Q14. You have been recently posted as district development officer of a district. Shortly thereafter, you found that there is considerable tension in the rural areas of your district on the issue of sending girls to schools.
The elders of the village feel that many problems have come up because girls are being educated and they are stepping out of the safe environment of the household. They are of the view that girls should be quickly married off with minimum education. The girls are also competing for jobs after education, which have traditionally remained in boys’ exclusive domain, adding to unemployment amongst male population.
The younger generation feels that in the present era, girls should have equal opportunities for education and employment, and other means of livelihood. The entire locality is divided between sexes in both generations. You come to know that in the panchayat or in other local bodies or even in busy crossroads, the issue is being acrimoniously debated.
One day you are informed that an unpleasant incident has taken place. Some girls were molested, when they were en route to school. The incident led to clashes between several groups and a law and order problem has arisen. The elders after a heated discussion have taken a joint decision not to allow girls to go to school and to socially boycott all such families, which do not follow their diktat.
(a) What steps would you take to ensure girls’ safety without disrupting their education?
(b) How would you manage and mould the patriarchal attitude of the village elders to ensure harmony in the inter-generational relations? (250 words) (25 marks)
(a) It is the duty of the district administration to ensure the safety and security of all citizens, particularly of the vulnerable section like young girls. Hence, the people responsible for the molestation of the girls should be identified, arrested and booked under the relevant provisions of the law. The government should also consider increasing police patrolling in the area to give the residents confidence and create fear in the mind of anti-social elements. The girls may also be advised to move in groups. Their family members may be requested to escort them for some time till the situation becomes normal.
(b) The education of girls was uncommon in the past generation. Hence, the elder generation often feels that the education of the girl child is not necessary and it is leading to new problems. The younger generation is more aware of the benefits of educating girls, hence they want girls to get education at par with boys. However, the elders are not the enemies of the girls as they have their best interest in their mind. The elders must be told about the benefits of educating girls and the opportunities that are available to girls in modern times. We can also convince them that girls are not snatching the jobs of boys, but actually are becoming their partners by earning addition income for the family. They may also be convinced that if girls are educated, the problem of dowry would be reduced. Once the elders of the village are convinced of the benefits of educating girls, they may themselves support and encourage their education. (265 words)
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