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Although the literacy rate in Rajasthan is gradually rising, over half
of girls here still miss out on even a basic education. Persistent
gender discrimination in our society means that girls are the last to be
enrolled in schools and the first to be withdrawn when times get tough.
The situation is worst in rural areas, where less than 40% of women are
The negative impact that this low level of literacy has on the lives of
Rajasthani women should not be underestimated. Numerous studies show
that an illiterate woman has a shorter life expectancy, poor nutritional
status, low earning potential, little control over her fertility, a lack
of ability to protect herself against violence and little autonomy
within the household. What's more, her lack of education also affects
the health and well being of her children. A recent survey in India
found that as the educational levels of mothers decreased, the
likelihood of their children dying rose at a worrying rate.
To put pressure on the government to ensure all children aged 6 to 14
years receive the quality elementary education that is their right.
To implement a model of child-centred, gender-sensitive teaching in
schools, thereby setting an example for government schools to replicate.
To generate a positive attitude towards girls' education among the
To encourage local communities to participate in the way schools
function so that they foster a sense of ownership and responsibility.
1. Programme for Universal Elementary Education of Girls:
Workshops with local communities to promote the value of girls'
education as having the potential to change poverty-stricken lives.
Monitoring of girls' attendance in schools and regular dialogue
encouraged between teachers and the community (especially with the
parents of school drop-outs).
Life skills workshops for grown-up and non-school-going girls, covering
topics such as reproductive health, gender equality, legal rights and
access to public services.
Facilitating local education committees made up of representatives from
the villages. The committees are responsible for decisions about how
their local school is run. The presence of women representatives ensures
that promoting girl's education remains a top priority.
2. Programme to improve the quality of education in schools:
Promoting creative, child-friendly and gender-sensitive teaching
Improving facilities in schools such as safe drinking water and toilets
(the absence of the latter being a major reason why girls don't attend
Training teachers to adapt the curriculum so that it deals with local
problems regarding health and gender issues.
Promoting a lively environment in schools where children can express
their own opinions, learn at their own pace, and be free from the fear
of being punished.
Encouraging a positive attitude among teachers towards children from
3. Shiksha Mitra Schools
43 schools have been set up to provide primary education and basic
health check-ups to marginalized children in areas with low school
attendance. Approximately 1,300 pupils are studying in these schools.
Among them are the children of the brick kiln workers in Bharatpur, who
are a particularly deprived, poverty stricken social group.
4. Alternative learning centres for girls who have dropped out or have
never attended school
These centres offer girls a basic education, life skills training, and
the possibility of reaching an academic level where they can enter into
mainstream schools. Learning materials are specially geared to the local
context to help girls handle the challenges they face in their lives.
Topics such as reproductive health, laws against domestic violence and
gender equality are covered.
5. 'Prabhat' Initiative
Prabhat Initiative is implemented with the motive of ensuring universal
quality education to out-of-school girls in the age- group of 9-13 years
in 20 villages of Dag Panchayat Samiti of Jhalawar district and
facilitating their mainstreaming in the government schools.
A ‘Prabhatshala’ (an alternate education center) was opened in each of
the 20 habitations and a local educated energetic female was selected as
teacher and provided training in joyful methods of learning and
The teacher imparts life skill education to girls as well. She tells
them about the importance and means of maintaining their health and
hygiene. She makes them aware of their rights and facilitates them in
raising voice against social malpractices like dowry, child marriage,
child labour, child trafficking, domestic violence and gender
discrimination. She makes them aware of opportunities available to them
for development like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. A
separate meeting with adolescent girls is also organized to educate them
about the changes that take place in body during the age, menstruation,
ill effects of early pregnancy, contraception and family planning,
anaemia and nutrition.
514 girls are enrolled in Prabhatshalas at present 77 % of whom belong
to Other Backward Classes (mostly Sondhiya Rajput, Gurjar and Luhar
communities) and 21 % belong to Scheduled Castes (Meghwal and Mehtar