What kind of school education and health development interventions do Indian adolescent girls require?

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By Dr. Lalit Kishore

The education and development of adolescent children in India has been most neglected and most interventions had been beamed at either at the primary or higher education level. Adolescent period has been the most important transitional period from childhood to adulthood but least attended to and more so for the girls in our country.
According to UNFPA-India – an agency of the United Nations that works with the government and partners to advocate for adolescents and youth’s rights and investments, including education, livelihood skills and health, including sexual and reproductive health, India has its largest ever adolescent and youth population and a  demographic window of opportunity, a ‘youth bulge’ that will last till 2025.
India’s youth population faces several development challenges, including access to education, gainful employment, gender inequality, child marriage, youth-friendly health services and adolescent pregnancy. Yet, with investments in their participation and leadership, young people can transform the social and economic fortunes of the country, informs the agency that  works with the government and partners to advocate for adolescents and youth’s rights and investments, including education, livelihood skills and health, including sexual and reproductive health.

“The practice of gender-biased sex-selection in India has manifested in highly skewed sex ratios over past few decades. The preference for a son over a daughter is rooted in socio-economic and cultural factors: sons are seen to provide economic security in old age, perform the religious last rites and carry on a family name, whereas a daughter is considered a burden due to the practice of dowry. Further, the practice of gender-biased sex selection has increased with a decline in fertility and preference for at least one son, and the misuse of modern technology,” writes UNFPA-India on its website.

Since, currently, India has its largest ever adolescent and youth population, as mentioned in various reports and on different forums, but young people often face barriers in trying to get the information, education, skills or care they need; the right kind of adolescent education, health issues arising out of biological changes in them, and learning life and employable skills need to be the key focus areas for the adolescent and the youth.

I feel research based curriculum adjustments need to be done so as to have at least one third of language, life sciences and physical education content geared around life skills education with focus on employable communication skills, reproductive health issues and human rights. A mix of rights and life-skilled based education integrated with various upper-primary and high school subject areas can be answer. Some projects and experiments which have successfully done with adolescents need to be mainstreamed and contextualized to vulnerable and marginalized population and carried out.

Views are personal.
Source: Merinews

 

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