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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-20

Empowerment status of school-going adolescents in Anekal Taluk of Bengaluru District

1 Department of Community Medicine, Sree Narayana Institute of Medical Sciences, Ernakulam, Kerala, India
2 Department of Community Health, St Johns Medical College, Bangalore, India

Date of Submission14-May-2020
Date of Acceptance27-Sep-2020
Date of Web Publication5-May-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jacob Davies Kalliath
Department of Community Medicine, Sree Narayana Institute of Medical Sciences, Chalakka, Ernakulam, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jss.JSS_39_20

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Context: Empowerment is a multidimensional social process that enables vulnerable population to participate in and control the various determinants of health. This study was done to assess the empowerment status and factors associated with it among school-going adolescents in Anekal Taluk, Bangalore Urban District. Materials and Methods: It was a cross-sectional study. The sample included government school-going adolescents between 14-18 years of age. Study tools used were self-designed expert validated questionnaire on adolescent empowerment. Data were entered on EpiData and analyzed by SPSS version 16.0. Results: Among the 351 study participants, 196 (56%) were females and 188 (58%) were in 10th and 11th standards. In health domain, 186 (53%) of the students were aware about at least two nutritious foods and 317 (90.3%) of the students knew to cook food on their own; 271 (77.2%) of the students knew how to start a bank account and 307 (87.5%) knew what to do in a hospital when they are sick; 328 (93.6%) of students believe that minimum age for marriage for females was between 18-20 years and 329 (93.7%) knew at least one method of family planning; 282 (80.3%) of the students knew at least one vocational skill; 21 (6%) knew about child protection laws and 203 (58%) believe that decisions regarding important life events should be taken by both parents in conjunction with children. Conclusions: Adolescents lacked empowerment in terms of knowledge regarding reproductive health and nutrition. Years of schooling was found to be associated with better empowerment.

Keywords: Adolescents, empowerment status, periurban, school

How to cite this article:
Kalliath JD, Gnanaselvam NA, Pinto NX, Chirayath M, Ramesh N. Empowerment status of school-going adolescents in Anekal Taluk of Bengaluru District. J Sci Soc 2021;48:17-20

How to cite this URL:
Kalliath JD, Gnanaselvam NA, Pinto NX, Chirayath M, Ramesh N. Empowerment status of school-going adolescents in Anekal Taluk of Bengaluru District. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 15];48:17-20. Available from: https://www.jscisociety.com/text.asp?2021/48/1/17/315452

  Introduction Top

Adolescence is the time period between 10 and 19 years of age. This period is characterized by critical physical and psychological changes leading to adulthood. Adequate nutrition, education, counseling, and guidance is necessary for adolescents to turn into healthy adults.[1] Power is often related to our ability to make others do what we want, regardless of their own wishes or interests. Empowerment is a multidimensional complex social process that expands the capabilities of the poor and vulnerable to participate in, negotiate with, influence, control and hold accountable in various situations in life. Domains of empowerment include social domain which includes access to public services, vocational skills, social issues, gender sensitivity, violence against women, life skills, decision-making, and health domain which include nutrition, adolescent reproductive and sexual health, marriage, and child care.[2] SABLA scheme (Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls) is a scheme developed by National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development which provide services such as nutritional supplements for 11-14 years old out-of-school adolescent girls and all adolescent girls aged 14-18 years, iron and folic acid (IFA) supplement for all adolescent girls, health check ups, referral services, health education, counseling/guidance on family welfare, adolescent, reproductive and sexual health and childcare practices, life skill education, awareness on utilization of public services, and vocational training under National Skill Development Program.[1] Adolescents are less vulnerable to disease than children and the elderly age group. However, they face social and medical problems which make them vulnerable such as high risk of mortality and morbidity due to exposure to adolescent pregnancy, risky sexual behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, mental health problems, gender-based violence, malnutrition, and anemia.[2] These problems if allowed to persist, the energy, creativity, and idealism of youth will be lost. These problems are preventable and hence, it is important to assess the existing gaps in empowerment status of adolescents. Trainings and enhancement of skills based on this assessments will empower adolescents to become resourceful citizens of our country. Existing programs for adolescent health are concentrated on school dropped out adolescent girls. Understanding the empowerment status of adolescent boys and girls will aid in planning strategies to improve holistically the health of adolescents.

This study was done to assess the empowerment status and to assess the factors which are associated with them among adolescents in Anekal Taluk, Bengaluru Urban District, Karnataka.

  Materials and Methods Top

It was a cross-sectional study done in Anekal taluk, Bengaluru urban district, Karnataka. All school-going adolescents between 14 and 18 years or attending 8th to 12th standard were taken as the sampling unit. The study was initiated in January 2018 for a period of 4 months. According to a study done in Uttarakhand,[3] 29% of the adolescent girls were empowered in terms of access to public services. Using the formula N = Z2pq/d2, the sample size calculated was found to be 330 where Z is the standard normal variate corresponds to α = 5% (which is = 1.96) P is the prevalence (29%), q is 100-p, d is fixed precision taken as 5%. Study tool used was self-designed expert validated questionnaire on adolescent empowerment. The questionnaire was translated into the local language (Kannada) and face validation was done.

Method of data collection

Permission for conducting the study was obtained from Block Education Officer (BEO) of Anekal Taluk and Institutional Ethics Committee (IEC) of St. John's Medical College (IEC No. 164/2018). List of all Government schools and number of students in each school from 8th to 12th standard was obtained from the BEO Office. Universal sampling method was adopted. After identification of school, the headmaster of the school was approached and explained about the study objectives and methodology. Then his or her permission to conduct the study in that particular school was obtained. Students, both boys, and girls attending classes between 8th to 12th standard were approached to participate in the study. Those students who signed the informed assent form and whose parents signed the informed consent form were included in the study. The questionnaire and the methodology of answering the questionnaire were explained to the students in the local language and then each student received a questionnaire. The authors stayed back in the classroom after the distribution of the questionnaire in order to clarify any doubts. Data entry was done in epidata and data analysis was done using SPSS (SPSS Inc. Version 16.0. Chicago, USA).

  Results Top

Total of 351 adolescents participated in the study. Among them, 196 (56%) were females. The age of the study participants was from 14 to 18 years or studying from 8th to 12th standards and majority 188 (53%) were in 10th and 11th standard [Graph 1]. Majority 305 (87%) of them were Hindu by religion. Majority of the fathers and mothers of the students were unskilled workers (54% and 50.4% respectively) and 116 (33.2%) of the mothers were homemakers [Table 1].

Table 1: Sociodemographic profile (n=351)

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In the health domain, 186 (53%) of the students were aware about at least two nutritious foods and only 31 (8.8%) of the students were aware about at least two iron-rich food items, majority, i.e., 317 (90.3%) of the students knew to cook food of their own, 254 (72.6%) had received IFA and albendazole in the past 6 months. Regarding the public sector domain, 271 (77.2%) of the students knew how to start a bank account and 307 (87.5%) and 298 (84.9%) knew what to do in a hospital when they are sick as well as were confident in traveling in bus alone, respectively. Only 121 (34.4%) knew how to file a case in police station and 160 (45.6%) knew how to book a ticket online. 107 (30.5%) of them were a part of a self-help group [Graph 2]. Regarding domain of marriage and childcare, 328 (93.6%) of students believe that minimum age for marriage for females is 18-20 years and 175 (50%) believe that the age for pregnancy should be >20 and 165 (47%) believe that it should be 18–20 years. Regarding domain of vocational skills, 282 (80.3%) of the students knew at least one vocational skill which includes tailoring 186 (53%), minor electrical works 42 (12%), and 35 (10%) knew minor mechanical works [Graph 3]. Regarding adolescent, reproductive and sexual health, 329 (93.7%) knew some methods of family planning such as condom, contraceptive pills, and permanent method of family planning, 108 (30.7%) knew at least two modes of HIV transmission such as multiple sex partners, contaminated syringes, sexual contact, mother to child transmission, and blood transfusion. HIV prevention methods such as condom use, avoiding sexual contact, and avoiding syringe reuse were known by 180 (51.2%) of the study subjects [Graph 4].

Regarding domain on social issues, only 21 (6%) knew about child protection laws, 84 (24%) knew about women protection laws and only 32 (9%) of the students knew about child helpline number. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao yojana, Bhagyalakshmi scheme, Child Marriage act, Dowry Prohibition Act, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and the Child Labour Act were some of the correct answers given by the students. Regarding gender sensitivity, 241 (68.4%) of the students believe that for a girl, marriage should not be a hindrance for higher education. Regarding violence against women, 196 (55.8%) of the students believe that a girl deserves to get beaten in situations like when she commits mistakes, when she is in love or when she gets poor marks in examinations. Regarding domain on decision-making, 203 (58%) of the students believe that decisions regarding important life events should be taken by both parents conjunction with their children.

Among sociodemographic variables, more years of schooling and the type of religion was found to be significantly associated with better empowerment among the school-going adolescents. No significant association was obtained between gender, education, and occupation of father and mother and better empowerment among the adolescents.

  Discussion Top

The proportion of adolescents in general population is about 22.7% (Urban 20.4% and rural 23.9%) In our study 56% of the adolescents were females and sex ratio was found to be 1270/1000 males. Similar higher sex ratio was also found among adolescents in urban Karnataka according to NFHS-2 data.[4]

In a study done in Srinagar, Kashmir on 2250 adolescent girls of higher secondary school with the objective of assessing the extend of knowledge, nature of beliefs and current attitudes of adolescent students towards HIV infection showed poor knowledge on modes of HIV transmission in which 23% of students answered contaminated needles, 20.5% and 7% of students knew sexual contact and infected blood as sources of HIV infection, respectively. The best method for the prevention of HIV according to them was premarital abstinence (25%) and sterilization of needle (21.8%).[5] In study done by Gupta et al. in schools of Lucknow, 95% knew about one mode of transmission of HIV.[6] In our study, 69.3% knew about one method of HIV transmission. This could be due to the fact our study was done in semi-urban area and exposure to mass media and health education on HIV could have been inadequate as compared to urban children.

Available studies about gender sensitivity were qualitative and observed that inequitable gender norms are present. In our study, it was observed that more than half of the students believed that a girl child deserved to be beaten for some or the other reasons. In Indian patriarchal families beating of children to discipline them is normalized and beating of girl children is considered to protect the family honor. Normalization of violence and honor shame culture could have made the study population to accept physical abuse such as beating as way of disciplining a girl child. A study done in five schools in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh among 537 girls (12–19 years) to evaluate the perception of school girls regarding menstruation, hygiene, nutrition, marriage, and school health program showed that 67.7% of girls believed that ideal age for both marriage and childbirth for girls is after 21 years. Majority of the girls had very little knowledge on contraceptives (82%) in the study.[7] A study done in Wardha district of Maharashtra in 2012 among higher secondary girls (15–19 years) with the objective of evaluating the effect of socioeconomic factors on the awareness level of family planning methods showed that among high and upper middle-class groups, 61.8% were aware of condom, 30.3% and 61% were aware of oral pills and safe period as methods of family planning respectively. Main source of family planning information includes friends and relatives, books/media, and teachers.[8] In our study, >90% of the study population knew atleast one method of contraception. The current RMNCH + A strategy with its ARSH idea and introduction of reproductive health in biology textbooks could have influenced this finding.

Weekly IFA supplementation is implemented throughout the country under the National Iron Plus initiative. However, in our study, 76.4% of adolescents have mentioned that they have not received IFA supplementation. This finding could be due to inadequate implementation of the initiative or due to refusal of IFA consumption by adolescents and lack of consent by parents due to poor awareness. In a cross-sectional study done in rural areas of West Bengal in 2015 among high school students to assess the compliance to weekly IFA supplementation showed that 67.7% of the students were compliant and among them 58.1% were boys. The main reasons for noncompliance were unpleasant side effects and fear of harm.[9]

In a study done in Chamoli and Tehri districts of Uttarakhand on 108 adolescent girls with the objective of empowerment of adolescent girls showed that knowledge on nutrition such as food items that prevent anemia and that is rich in Vitamin A were known by 34% of the students only. In our study even though most study population could name nutritious food options, which could be due to mid-day meal scheme, only 8.8% could at-least tell 2 iron-rich foods. Basic knowledge of anemia and common iron-rich items in diet is lacking in the study population. This could be due to lack of health education in these topics and due to lack of concept of anemia in syllabus. More than half of the study population knew about hospital services and bank services. About 29% of the adolescents have used bank/post office services by themselves. Awareness levels regarding contraceptives and weekly IFA supplementation in the study were 8% and 26%.[3]

  Conclusions Top

In order for adolescent to be useful citizens of our country it is necessary they are empowered in health and social aspect of life. Our study has observed that adolescents going to government schools in our study area lack knowledge in gender equity, reproductive health, and nutrition. More years of schooling and type of religion was found to be associated with better empowerment among the adolescents. The school-going adolescents need training on better access to public services and vocational skills and awareness about gender issues.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Manual for Sakhi and Saheli-under the SABLA Scheme, National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development. Available from: http://nipccd.nic.in/elearn/manual/ss/ss.pdf. [Last accessed on 2019 Mar 18].  Back to cited text no. 1
Park K. Park's Textbook of Preventive Medicine. 23rd ed. Jabalpur: M/s Banarsidas Bhanot; 2007. p. 593.  Back to cited text no. 2
Saxena V, Maithili B, Saxena P, Roy D. Empowering adolescent girls through Yuvansh Kit. Indian J Prev Soc Med 2009;40:83-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
Background Characteristics of Households. Available from: http://rchiips.org/NFHS/data/ka/kachap2.pdf. [Last accessed on 2019 Sep 08].  Back to cited text no. 4
Gaash B, Ahmad M, Kasur R, Bashir S. Knowledge, attitude and belief on HIV/AIDS among the female senior secondary students in Srinagar district of Kashmir. Health Popul Perspect Issues 2003;26:101-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
Gupta P, Anjum F, Bhardwaj P, Srivastav J, Zaidi ZH. Knowledge about HIV/AIDS among secondary school students. N Am J Med Sci 2013;5:119-23.  Back to cited text no. 6
Srivastava S, Chandra M. Study on the knowledge of school girls regarding menstrual and reproductive health and their perceptions about family life education program. Int J Reprod Contracept Obstet Gynecol 2017;6:688-93.  Back to cited text no. 7
Kakani A, Jaiswal A. Awareness level of family planning methods in adolescent girls of different socio-economic groups in rural sectors, in central India. Int J Reprod Contracept Obstet Gynecol 2012;1:3-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
Sau A. A study on weekly iron and folic acid supplementation (WIFS) programme in a school at rural area of West Bengal, India. IOSR J Dent Med Sci 2016;15:47-50.  Back to cited text no. 9


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