. Alternate ways of handling the curriculum are not made available by way of teacher guides or
through expert guidance.
Curriculum: Indirectly related factors leading to drop out among girls are:
1. Poor infrastructure – influences the type and quality of services, deemed culturally
appropriate for girls.
2. Lack of Physical facilities feature as a hindrance, forcing girls to stay away from schools.
3. Parent’s low level of education / illiterate status, discourages girls from pursuing
education – as they fail to get the needed support from their parents.
4. Absence or dearth of women teachers in schools, act as a deterrent, affecting girls’ enrolment
and their participation in school activities.
5. Minimal importance given to education and curriculum therein, because of its inability to give
immediate returns, pressurizes girls to drop out of schools.
Education through a well balanced curriculum is a means of socialization that exerts significant influence on the lives of students. Equally important is the need to transform classrooms into effective spaces where one can help girls question and break out of stereotypes that are reinforced through socialization processes