Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch) has called on government and relevant stakeholders to make targeted investments to promote girls’ participation in education.
Marking International Day of the Girl today, October 11, 2023, Eduwatch revealed that barriers to girls’ participation in education including long distances commuted to school, dilapidated school infrastructure including the lack of desks and the lack of separate toilet facilities and changing rooms for girls poses significant risk.
Additionally, it indicated that lack of access to menstrual hygiene kits equally continues to pose significant challenges to the realization of gender parity at all levels in the education system.
“Underlying these challenges is a low, untargeted and inefficient financing of girls’ education by African governments. African governments and the international community should show more commitment to financing girls’ education by making more targeted investments to promote girls’ participation in education and skills training for girls, especially those from poor households.”Africa Education Watch
Eduwatch noted that today marks 11 years since the United Nations General Assembly declared October 11 as International Day of the Girl (IDG), to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face. The IDG, it stated, focuses attention on the need to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
“This year’s theme, ‘Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being’, reemphasizes the urgent need for increased commitment and resourcing of key areas that enhance the educational potential of girls across the globe.”Africa Education Watch
With about seven years to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) deadline, Eduwatch lamented that Africa has an average SDGs score of 53.82 points, after getting more than halfway through the implementation.
It explained that while school enrolments have significantly increased in Africa, with more girls gaining access to quality education, there still exist significant deficits in the participation of girls in education at all levels.
“Today, some 98 million children between six (6) and 18 years in Sub-Saharan Africa are still out of school, with 50 million being girls.”Africa Education Watch
Moreover, Eduwatch reckoned that the sub-Saharan region is the lowest scoring with regard to gender parity in education with an overall score of 54 per cent against the global average of 75 per cent.
GSS statistics on adolescent girls with live births
Meanwhile, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has revealed that statistics from the 2022 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) indicate that one in every 10 (10.9%) adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 years has had a live birth.
The survey carried out was to highlight challenges such as early marriage and childbearing, and deprivation of education that prevent young girls from reaching their full potential.
Findings from the survey indicate that the percentage of adolescents that have had a live birth increases with age, with 19-year-olds recording the highest rate of almost a quarter (23.8%).
In 10 out of the 16 regions, more than 10 percent of adolescents 15 to 19 years have had a live birth with the Bono East Region recording the highest, thus, one in every five (19.1%) girls in this age range have had a live birth.
The Savannah (17.5%) and the North East (17.5%) regions tied for the second highest followed by the Ashanti Region (16.8%).
Furthermore, the Greater Accra Region (5.4%) has the lowest percentage and is the only region to record a figure less than half the national average.
Also, the percentage of girls 15 to 19 years old that have had a live birth is almost twice in rural areas (14.4%) compared to urban (8.0%).
The survey further proved that more than a quarter (26.5%) of adolescent girls with no education had had a live birth compared to 20.3 percent of those with primary education.
Additionally, GSS expressed that the percentage of girls with secondary education (8.6%) who had a live birth was less than half of those with primary or no education.
On the other hand, adolescent girls in households in the lowest wealth quintile (17.5%) had the highest percentage with a live birth, more than four times the figure recorded for girls in the highest wealth quintile (3.7%).