Tamale, Oct. 11, GNA - Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister, has called on the Ministry of Education and Sports and the Ghana Education Service, to institute a special incentive package for female teachers, who accept postings to rural schools. He noted that the presence of female teachers at the rural schools would encourage parents to send their girls to school to bridge the gender gap in education.
Alhaji Boniface was speaking at the Northern Regional launch of advocacy materials to accelerate the promotion of girls' education in the region in Tamale on Monday. District Directors of Education, District Girl-Child Officers, school children and civil society organizations involved in education attended the forum, which was sponsored by UNICEF. Ghana has targeted 2005, as the year to achieve gender parity in education and structures were therefore needed to accelerate progress in girls' education, hence UNICEF in collaboration with the GEU had developed an information package for advocacy to regenerate interest in girls' education.
Alhaji Boniface said the government's commitment to achieve gender parity in education had manifested in the establishment of the GEU in 1997 within the Basic Education Division of the Ghana Education Service to give new emphasis to the removal of barriers to girls' education in the country.
He said gender equity in education was also a key priority for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which was to ensure that gender parity was achieved in enrolments in basic education and every child of school-going age completed a full cycle of primary education by 2015.
He said gender equity in education had been regarded as a key for achieving "education for all", an essential element to the attainment of all other goals, adding, it was cleared that the attainment of gender parity in education would have a positive impact on the fight against poverty, hunger and diseases.
"This is because there is a close connection between quality of life and women's status and their power to make their own decisions and bring about changes, which is often the result of expanded opportunities for female schooling", he noted.
The Regional Minister said although there had been a significant improvement in enrolment during the past ten years, gender disparities still existed in the region and had stagnated of late. He said out of the 18 districts in the region, only three districts had attained gender parity in 2005 but added that, this did not mean that all girls and boys in those districts were in school. Alhaji Boniface said for instance, 107,124 girls were enrolled in primary school as against 134,198 boys in 2003/2004, while 119,403 girls were registered alongside 143,146 boys in 2004/2005 in the region. He attributed the improved figures in girls' enrolment to World Food Programme ration, UNICEF material support programme, and the Catholic Relief Service School feeding and other forms of interventions from other development partners.
Madam Margaret A. Haruna, Northern Regional Girls Education Officer, said investing in girls' education was the most cost-effective measure that the country could rely on to improve the standard of living of the people.
She said since the establishment of the GEU, District Girls Education Officers with immense support from civil society organization had worked relentlessly through advocacy and community mobilization to improve the enrolment of girls, during the past ten years in the region.
She called on stakeholders and civil society organizations involved in education, to contribute in diverse ways to help the GEU to promote girls' education in the region.