Girls are “expensive”
In India, parents are much more excited about the birth of a son than a daughter. There are probably parents who don’t care about the child’s gender, but the birth of a son makes the mother’s reputation rise. A son helps to secure the family and its continued existence. Above all, he takes care of his parents in old age, while girls usually leave home after marriage. If the family has no sons, parents fear for their security in old age. In many regions there is no state pension like in our country. In addition, if parents want to marry off their daughter, they must pay a so-called dowry. If several daughters live in the same family, this can lead parents into poverty.
Why are there more boys than girls in India?
The consequence of this thinking is that parents allow their children to be determined before their children are born. That is why more boys than girls are born in India. Again, this leads to the fact that there are more men than women in the end. Usually there are always a little more women than men in a country. This is not the case in India. For every 100 men there are only 92 women. Medical care for girls is also often neglected.
The more educated a girl is, the more expensive her dowry will be. This in turn means that girls shouldn’t learn that much, because then parents have to pay more money at the wedding.
Since many Indian families are very poor, child labor is still widespread in India. Although child labor under the age of 14 is not officially allowed in India, many children under the age of 14 work. They weave carpets in factories, they toil in quarries or brickworks, they work in laundries, in hotels or in factories. And many children have to work twelve to 15 hours every day. This also affects their health and these children cannot even think about school and education. Many children get sick because they have to work with toxic chemicals, carry too heavy loads, or simply not getting enough to eat.
Indian children as cheap workers
India is the country with the most child labor in the world. There are many different types of work that children do. For example, children work on pieces of jewelry under unspeakable conditions – jewelry that we then sell for a few cents. A third of all tombstones come from India and are made with child labor. The same applies to paving stones.
It is estimated that around 150,000 children work in Indian quarries and are exploited. Some of the paving stones produced there are also delivered to Germany. Both the paving stones on Oranienplatz in Berlin and on Cologne’s Heumarkt probably come from quarries in which Indian children toiled and suffered. The question of whether this has to be the case is entirely justified.
What can you do about child labor?
But what can we do here against child labor? We can see in our daily life where the products we buy come from. You can pay attention to seals and certificates and thus support companies that pay their workers adequately. If these workers have children, they can send them to school. We can also buy fair trade products.
Theory and practice
India is a country of contrasts and so there is a gap between theory and practice in the field of school and education. Indian law stipulates that all children between the ages of six and 14 should attend school and that free of charge. The law dates from 2009 and guarantees children a “basic right to schooling”. This law has changed a lot, because before that, not that many children went to school. Many millions of children in India had no schooling at all. 35 out of 100 Indians could not read or write. The Indian government wanted to do something about this. However, as in Germany, the individual Indian states are responsible for education. And they like to argue about who is doing everything right. That happens sometimes in Germany. It is similar in India, a country located in Asia according to mysteryaround.
School children in India
Lack of teachers
Often times, Indian teachers are not well trained and they make very little money. The schools are in poor condition and there are no school books. 25 out of 100 teachers do not even come to class. Sounds very irresponsible at first, but teachers are often simply completely overwhelmed with the huge classes, which can consist of 60 students.
State primary schools
Schools in rural areas are mostly simple village schools. Here there is often only one room in which the children learn together. 80 out of 100 Indian children go to such state elementary schools, which cost nothing. The main advantage of such schools for Indian families is that they offer free lunch. That is one more warm meal a day than some parents would otherwise have been able to afford for their children.
But it is hardly surprising that many parents who can somehow afford it prefer to send their children to private school. It costs money, but the children receive much better lessons. Many private schools date from the time of English colonial rule, so that the children – as in England – wear school uniforms. Many parents go into debt to enable their children to attend school like this. It is not yet clear how the school system is to be improved now and who exactly will bear the costs of expanding schools and better training teachers. So despite good intentions, a lot remains the same.
Differences between boys and girls
The differences are not so pronounced in elementary school. Both girls and boys go to primary school up to fourth grade. For every 100 children there are 50 boys and 50 girls. But after the fourth grade, the girls no longer attend school and the differences become clear. Many Indians think that it is better to support the sons and not the daughters. They would marry and leave their parents, while sons would later look after their parents when they were old. And educated daughters are dowry more expensive, which is another reason why girls are often denied a better education.