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29.07.2009 Education

Moves To Improve Enrolment Of Girls In School

By Daily Graphic
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The Girls Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service (GES) has adopted a number of strategies and programmes to improve girls’ enrolment and retention in school.

The strategies are being implemented in collaboration with the country’s development partners, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs) to “increase access of girls to the full cycle of education”.

They include community mobilisation and sensitisation to create awareness of the importance of girls’ education, the organisation of role model outreach programmes, the development and dissemination of communication materials to educate people on the importance of girls’ education and the organisation of radio or television programmes to promote girls’ education.

The Director of the Public Relations Unit of the GES, Mr Charles Parker-Allotey, told the Daily Graphic that the strategies were adopted at a meeting to look at the status of girls’ education in the country by the Girls Education Unit.

The objectives of the unit for the year 2015 and beyond, he said, were to increase national enrolment of girls in basic education to equal that of boys by 2015, develop and maintain strategies aimed at ensuring the continuation of girls from basic to secondary education, develop programmes to enhance social capital of girls and ensure effective co-ordination, capacity building, as well as monitoring and evaluation.

The Girls Education Unit was established in 1997 after a series of studies conducted to ascertain the reasons contributing to the low participation of girls in formal education.

Initially, it was set up as a task force to address the challenges girls encounter in accessing the full cycle of at least basic education but later it was transformed into a unit within the Basic Education Division of the GES.

Mr Parker-Allotey said under the policies and international targets to improve girls’ education, “strategies under the education strategic plan have been adopted towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the Education For All (EFA) goals that are related to girls”.

The goals, he said, were achieving universal primary education which ensured that all boys and girls completed a full course of primary schooling and ensuring the elimination of gender disparities in primary and secondary education.

He said the unit identified socio-cultural beliefs and practices as some of the constraints that militated against girls having access to education.

In addition, he said, irresponsible parenting, travelling long distances, remoteness of schools and communities, as well as general inadequacy of funding for girls education, affected girls’ access to education.

Mr Parker-Allotey said in spite of the challenges, some successes had been achieved in the area of girls having access to education.

For instance, the institution of the Capitation Grant had awakened the interest of girls in education and raised their enrolment.

Others, he said, were the supply of bicycles to girls commuting long distances, the provision of food rations by the World Food Programme (WFP), as well as scholarships and intensification of community sensitisation activities.

“It is clear that progress has been made towards achieving gender parity since 2005, albeit slow, and this has been possible through the effort and support of the development partners, NGOs and all who have a stake in girls’ education,” he said.

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