By: Akosua Frema Frempong
A roundtable on improving girls’ education has been held in Kumasi. The programme was jointly organized by the British Council, Otumfuo Education Foundation and Ashanti Region Directorate of the Ghana Education Service.
The purpose of the programme was to improve girls’ early access to and retain them in school as well as break barriers in accessing education by using gender responsive teaching and learning methods.
There is overwhelming evidence that investing in girls’ education and breaking down other barriers that some of them face is critical to every country’s development. While remarkable progress has been made in this area, many obstacles that hinder access to quality education for girls persist.
Studies on girls’ education have identified that despite the large increase in girls’ enrolment in education and improvement in learning outcomes, many girls in Ghana still encounter barriers in completing 12 years of quality basic education.
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has estimated that the average number of years of education that the poorest girls from rural areas aged 20 and 24 years can attain is about 4 years, as compared to 13 years for girls from affluent homes in urban areas.
Speaking at a session on improving girls’ education in Kumasi, Wife of Asantehene, Lady Julia Osei Tutu, indicated that “girls who drop out of school at the Secondary level is unforgiveable. Educational stakeholders in Ghana have recognized the need to improve girls’ access, retain them in school and manage their transition from Day Nursery through Tertiary level”, Lady Julia emphasized.
She noted that the growing interest in girls’ education, has resulted in various efforts to address gender related barriers in the Ghanaian educational system that hinders girl child education.
The British High Commissioner to Ghana, Madam Harriet Thompson spoke of the UK’s support to Ghana.
“The UK is committed to supporting the government of Ghana to reform and strengthen her basic education system. This is to help all children to develop core skills, of literacy, numeracy, critical thinking, communication and collaboration”, according to Madam Thompson.
She added that, the UK government wants all Ghanaian citizens to be great and great leaders. Moreover, the UK government deemed it important to address gender issues in education systems in Ghana and around the world.
“We are providing a talkative support to help girls to start school earlier, stay in school longer and learn more whiles they are in school’’, according to the UK High Commissioner to Ghana.
A pupil at Opoku Ware Basic School, Excella Appiah commended teachers for giving girls the opportunity to hold leadership positions in schools and also participating in school competitions such as debate and quizzes.