By Iddi Yire, GNA
Dambai (V/R), Sep 10, GNA - The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reiterated the need to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all, especially the girl child.
Mr Christopher Nkrumah, Education Officer, UNICEF Ghana, said education increases the prospects of girls in terms of employment, health and overall well-being.
He said there was therefore the need to ensure that girls were given equal rights and opportunities as boys, to enable them to have quality education.
He was speaking at the 2018 edition of the Girls Vacation Camp at Dambai, in the Krachi East Municipal,
Mr Nkrumah said UNICEF is committed to working with and for children for their improved well-being.
He said, UNICEF was working tirelessly with the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to achieve the SDG4, which seeks to ensure quality and inclusive education for all children.
The Girls Vacation Camp 2018 is an initiative organised by the Ghana Education Service (GES), UNICEF and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) under the Better Life for Girls (BLG) Project.
Over the past years, the Girls Education Unit of GES has made progress in promoting Girls Education in the country, as there have been gains in education indicators over the past years; however, the girls still lag behind, when it comes to learning and school completion.
The Girls Vacation Camp 2018, which registered 180 girls from 36 schools in Krachi East, was held on the theme “Improving Girls’ Completion of Junior High School (JHS); The Role of Girls”.
The objectives of the camp include, serving a platform to encourage the girls to develop their interest and increase their aspiration in completing and transiting to the next level; and to assist girls especially those from disadvantaged communities to catch up with lessons as they prepare to start their final year and eventually, write their final exams.
Mr Nkrumah noted that statistics showed that most of the girls in Krachi East and Kpandai in the Northern Region were not completing JHS as expected.
He said UNICEF, KOICA and the Education Unit of GES were spearheading the initiative to ensure that every child benefits from the quality education they all seeking for, particularly for girls.
Mr Nkrumah was therefore, hopeful that, with an effective collaboration with stakeholders, the objectives of the project would be achieved; with much emphasis on girls making informed decisions that affects their future positively.
Mr Michael Yaw Gyato, Member of Parliament (MP) for Krachi East cautioned the students on the use of mobile phones, particularly not for academic purposes; and the need to refrain from spending so much time watching television, which could have a negative impact on their studies.
The MP, who also doubles as the Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, encouraged the students to cultivate the habit of reading to enable them pass their exams and benefit from government’s Free Senior High School programme.
Mr Gyato commended UNICEF and it partners for implementing the Girls’ Camp initiative in his constituency and pledged that he would use the MP’s Common Fund to support the project and award sponsorship packages to any student who attains aggregate six to eight.
“If the Education Directorate will even use part of the holidays to occupy our girls so they do not go out, I will spend money on giving allowances to teachers to take them through these Girls Camp activities”, he added.
Mrs Catherine Mikado, Director at the Girls Education Unit of GES said the Unit had done well at the primary level where in some cases it had recorded more girls than boys, however its major challenge had been at the JHS and SHS levels, as girls kept dropping out.
She said Krachi East happens to be the worse among all the districts in Ghana and for that reason a study was conducted to ascertain the causes and based on consultant’s recommendations, they decided to begin with the Girls Camp, as a first step.
She said the girls are being taken through both academic and social skills training for a period of five days, with the expectation that they become role models in their various schools and building their confidence level to act positively.
Mrs Mikado advised parents to live up to expectations, as one of the findings from the research indicated that some parents were not responsible, adding that, “girls are vulnerable so when they get the basic needs they can remain in school”.