Dr. Georgina Yaa Oduro, a Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast, has advocated for a gender sensitive environment in schools to reduce the many barriers female students faced.
She said the increasing cases of teenage pregnancies recorded during BECE examinations and illegal abortions among female students called for re-thinking towards addressing this regrettable phenomenon.
Dr Mrs Oduro was delivering the keynote address at the Eighth Congregation of Saint Teresa’s College of Education (TERESCO) in Hohoe, under the theme “Quality female teacher Education: a tool for breaking barriers towards gender equality.”
A total of 179 students graduated from the College, with four students obtaining first class, 31 others obtaining second class upper, 101 receiving second class lower, 42 attaining third class and a pass, after successfully completing a three-year basic education programme.
Dr Oduro appealed to heads of basic and senior high schools to review the practice of preventing pregnant students from writing their final examinations, stressing, “Preventing pregnant students from writing their exams only adds to the barriers to gender equality.”
She said the historical development of education provided a curriculum that was skewed towards developing in girls skills in knitting, needle work, home science, now home economics, adding, “Through this mechanised gender roles, disparities and inequalities were created to the disadvantage of females.”
The Lecturer therefore urged teachers to be advocates for girls by representing their perspectives, needs, interests as well as promote a more “girl-friendly learning environment in terms of menstruation, puberty, sexuality and reproductive health education.”
Dr Mrs Oduro also urged authorities in Colleges of Education to review their admission criteria in order to admit more female students.
Mrs. Angelina Kutin Tandor, Principal of St Teresa’s College of Education, commended students for their continuous outstanding performance over the years, making Teresco one of the best in the country.
She said three final year students from St. Teresa’s College had received awards on three out of the four ceremonies organised by the Institute of Education, UCC, with one of them receiving the overall best student award in the 2012 edition.
Mrs Kutin Tandor also advised the graduands ”to understand the rugged work environment and become accustomed to it,” and urged them to be submissive and learn from others.
The Principal appealed to government, corporate institutions and philanthropists to assist the College erect fence around the school.
Miss Rachel Asamoah was adjudged the overall best student and an overall second best student in the Volta zone. GNA