Ranchi : Alarmed at the high rate of school dropouts by girls due to child marriages, the Jharkhand government plans to give stipends to schoolchildren only if the parents sign an undertaking that they will not marry their daughters off below 18.
According to a survey conducted by the human resources department (HRD), 80 percent of girls in the state are married before they pass the secondary school examination while 70 percent quit school midway.
“By introducing stipend and asking the parents to sign an undertaking we will be able to curb the dropout rates and child marriages in the state,” state HRD minister Bandhu Tirkey said here Thursday.
According to the scheme to be introduced from the next academic year, parents have to sign the undertaking not to marry off their daughters to be eligible for the stipends announced by the state government.
The stipend for schoolgirls will be Rs.150 per month. The state government will open a bank account in the name of the student where the money will be deposited.
Schoolboys will also be given a stipend of Rs.100 a month in an effort to reduce the dropout rate.
The dropout rate for boys in Jharkhand is 62.85 percent and for girls is 63.55 percent in the 6-11 age group while it is 78.26 percent for boys and 85.14 percent for girls above 14.
The literacy rate in Jharkhand is 54 percent, compared to the national average of 65 percent.