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The Contextual Reality of Adolescents of Bihar

The Contextual Reality of Adolescents of Bihar

Bihar is a state in Eastern India with over 120 million people. Adolescents in Bihar face a range of contextual realities that can impact their development and well-being.

One of the critical contextual realities that adolescents in Bihar face is poverty. Bihar is one of the poorest states in India, with high rates of poverty and unemployment. It can lead to limited access to education, healthcare, and other basic services that are essential for adolescent development. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) – 4, Bihar has an overall literacy rate of 63.82%, with only 57.71% females and 71.2% males being literate. The poverty line in Bihar is INR 44 per person per day, which means that a significant number of adolescents are living in extreme poverty.

Additionally, Bihar has a high incidence of child marriage, which can negatively affect adolescent girls’ health, education, and social and economic prospects. According to the NFHS-4, 39.1% of women in Bihar are married before 18. Child marriage is driven by various socio-cultural factors such as poverty, low literacy rates, and gender discrimination. Adolescent girls who are married early are more likely to drop out of school, face health issues due to early pregnancy, and are at a higher risk of domestic violence.

Adolescents in Bihar may also face challenges related to gender discrimination and violence. Girls and young women are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence, including sexual harassment, assault, and trafficking. Social norms prioritising boys over girls can also limit girls’ opportunities for education and career advancement. In addition, adolescent boys also face various challenges, such as access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities. Boys who cannot receive an education or find work are at a higher risk of being involved in criminal activities.

Furthermore, Bihar faces significant challenges related to health and sanitation, which can have negative consequences for adolescent health and well-being. Many adolescents lack access to clean water and sanitation facilities, which can increase their risk of illness and disease. According to the NFHS-4, only 22.3% of households in Bihar have access to improved sanitation facilities. As a result, the incidence of water-borne and vector-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria, and dengue fever is high among adolescents.

Another contextual reality that impacts the development and well-being of adolescents in Bihar is the high migration rate. Bihar is a source state for labour migration to other parts of India, especially to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. Many adolescents migrate with their families in search of better economic opportunities. The migration can disrupt their education and social support systems, leading to feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety.

Overall, the contextual realities of adolescents in Bihar can be complex and challenging. Addressing these issues will require a comprehensive and coordinated approach that prioritises access to education, healthcare, and other essential services, as well as efforts to promote gender equality and combat poverty and discrimination. Providing adequate nutrition, clean water, and sanitation facilities can also play a crucial role in improving the health and well-being of adolescents. In addition, interventions that address the root causes of child marriage and promote positive social norms can help create a conducive environment for adolescent development. Efforts to provide vocational training and employment opportunities can also help alleviate poverty and prevent migration.


Dr Madhumita

Asst Professor,

Dept. of Education,