“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world” – these inspiring words from the world’s youngest Nobel Laureate and education activist, Malala Yousafzai, succinctly convey how important it is to educate a person. Moreover, it’s fascinating, as with how little it can be done. Yet, it is alarming that girls, even in advanced economies like Australia, lag behind boys in educational outcomes. So, there is a dire need to provide girls scholarships to improve their academic performance.
Girls from disadvantaged families especially face troubles even when equal opportunity education policies are in place. There exists a high cost of tuition, with families torn between spending for education or the health of family members. In such a scenario, extra activities, uniforms, books, technology access, and school transportation are nearly always unaffordable. That being said, scholarships can bridge this gap to allow bright young women with the potential to excel in studies while honing essential life skills along the way.
What Are the Cascading Benefits of Educating a Girl?
The most significant benefit of a scholarship is that a child gets to attend school. Education equips the girl to acquire higher-paying jobs and thus achieve upward mobility in society. Moreover, an educated woman is an asset not only to herself but to her entire family. It is proven that educated mothers raise healthier children, set aside finances for their education, and participate conscientiously in local civil administration.
Mere presence in the school, however, still does not amount to providing effective education. It takes a lot to undo the years of systemic disadvantages that a child would have faced. Hence, there is a need for in-kind assistance to bring such students at par with the rest of the class.
How Does Non-Cash Assistance Help Scholars?
A gamut of non-cash aids, such as the provision of internet, laptops, store credit for textbooks, and private tutoring, can help scholars overcome historical setbacks and thus compete with their peers as equals.
A recent study found that girls who were provided with high-speed internet in high school had unambiguously better exam scores and, thus, were able to apply to a better set of colleges. So, there exists a high degree of correlation between uptake of high-speed internet and the socio-economic status of a household. And it can be concluded that girls from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to access high-speed internet. Consequently, these girls will suffer from an inferior set of colleges they can apply to if at all they do apply to colleges.
A vast body of studies suggests that when a student is provided with a laptop, she spends more time collaborating with her peers and readily participates in project works. She gains access to information and improves her research and analysis skills. Consequently, she produces better quality essays.
A student experiences a change in her learning attitude as well. She learns to take charge of her own learning by relying on active learning strategies. Studies show that girls with laptops also display greater critical thinking and problem-solving capacities. Moreover, as a by-product of technological familiarity, girls with access to personal laptops show more profound and flexible engagement with technology than students without personal laptops.
Credit for Buying Academic Material
Textbooks are generally expensive, sometimes prohibitively so. In a survey of students in high schools where academic material was not included in the tuition fee, it was found that 41% of the students had not bought textbooks till classes had already begun. 28% of the students eventually never bought textbooks, relying entirely on borrowed material. It affected their study schedules, their pre-class preparedness, and hence their comprehension during class. So, if these students were given access to personal study material such as textbooks, notebooks, study planners and guides, their grades would have improved significantly.
Educating one girl gives her the ability to change her life for the better, as she can land better jobs, be a reliable support for her family, and raise children better. Thus, depriving any girl of education is a loss to the community as a whole. In short, providing disadvantaged students with girls scholarships is the only way to encourage them to participate in and benefit from the education system. Nevertheless, educating all girls is the pathway to a healthy, well-functioning society with significantly better socio-economic indicators.