Mumbai: Over 70,000 people initiated a ‘Girls March to School’ on Friday in order to create awareness about the need for free and compulsory education for girls till the age of 18. The initiative organised by Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) along with Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) to mark the International Day of the Girl Child reached out to over 500 schools in more than 18 states and 250 villages.
As per data released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, around 62.1 million children in India are out of school. In the age group between 14-18 years, 32 per cent of girls are not enrolled in comparison to 28 per cent of boys. Bidhan Chandra, executive director of KSCF, said, “Free and compulsory education is a fundamental right for all children between the age group of 6-14 years.”
Chandra added, “The government should enforce compulsory education through Right to Education (RTE) Act as it will not only reduce school drop-out rates of girls in the age group 14-18 years but also limit their exposure to social evils like child trafficking, child marriage and child labour.”
The event witnessed participation of schools from the states of Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.