Govt needs investment in skill developing education
LATEST statistics show female secondary students outnumber their male counterparts in 63 of the 64 districts. At this level, the female-male ratio is 54:46. According to UN and BANBEIS reports, the girl participation rate was 43 per cent in 1999 and 51.61 per cent in 2009. A key reason behind this change is providing stipends aiming to bring more girls to schools and prevent their dropouts. Thirty per cent girls and 20 per cent boys, who are among the poorest, from among all the enrolled students get stipend every month. But female enrolment in Secondary School does not reflect in job participation of women that at the end overemphasizing on girls enrolment marginalized the participation of boys who actively participate in the job market.
Last year, there were 10,475,100 students at the Secondary level. Of them, 5,655,381 (54 percent) were girls. At present, students of class VI and VII get Tk 100, those of class VIII get Tk 120, and those of IX and X get Tk 150 a month under the SESP project. Under the SESIP project, the amount is a little higher. The recipients are not required to pay their monthly tuition fees either.
Interestingly, in districts like Pirojpur, Lakshmipur, Cumilla, Noakhali and Habiganj, the number of girls enrolled in secondary schools is higher than in mega cities like Dhaka and Chattogram where students do not get the stipends. Brahmanbaria and Chandpur have the highest number of girls (59 percent) studying at the Secondary level. Besides, people even in rural areas are now more aware of sending their girl children to schools. There was a time when parents preferred to marry off their girls instead of sending them to schools. There are now more jobs for women due to economic development. Around 18 lakh students, both boys and girls, from 360 upazilas are getting the benefit.
The government is now considering introducing the benefit for girls in urban areas. We don't object about the programme but there is a doubt that it will only raise some certificate-based educated men and women in the long run. The government needs more investment in education basically on skill development to champ economic challenges.