Bhopal: Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development Shashi Tharoor said here on Sunday that "education of girls" is the answer to the difficult question, about what could possibly be the single most important thing that ought to be done to improve the world.
"It, really, is that simple. There is no action proven to
do more for the human race than the education of a female child," the Union HRD Minister said, addressing a conference on women`s empowerment, organised by a private educational institution.
"Scholarly studies and research projects have established
what common sense already told us -- that if you educate a boy, you merely educate a person -- but if you educate a girl, you educate an entire family and benefit an entire community," Tharoor said, to drive home the point.
He said that a girl who has had more than six years of education is better equipped to seek and use medical advice, to immunise her children, to be aware of sanitary practices, right from boiling water, to the importance of washing hands.
He said that a World Bank project in Africa established that children of women with just five years of schooling had a 40 per cent better survival rate than the children of women who spent less than five years in school.
Similarly, a Yale University study showed that height and weight of newborn children born to women with a basic education are consistently higher than those of babies born to uneducated women.
"The World Bank, with the mathematical precision for which
it is so famous, has estimated that for every four years of education, fertility is reduced by about one birth per mother. The reason Kerala`s fertility rate is 1.7 per couple, while Bihar`s is over four, is that Kerala`s women are educated and unfortunately, half of Bihar`s are not," he said.
Tharoor also highlighted the various schemes formulated by the Centre for the welfare of girl child, especially for their education.
Asking people to invest in educating women and girls, he said, "The passion for women`s education must become the passion of every patriotic Indian".
Speaking on the occasion, actress Nagma said that there is a need to change people`s mindset. She said that although education is compulsory for all, it is more important for girls and women to get educated, as they have potential to bring qualitative change for their entire generation.