Girls’ education: Towards a Better Future for All  

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The author Rashid-Abdul-Imoro is the Programme Manager, SRHR at Savana Signatures

 “To be educated means I will not only be able to help myself, but also my family, my country, my people. The benefits will be many.’  (DFID, 2005).

There are still 61 million girls worldwide who are not in school. The majority of these girls live in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia. A girl growing up in a poor family in sub-Saharan Africa has less than a one-in-four chance of getting a secondary education (EFA Global Monitoring Report, 2012)

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) though made progress in getting as many girls as boys into primary and secondary school by 2015 but is has not be able to do so evenly in more than 75 countries. There is however, a growing international commitment and consensus on what can be done to improve girls’ education.

Educating girls helps to make communities and societies healthier, wealthier and safer, and can also help to reduce child deaths, improve maternal health and tackle the spread of HIV and AIDS. It underpins the achievement of all the other MDGs (DFID, 2005)

The Pan-African Conference on the Education of Girls held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 28 March to 1 April, was a catalyst for action to be taken on a national scale and in the African region as a whole. Countries have undertaken innovations and pilot projects, but not on the scale required to reach the millions of out-of-school girls. It is now time for national planners to give priority to girls’ education through defined targets, adequate budgetary allocations, appropriate strategies and monitoring mechanisms.

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2015 ICT Clinic for Girls participants

The magnitude of the challenge underscores the need for national commitment and for recognition of girls’ education as a public responsibility. There will be the need to establish harmonious relationship between education, culture and religion, allowing for the education of girls in a context which will optimize the benefits to them and to the nation as a whole. (Pan African Conference on the Education of Girls)

Females constitute more than fifty one percent of the entire Ghanaian population according to the 2010 population census and therefore education should be a necessary prerequisite for them to be able to significantly contribute to the development aspirations of Ghana.

Ban Ki Moon, the United Nations Secretary General puts it in his speech read on his behalf at the first ever international day for the girl child, “Investing in girls is a catalyst for changing the world…We must all do our part to let girls be girls, and not brides. Ban Ki Moon added that “Girls face discrimination, violence and abuse every day and empowering them is a moral imperative, a matter of basic human justice and equality critical for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It also advances economic growth and helps build peaceful societies” (Jamaica Observer, October, 2012).

According to a Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition report, girls’ enrollment continues to decline progressively from the basic to the tertiary level of our education despite several international and local interventions such as the Education For All and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). For instance, the goal three of the MDG sought to promote gender equality and promote women empowerment. This important goal can only become a reality when women and girls are given quality education to the highest level on the educational ladder.

Many girls, especially those in our rural communities, even though have the desire to complete school, become drop-outs due to several circumstances that mess their lives up. In the rural areas, girls are still not able to match their male counterparts due to heavy house chores which make their participation in class low and thus reflect in their academic performance (http://graphic.com.gh/features/opinion/17391-strengthening-girl-child-education-in-ghana.html)

This and many other reasons informed Savana Signatures’ decision to implement the Tech Girls project for primary and Junior High School pupils and students. The project is geared towards developing the capacity of primary school girls in Basic computer skills while the Junior High school girls are given a specialized training in programming and coding. You would appreciate the education of girls more and advocate for them after reading Savana Signatures’ Tech Girls blogs post such as this https://hidayadeadam345.wordpress.com/