Where girls go to schools for oil, not education

Baitadi, November 13:

Guardians here have been found to have been sending their girl children to schools only for the cooking oil they get under the Nutrition and Girl Promotion programme.

In most of the rural areas, parents send a girl to school out of the greed for the two litres of oil she brings home from the programme, not because they want their girl to be educated. People still consider girls as things to be married off. “Once she passes Grade I, it does not matter how many times she fails till Grade V, as long as she keeps bringing home two litres of oil every month,” said Dambar Joshi, a father of three daughters.

Manmati Saud has failed three times in Grade II at Kedar Primary School in the eastern part of the district. But her mother, Dharma Saud, has nothing to worry about her education. She says, “So what if she failed? We are getting two litres of oil every month.”

Mother of another girl studying at the same school said, “If my daughter fails this year, we could get the oil for one more year. If she passes, she will go to a distant school and there will be no one to do the household chores too. I will ask the teachers to fail my daughter this year.”

Under the programme, each girl student in the primary level is entitled to two litres of oil. The programme was launched some seven years ago to encourage parents to send their daughters to schools.