Despite a gradual increase in the number of girl students participating in public examinations, many female students still drop out of school every year mainly due to child marriage, sources at the education ministry said.
They said though the number of girl students at schools is increasing for various government initiatives, many can not complete schooling due to their early marriage.According to the sources, some 5,169 female students did not appear in Junior School Certificate (JSC) and Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC) exams in 2017 due to early marriage.
The education ministry has started an investigation to find out what led to early marry marriage of so many girl students across the country.
On the basis of the investigation report, the government will take necessary steps to check child marriage so that schoolgirls can continue with their study, the ministry sources said.
The secondary and higher education division of the education ministry recently sent a letter to Director General of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) citing the absence of 5,169 girl students in JSC and JDC exams held in 2017.
The letter mentioned that despite the continuation of the stipend, 5,169 girl students did not participate in the last year’s JSC and JDC exams due to child marriage.
The ministry also sought a report, seeking causes of early marriage and also wanted to know what initiative was taken by the DSHE to prevent absence of female students in the exams.A ministry official said since the introduction of JSC and JDC exams in 2010, the number of students appearing in the public exams is gradually increasing which shows a positive sign in checking dropout rate at secondary level.
But child marriage is still a matter of concern which stands in the way of continuation of study of girl students.
Mentioning that early marriage is contributing to reduction in the number of girl students taking part in exams, DSHE Director General Prof Mahbubur Rahman said child marriage still exists in villages for various causes.
Guardians to marry off their girls as early as possible as they think their burden will be released, he said
Prof Mahbub stressed the need for strengthening campaign against child marriage at all the educational institutions across the country to prevent dropout of girl students.
“Teachers, managing committee and local administration will have to play role in checking early marriage,” he added.
Contacted, Nasima Begum, Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, said girls students are against their early marriage. “They are becoming victims of early marriage in villages.”
She also said the government working to enacting strict law to curb child marriage.
“We have applied to the Law Ministry for inclusion of the part of punishment of the ‘Child Marriage Prevention Act-2017’ under mobile court.”
“We think that child marriage will be stopped if the district administration conducts mobile court against the social menace”, Nasim Begum added.
The JSC and JDC exams were held between November 1 and 18 last year. A total of 24, 68,820 students from 28,621 educational institutions appeared in the exams. Of them, 11, 44,778 are male and 13, 24,042 female.