- Recently, a report on analysis of National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16) data on child marriage and teenage pregnancies has been published by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and voluntary organisation Young Lives.
- The report shows a direct co-relation between underage marriages and educational status of girls.
- The study based on NFHS-4 data shows that of the 15 to 19 year old girls, who at the time of the survey reported to have been married before the legal age of marriage:
- 8% had never been to a school
- 09 % had education up to the primary level
- The percentage of girls who had secondary education and were married before 18 was 10.2%
- Those with higher levels of education were further down to 2.4%
- Also, 31.5% girls were found to be have babies
- Almost a quarter of the married girls in the age group of 15 to 16 years had at least one child.
- The completion rate of secondary schooling is considerably higher among unmarried girls aged 15-19 years in almost all states.
- While overall prevalence of child marriage declined from 26.5% in 2005-06 to 11.9% in 2015-16.
- Bihar is a case in point. The state recorded a significant decline in child marriages from 47.8% in 2005-06 to 19.7% in 2015-16.
- Citing low prevalence rates where girls have completed secondary education, the report by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and voluntary organisation Young Lives makes a pitch for making secondary level schooling a fundamental right.
- Even National Human Rights Commission emphasised the need to extend the right to education from Class VIII to the secondary level.
- The NHRC is also planning to recommend to the ministry of women and child development a uniform age for marriage for both men and women.
- The law commission in a consultative paper on family laws also suggested the legal age for marriage for both men and women across religions should be recognised at 18 years, the universal age for majority.
About National Family Health Survey
- The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) is a large-scale, multi-round survey conducted in a representative sample of households throughout India.
- All National Family Health Surveys have been conducted under the stewardship of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, with the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, serving as the nodal agency.
- ICF International (formerly Macro International), USA, provided technical assistance for all four surveys conducted as on date.