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15.12.2003 Regional News

Yaa Akyiaa Girls' School celebrates 100 years

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Kumasi, Dec 15, GNA - Professor Marian Awura Ama Addy, former Lecturer in Biochemistry at the University of Ghana, Legon, has reiterated the need to give girls equal access to quality education if the country were to move forward.

She said since women in Ghana formed more than half of the population, it would be disastrous for the country to ignore girls' education and for that matter the training of women.

Prof Addy said single-gender programmes such as science and the mathematics clinics, which aimed at demystifying science, should be seen only as a measure to correct gender imbalances in the area and not to discriminate against boys, the majority of whom are already doing the sciences.

She was speaking on: "Quality Education for the Girl-Child, The Role of the Community" at a durbar to mark the centenary celebration of the Yaa Akyiaa Girls' Basic School, formerly Government Girls' School, in Kumasi.

The durbar was held under the auspices of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene and Nana Afua Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, Asantehemaa. Prof Addy of Brilliant Science and Maths Quiz fame, who is an old girl of the school, contended that if quality meant a degree of excellence, then the communities should endeavour to assist girls in whatever they wanted to do in academic pursuits to the best of their abilities.

She also called on parents not to feel too eager to see their grandchildren but to give ample time to their girls even in the face of limited finances to enable them to climb high on the academic ladder. "The only way to get the girls focused on their future careers, she said is for parents to inculcate in them the fear and knowledge of God, this would not dissuade them from falling into lifestyles which would only heighten the already existing social menace."

Lady Julia Osei Tutu, wife of the Asantehene, who was the guest of honour, said the vision of the founders of the school to train girls to play more meaningful roles in society was more relevant today than it was 100 years ago when the school was set up.

Today, she said, it is recognised that the struggle against poverty could best be won through equal access to quality education, resources, economic opportunities, employment and then access to public services and basic healthcare.

She said the empowerment of women and the promotion of their sustainable livelihood was, therefore, now a moral obligation of national governments and the international community.

Lady Julia advised the girls to take inspiration from old girls, who had made it to the top and take care in order not to contract HIV/AIDS since the infection rate among women was frightening. In an address read for Mr S. K. Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minster, he said it was the policy of the government to give female education a boost adding that issues affecting the girls with respect to child labour, dropping out of school and streetism were being tackled systematically.

Mr Boafo said more schools were being built, scholarship schemes and vocational schools established to take care of the teeming population of girls, whose education seem to terminate at the completion of junior secondary school.

The Regional Minister appealed to the Ghana Education Service (GES) to institute counselling services or to strengthen existing one to enable student to make informed choices.

Miss Comfort Mainoo, Headmistress, said the British Colonial Government established the school in a rented apartment at Barrington House located at the present site of the Adum branch of Barclays Bank. The first headmaster was a Mr Miller, an Englishman. She said the school moved to its present site in 1912 adding that the boys were moved to Asem in 1926.

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