Education in Ghana has seen a rise in terms of enrollment. However, there are still issues that must be addressed in regards to girls’ education in Ghana, that the country’s government, the U.S. and the rest of the world aim to resolve and rectify.
In the article below, top 10 facts about girls’ education in Ghana are presented.
Top 10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Ghana
- On average, girls in Ghana stay in school for only four years, dropping out as a result of early marriage, pregnancy, poverty, sexual harassment and various other barriers. Adolescent pregnancy statistics from 2017 show that 14 percent of girls in Ghana aged from 15 from 19 have at least one child. Almost 52 percent of girls have endured gender-based violence whilst at school, that has deterred them from attending the school. In 2017, the gross ratio of female enrollment in tertiary education was 13.53 percent in comparison to 18.68 percent for boys. This shows that there are still significant improvements that need to be made in order to increase enrollment rates for girls in Ghana.
- There are many reasons why girls in Ghana miss out on their education, and one of these reasons is something they cannot prevent and have no control over, which is their menstrual cycle. Currently, sanitary pads are seen as a luxury as they are taxed by import charge of 20 percent. As a result, many girls often skip school during their menstrual cycle, as they do not have the materials to leave their house without feeling a sense of humility or shame. There are currently various petitions regarding the extortionate tax on sanitary pads since they affect the everyday lives of young women attempting to further their career through education.
- Many Ghanaian girls have experienced sexual violence during their time at school. According to ActionAid, 26 percent of girls in the country’s schools have reported sexual violence during their education. In July 2018, 10 female students reported sexual violence against eight teachers at a high school in Ghana, with only four being indicted for their crimes.
- In order to combat gender-driven violence in schools, Oxfam and the Ghana Education Service partnered up in 2008 to implement girls-only schools that were funded by local authorities. The first girls-only school was a junior high school in the northern province of Sawla, where 28 girls were enrolled from some of the poorest families in the region. The girls-only schools have expanded since, and more than a decade later, in March 2018, there were 44 schools in northern Ghana. The girls model schools have improved both safety in schools, as well as career prospects for more than 1,642 Ghanaian girls, out of which 95 percent graduated, with the majority continuing on to higher education.
- New styles of teaching are being implemented in girls-only schools in Ghana, which were previously inaccessible due to the lack of funding needed for teacher training. The changes include implementing computing, as well as more student-centered methods, which enable girls to reflect on their learning experiences during study groups. Since the groups are smaller, there is a better focus on the individual students, which improves their education as a whole.
- According to 2016 statistics from The Gender Parity Index (GPI), a significant increase in disparity between boys’ and girls’ education has been recorded. It now stands at a GPI of 0.997. This means Ghana has managed to somewhat eliminate gender disparity since 1971 when this index was 0.764. Disparity should continue to decrease, as more efforts are being made to make education inclusive for everyone.
- Since 1995, primary and junior high schools have been freely available to all children in Ghana, and in September 2017, Ghana’s President Nano Akufo-Addo announced the launch of cost-free secondary education as an investment that aims to improve workforce prospects in Ghana. The estimated expenditure for the first year of this initiative was $100 million, which the government will be using to pay for textbooks, meals, tuition, uniforms and various other school expenses.
- In April 2018, A2Z Firm Movement, a nongovernmental organization launched their Protect Girls’ Rights Campaign that is expected to run from 2018 to 2025. The aim of the campaign is to educate teenage mothers by encouraging them to take part in entrepreneurship activities under the girls’ rights support club. This not only provides them with an education but also the ability to an escape from the poverty they are currently facing.
- In October 2018, former first lady of the United States., Michelle Obama, launched Global Girls Alliance, a girl’s education program that aims to improve the education of adolescent girls. The program does this by offering the necessary resources and encouraging young people all over the world to work alongside girl-focused organizations, who can help create a brighter future for girls through focusing on better education.
- In 1998, the food aid incentive collaboration launched by The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Ghana Education Service. This initiative has been providing the necessary food for girls in education. Currently, the program has 17,000 girls enrolled in schools around Ghana, as a result of the food incentives that were introduced to address gender parity gaps.
These top 10 facts about girls’ education in Ghana have established both the positives and negatives regarding the school system in Ghana.
Although the improvements have been made to improve the girls’ education in the country, there is still room for improvement. There are many initiatives and projects in place that help girls in Ghana get the best education they deserve.
– Heather Barrigan