How old would a girl of eighth class be? At the most she`d be 14 or 15 years old. She is just a girl, what the United Nations considers to be a child. She is even considered to be a child according to the prevailing law of the country. Twenty-seven such girl children could not take the Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) and Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC) exams that started this Friday because they had been married off instead.
This unfortunate news came from Nikoli upazila of Kishoreganj. If in one sub-district alone over two dozen girls end their education in the eighth class, it is sad to think of these numbers nationwide. If the education ministry or the ministry for women and children`s affairs or any other government or non-government organisation looked into the matter, a clear picture of the situation would emerge. The extent of girls losing out on education due to child marriage would be revealed.
It is significant that these girls were married of on just before the second important public exam. They had registered for the JSC and JDC exams. Then they were married off before the beginning of the exams. One girl had to get married on the first day of the exam.
This Nikoli example points out that child marriage is one of the most important reasons behind girl`s dropping out of school. It is shocking how the government even considered lowering the minimum age of marriage for girls. The matter was quelled by vehement protest, but the matter doesn`t end there. Alongside legal measures to prevent child marriage, there should also be a move to generate public opinion against this. Or else it will be near impossible to extract ourselves from this social curse.