Munni on the study ground
By S Sanjay
Munni, a 10-year-old girl from Jhakela village in tribal dominated Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, now studies in a school, something which she could only dream of a couple of years ago. This was possible because of the patience and perseverance of one man, Mr. Walsing, President of the Parent's Teacher Association (PTA) who gradually convinced her parents to send Munni to school.
For every Munni there are many more girls who find it difficult to get into school and instead are engaged in domestic chores or sibling care or even grazing cattle. However with the help of PTAs the goal of getting all girls into schools is entirely possible. Convincing parents to send their children to school, especially girls, is a daunting task in this backward tribal area of Madhya Pradesh. This is reflected in the low literacy levels (25%) for females in the district.
Girls of Jhabua District Madhya Pradesh ready to study
Ms. Soni also appreciated the model schools set up in the district with UNICEF support by providing essential teaching learning materials such as mathematics kits, supplementary reading material, writing tables etc for schools. UNICEF also supports the training of the PTAs as well as teachers on improving classroom practices.
Although many girls like Munni are now in school the challenge ahead is to get all out- of-school girls into the school and to make sure they remain there till the completion of elementary school.