Girl Child Education-Its Significance (VOF Week Three Assignment)
From Stella Danso Addai
It is unfortunate that most African parents do not see the essence of education for especially girls.
The few parents, who value education and sometimes go to the extent of sacrificing their limited resources to see their children through school, mostly give priority to their male children.
I come from Nsuta-Atonsu, a farming community in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, West Africa, where education is not a priority for most parents.
The heartbreaking aspect is that the few parents who value education give priority to the male child making it difficult for girls to access education. As a result only few girls are educated with most of them personally taking care of the cost.
We described such ladies as determined and courageous people who took the bold step to attain the best for themselves.
Though some of them at a point had to drop out of school the few who furthered their education to the secondary level and sometimes beyond have been able to secure significant careers serving as an inspiration to many more ladies.
My Nuclear family of ten includes my father, mother and eight children -two boys and six girls. Our father wanted the best for us and so tried with his meager resources.
However, our greatest challenge came from extended family members who could not understand why our poor parents would waste resources in educating especially the female children.
For them, girls only end up in the kitchen or marriage, catering for the husband and children.
At a point when they realized my adamant father was refusing to pay heed to their advice, they all refused to help my parents in any financially way.
Since my father’s trading activities was not lucrative enough, we sometimes had to go to school on empty stomachs and walked for hours daily to get to the school which was kilometers away from our house.
In spite of the hardship, I and my siblings determined not to drop out as other children within the community. Sometimes our teachers who knew our plight considered us. But occasionally hunger compelled us to stay out of school.
Despite the name calling from society, my great father was ready to invest in us by sacrificing as much as he could.
After secondary school, I had to sponsor myself and therefore started trading to make some money at age 17.
Growing up, all I wanted was to be a banker but due to financial constraints, I had to take a break from furthering my tertiary education to rather work as an attendant in a shop.
Sometimes, when the shop was less busy I wrote down stories which I later developed into novels for sale in some basic schools in Kumasi and Accra
Three newspaper editors who saw my novels were impressed with my writing skills and encouraged me to consider journalism as a profession. So I continued as shop attendant and I undertook a two year diploma Journalism training programme in the evenings after which I gained employment in the Daily Guide, the leading private newspaper in Ghana.
Currently, I have 10 novels to my credit and have a degree in Business Communications from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.
I used part of my salary to support my parents to cater for the education of some of my siblings who are now university graduates.
I must say that the experience of other females from my community shaped my dream and vision as some of the other girls who were my age mates now live miserably.
Today, a number of prominent positions are occupied by women in Ghana. They include Georgina Wood, Chief Justice; Rose Bio Atinga, Director of administration of the Ghana Police Service; the 28 elected women Parliamentarians, not to talk of those in academia and other professions.
Though the country commenced a campaign for girl child education it was cut short sometime ago and I proposed its resumption.
Personally, I have been giving motivational talks in the schools where I sell my novels aimed at getting young girls to aspire higher.
It would be important to start a national project where women who have attained higher education could encourage parents to educate especially their girl child.
Instituting free education for girls from underprivileged families would also go a long way to help unearth skills which are being left to rot.
Educating girls is very important since they have the potential to impact society mainly because of the dominant role they play. As one Ghanaian politician once said “if you educate a man you educate an individual but if you educate a woman you educate a nation”.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Girls Transform the World 2013.