Bengaluru may be the country’s tech capital, but gender bias runs deep in educational institutions run by its civic body – the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike.
Consider this: Girls from mostly poor families are being sent to BBMP schools and colleges – where the quality of education is said to be substandard, while boys are being pampered with “good” education in private, English medium schools.
According to the “Guidebook of BBMP Educational Establishments – 2018”, the enrolment of girls is 64.15% and that of boys is 35.85% in BBMP institutions. Interestingly, the gap widens for higher classes.
For instance, the percentage of girls in high schools is 64.10 and that of boys is 35.90. The gap widens with 80.90% of girls in pre-university level as against 19.10% boys, and a staggering 90.60% girls and a mere 9.40% boys in BBMP degree colleges.
Experts attribute this to cultural and attitudinal reasons.
“It is certainly a welcome sign that more girls are coming forward to study in the city. However, one of the reasons for this huge gap could be because some families continue to believe that ‘investing’ more on boys will help them in the long run and so tend to send them to other institutions, while girls are mostly married off after a certain point,” said S G Raveendra, special commissioner, education, BBMP.
According to a senior BBMP official, girls have been outnumbering boys by over two times in the city since last year.
“The BBMP has for the first time compiled a report on the status of educational institutions this trend has continued for the second time in a row. In 2017-18, the number of girls was close to 8,500 and that of boys was nearly 4,500. This academic year, it is 10,580 girls and 5,913 boys,” Raveendra said.
Sociologist Prof G K Karanth, director, Karnataka State Labour Institute said that for some families, gender might come in the way of nurturing aspirations.
“The selection of which child has to be sent to a better institute becomes sharper as and when children grow. Another reason why there are fewer boys in educational institutions might be because they dropout. Some families may send boys to earn, resulting in child labour. There is an urgent need to de-ghetto this practice and policy intervention has to be made to find out reasons for such a trend,” he said.
Meanwhile, Niranjanaradhya V P, fellow and programme head (Right to Education), Centre for the Child and the Law, NLSIU said, “This is a new form of discrimination. Though there are schemes such as ‘Beti Bachao’, the state has failed in ensuring equality. There has to be an attitudinal change among parents and the government must ensure it makes families believe that government schools are no less compared to others.”