A vast majority of women want to work and they do not want to sit idle at home. Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In says that men and women working in a household leads to healthier and happier families. While women working is great, we do not want to put girls in their teens in India to work for lack of schools.
What is the problem?
I wrote a blog – When will Schools Reopen. In a lot of lower-income families where parents are not able to afford to put their children in private schools, it is a bigger problem. The moms who work as Maids in families or doing construction work and more have no choice but to ask their kids to work. This way they are able to generate extra income and it helps to pay their bills. The children have no choice as they are clueless as to how to spend their time.
The Government is offering classes via Television so kids can watch and learn. It will be good to review metrics on how many people watched the programs and what is the impact of the lectures. The State has a big role to play and I am not sure if a lot of talk is happening around this. This is a big problem and we need to brainstorm solutions that will put girls in India to schools and not at work.
In the recently concluded elections in the State of Tamil Nadu, a big poll promise was to pay household women every month. I suggest that this can be directed to girls who study. While it is natural for people in middle to higher-income families to understand the power of education, lower-income families need more attention. We have a big disparity and it will only get worse. It is not good for anyone anyway.
The inequality in education is widening due to the lack of distribution and connections. Do the teachers in Government schools interact via phone/in-person with the students on an ongoing basis? How can they bridge the gap? How can the government incentivize the teachers to do more? Due credits to all the teachers out there (especially the teaching fraternity in the Government). However, we can do more. Inequalities always existed in our educational system, however, this pandemic has made it more evident and has worsened the gap. The girls in rural villages lose out more as compared to the ones in the cities.
India is the Technology Capital of the world. With so much technology and world-changing tech geeks in the country, it is not an impossible problem to solve. We need to take concrete steps in this direction and each of us have a role to play.