Recently, the Annual Status for Education Report (ASER) 2023 revealed that a higher number of girls aspire to pursue higher education after completing class 12 vis-a-vis their male counterparts.
The increase in the legal age for marriage is considered an important factor behind this trend. Girls, anticipating marriage at a later age, view secondary and college-level education as socially acceptable pathways.
Experts shared diverse insights into the dynamics shaping these aspirations with The Free Press Journal (FPJ).
Anjali Saraogi, the CEO of Career Saarthi, Mumbai, highlighted the positive trend.
“In the strata I work in, I do not see any discrimination at all. Both girls and boys pursue their careers well, without feeling the impending pressure of marriage”, Saraogi said.
Arijit Banerjee, a career counsellor from Kolkata, emphasised the role of the legal age of marriage.
“Age for marriage definitely plays an important role. Even today, dowry in a different format as a gift from the paternal home of the bride plays another role”, Banerjee told the FPJ.
What is might be the reason?
The report also points to gender differences in decision-making autonomy, revealing that boys generally possess more agency in shaping their educational path compared to girls.
“I have seen a lot of cases where students suffer from mental health issues that divert their focus from studies and career in both genders. There are also family issues that students usually suffer from that can be one of the reasons", Saraogi added.
The career counsellors weighed in on the challenges within the education system, particularly for girls.
Saraogi expressed excitement about the National Education Policy (NEP) but noted its incomplete rollout.
She stated, “Our present system has been very outdated, rote learning-based, and not skill-based. NEP promises to bring in factors where students are honed in terms of skills rather than just theoretical education.”
Banerjee echoed this sentiment, saying, “The education system till date, before the implementation of NEP 2020, is completely academic-based. With proper implementation of NEP 2020, the education system is expected to be more effective and interdisciplinary.”