*The pathetic story of Northern female students
The revelation was shocking, but that is the stark truth about the state of the country’s education system: “74.1 students in the Northern Region can’t read.” The story was very prominent on the front page of the Ghanaian Times of Thursday, March 15th, 2012.
The Ghanaian Times story reads: “Seventy-four point one [74.1%] percent of female students in the Northern region cannot read at all, a Ghana demographic and Health survey has revealed.”
According to the survey 0.7 percent is able to read a whole sentence while 1.4 percent can partially read a sentence.
The Regional Population Officer for Zangbalum- Bomahe, Naa Chief Alhassan Issahaku Amadu, who disclosed these statistics at the regional celebration of the 2012 International Women’s Day on Wednesday in Tamale, said 65% of the region’s female population had no formal education and only 6.4% had attained more than senior high school education.
The situation up north is only a microcosm of the general malaise that has hit the country’s education system.
For instance, in most parts of the country, students who sat for both the BECE scored zero with rural Ghana the most affected areas.
There is no much difference in the Senior High School results as students continue to post poor results throughout the country.
As a trend, students from the rural areas of the country are the most hit although the Atta Mills administration has been haranguing in its propagandist masterpiece that it has eliminated schools under trees in the country, suggesting that the administration is improving fast the state of the country’s education system.
However, a visit to many country-side in the country clearly shows that while majority of rural Ghana still go to school under trees, there is no urgency on the part of parents and guardians to send their wards to school because the environment is not conducive and motivational enough to compel parents to send their children to school.
The paper’s investigations also reveal that with most teachers using the school children as “bulwarks” to work on their farms, parents prefer rather their children, especially the women, to do such menial jobs for them instead of the teachers.
With most women or girls very much at a disadvantage as a result of the archaic tradition and the long help belief in some Ghanaian set-ups that the woman’s place is the kitchen, the girl-child is discriminately pinned down and even though most of them show a lot of promise in school, not much attention is paid towards their progress both by their tutors and their families.
They are therefore left at the mercy of such stone-aged traditionalists who are very much consumed perhaps about their own upbringing which was similar to what many girl-children go through currently.
But the biggest failure in the conundrum has been how successive governments had failed to address such basic inalienable rights of most girls of school-going age.
The effect as can be expected within few years, would be the continual underdevelopment of the girls whose ignorance would be preyed upon by men within the same catchment.
While Atta Mills, then a candidate in the 2008 elections, touted and boasted on various platforms that his administration had the panacea to solve the myriad problems within the education system, the only solace they take in their failure to address the decay in the education is to engage in propaganda which had always hit the rocks.
While Vice-President, John Dramani Mahama, recently boasted that government had built some 470 schools to replace most schools under trees, his information spin-doctor, Okudzeto Ablakwa, recently wrote in their all popular government’s achievement book that government has built some 6000 basic schools after just two years in office.
The prize for such reckless running of the country’s education has been the constant migration of young ladies to the capital and other big cities to engage in all manner of menial jobs including the most harrowing and debasing practice of prostitution.
Such young ladies have no choice than to move down south to carry goods and provide other forms of services for slave wages.
The men or boy counterparts often fall victims of such wicked systems that have been bequeathed to Ghanaians by clueless administrations which forte has only been lies and by exploiting the hapless situation that majority Ghanaians find themselves to win power.
The boys thus become so disillusioned and hardened by the system so much so that they end up either being hardened criminals or soothe their frustrations in the consummation of some hard drugs.
The current scenario has led many Ghanaians and stakeholders to question the campaign agenda of Prof Mills which offered hope that the country’s educational system would be sanitised under his watch and yet after three years the country’s education system is getting worse from bad.
And that has so far, been the legacy of the Mills’ administration.
The current situation is compelling many Ghanaians on which of the candidates really has realistic and practical solution to the educational malaise.
Is it Akufo-Addo of the NPP, Hassan Ayariga of the PNC, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom of the PPP, or whether Prof Mills has something new under his sleeve to take education out of the doldrums.
Akufo-Addo says under his watch, education would be free, although stakeholders are wondering where he could get the necessary funding for his gargantuan project when indeed he has not shown enough on that direction.
With the varied answers being offered by his information spinners, many are wondering whether the Akufo-Addo agenda for the country’s education system is not one of many rhetorical niceties that in the end only help to stoke up the propaganda piece to the level of it becoming an unrealistic possibility.
According to Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party, he will provide Quality Education for Every Ghanaian Child, adding that he will standardize school facilities from kindergarten to Senior High School with libraries, toilets, classrooms, kitchen, housing for teachers, playground, etc: and Ensure free and compulsory education in public schools from kindergarten to Senior High School (including computer training).
“We will deploy an “Education Police” or “School Tankassi” to enforce the compulsory aspect of our policy. An integral part of this objective will be an objective to significantly increase vocational training so that all school leavers gain employable skills. This will include a comprehensive sports programme to instill discipline and promote better health,” Dr Nduom has declared.
He offers how he intends funding that laudable idea. In the PPP’s manifesto, Dr. Nduom states that his administration will improve the performance of government by reforming state institutions to make government efficient and raise revenue to be able to pay public servants well to motivate them facilitate the work of the private sector and Ghanaian society in general.
Dr Nduom believes there is the need to look at public sector areas like the Passport Office, the DVLA, Death & Birth Registry, Ministries Department Agencies and others where although the potential to generate enough funds is great, the country has failed to realise that dream because of mass corruption in these areas.
A clean up of these sectors, according to Dr Nduom, will mean raising a lot more funds to support many of his lofty ideas including that of education.
It is also the belief of Dr Nduom that the only way to beat poverty is through education. That means the Ghanaian would be empowered by way of capacity building to strive for a decent life of his own and also be able to choose between lies and falsehoods.
Dr Nduom has also stated categorically that under his administration, women would be empowered assuring that his administration will have a minimum representation of 20 percent
women because he takes solace in the fact that “When you educate a boy, you educate one person. When you educate a girl you educate the whole village.”
In the opinion of Naa Amadu, access to quality education could brighten the future of females in the rural areas and lead to poverty reduction.
His views are exactly what has been the central focus of Dr. Nduom’s policy on education.
Naa Amadu further stressed that it was critical for females to be empowered through mentorship and role modeling, to help them improve their self-esteem behaviour and educational progress, stressing the need to create an open door system for leadership development of females and involving them, adding that government needs to increase the political will in the implementations of girl education policies.
Source Ghanaian Times