31.03.2005 Education

Give equal attention to children's education

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Tamale, March 31, GNA - Participants at a public forum on education in Tamale on Tuesday called for equal attention to children's education so as not to create another gender imbalance in the educational system. They contended that the special focus on the girl-child education due to their low enrolment in schools in the past was impacting negatively on the boy- child education in parts of the north and stressed the need to focus on all children to ensure that education for all was fulfilled. The Northern Network on Education Development (NNED) organized the forum for media practitioners and other stakeholders in education.

The aim was to see how best the media could help highlight pertinent issues that would help improve the education sector, particularly in the north and also to set the tone for discussion as a prelude to the Global Action Week on children missing out of school, which comes off in April this year.

Some 30 participants attended the one-day forum. Some of the participants expressed the view that the situation, where girls were isolated and given incentives in parts of the north for regular school attendance and ignoring their male counterpart was not the best way to address issues.

They mentioned the Action Aid Ghana for distributing free bicycles for only girls, who walk long distances to school and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for giving free food ration and uniforms to girls, who regularly attended school and that the situation was not encouraging boys to stay in school.

"The fight for the girl-child to be in school is in the right direction but the fear is that, the over emphasis on parents to send their girl-child to school will lead to another gender imbalance in education in years to come", a participant explained.

They suggested for the term "Education for all" to replace the "Girl-child education" to ensure that the Education For All concept became a reality to improve the education sector.

Hajia Adisa Munkaila, former Council of State Member, who chaired the function, commended the participants for pointing out the "anomaly" and expressed the hope that policy makers would take the issue up to reverse the trend.

She explained the circumstances that led to the campaign to send females to school saying, "I think I totally agree with you on the issues raised and I hope since you are media practitioners you will use various mediums to sensitise the public on the need to send all children to school".

She claimed that many women, who have higher education, were finding it very difficult to get husbands to marry, a situation, which she said was discouraging many parents in the northern sector to allow their girls to pursue higher institutions of learning.

Earlier, Dr Sulemana Alhassan from the University for Development Studies (UDS) said a research shows that girls enrolment in the Saboba/Cheriponi area and some parts of the Upper West Region out number that of boys and attributed the problem to the love for earning quick money.

He called for conceited effort to ensure that every child was not missing out of school to improve the education sector.

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