Hajia Hawawu Boya-Gariba, Deputy Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, has called on stakeholders in education, particularly in Northern Ghana, to give the girl-child a holistic education to make her self-confident and responsive to the needs of society.
She noted with regret that despite numerous interventions on the part of government and NGOs to increase enrollment figures of the girl-child in schools in the Northern Region, the situation had not significantly improved.
Hajia Boya-Gariba was addressing the Second Speech and Prize-Giving Day of the Tamale Girls Senior High School in Tamale at the weekend.
The occasion which was on the theme: “Educating the girl-child for development: The role of Tamale Girls Senior High”, coincided with the inauguration of the school’s cadet corps.
Hajia Boya-Gariba said there was evidence of widespread gender disparity between enrollment and retention of girls and boys at all levels of education.
She said for instance, in 2002/2003, 76 per cent of girls were in primary schools, 55 per cent were in Junior High Schools and 48 percent were in Senior High Schools, adding that the situation remained the same up to 2008.
She said it was with shock however when a Ghana demographic and Health survey revealed that 65 per cent of females had no form of formal education in the Northern Region and that for those in school, 74 per cent of the girls could not read and less than seven per cent progresses beyond the SHS.
“This calls for concerted efforts by all stakeholders and meaningful Ghanaians and for that matter Northerners to get involved in getting females enrolled and retained in school”, Hajia Gariba said.
The Deputy Minister called on Civil Society Organisations, NGOs, Churches, Mosques and the Media to intensify public education to eliminate socio-cultural practices that impede girls’ education in Northern Ghana.
She also appealed for financial assistance and the provision of logistics to be extended to needy girls.
Mrs Elizabeth De-Souza, Northern Regional Director of Education, urged the students to be disciplined and take their studies seriously if they want to become responsible leaders in the near future.
Hajia Mariama Mohammed, Headmistress of the School, said Tamale Girls Senior High School was established in 1998 with a modest student population of 64 girls and now has a population of 1500.
She said since its establishment, the school has consistently recorded 100 per cent in the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).
She said the numerical strength of the teaching staff had also doubled from 36 teachers to 72, thus reducing the burden on them and increased their effectiveness.
The Headmistress said a major problem facing the school was inadequate classroom accommodation, with some classes having as many as 87 students and urged the Regional Minister to ask the contractor currently working on a 12-unit one-storey classroom block to speed up work.
She also appealed for the construction of a modern library facility and ICT Centre for the school.
Deserving students were giving prizes for their impressive performance in the various subject areas. GNA