Nana Konadu Opens Methodist Primary School At Yeji

29 06 2010

Nana Konadu Agyeman RawlingsAddress By Nana K. Agyeman-Rawlings At The Commissioning And Dedication Of A School Block At Methodist Primary School At Yeji
Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana
24 June 2010

Mr Chairman
Distinguished Guests
Ladies And Gentlemen
My Dear Children

I am very grateful for the opportunity to be here with you this morning and thank you for the warm reception and welcome that we have received.

Today we are here to commission a school block for the Methodist Primary School to reduce the overcrowded situation that we originally had here.

Education is one of the major cornerstones of a developing country and every government should seek to reinforce its commitment to children’s education. In Ghana, the target for admission and retention for children in school is usually 50 percent males and 50 percent females. This has been very clearly defined in the government’s educational reforms. These reforms had the Science, Mathematics and Arts which included cookery, agriculture, needlework, carpentry etc., were studied by both males and females. This step in our educational system has brought a level of gender balance into the curriculum.

In Ghana we in the NGO’s pushed our government for the girl-child educational program.

Today, not withstanding the progress that has been made in terms of global blueprints for promoting women’s welfare, the plight of many women world wide remains, in many respects disheartening. Measured by almost all criteria, in practically all areas of human endeavour, women remain the most deprived, most discriminated against, the most powerless in each society.

Every person concerned about the empowerment of the African woman must be concerned about the African girl child who is so often ill-prepared to take up her role as an effective adult participant in the inexorable process of modernization.

The legacies of cruel socio-cultural practices and prejudices which humiliate women and deny them their most basic rights worsen the situation. It is in the small towns and villages of the rural areas, within developing countries that the plight of women can be seen most vividly.

The girl-child therefore in her own right requires particular attention not only in order to facilitate her own life but also because the woman she will become is entirely dependent on the kind of girl-hood she has.

The ravages of malnutrition, diseases, illiteracy, unemployment and abject poverty, take a heavy toll.

This is why we assert that international summits, conferences, and workshops only work where the individual countries have put policy structures in place to change the foundation for the better.

We are looking at education that empowers, we are talking about education that gives skills and builds self confidence.

The emphasis on the education of the girl-child has been questioned by many, and some of us have given moral, legal, socio-economic and pragmatic reasons why the girl-child’s education is of utmost importance, but today, i will be the first to admit that with all the emphasis we put on the girl-child, we seem to have left the other vital part in our national development, i.e. the boy child.

One of the objectives of the rights of the child in Ghana is to remove discriminatory practices that hinder or affect their development – the right to quality education being one of them.  in In the case of the girl child, we had to use strategies that would promote advocacy and social mobilisation; we had to use training and recruitment of more female teachers to serve as role models for the girl child; we had to make male and female teachers more gender sensitive; we had to make the curriculum more relevant to the girls’ aspirations. Other strategies that were adopted involved increasing community participation and involvement in education; lowering costs to parents so they would send their girl children to school.

To ensure the effective implementation of the above strategies, a girl’s education unit was established within the basic education division of the Ghana Education service. Enrolment ratios were initially lowered to give scholarship schemes to girls for the first five years of the free and compulsory universal basic educational programme (fcube). The impact of this scholarship scheme was evaluated and the effect on enrolment of the girl child was assessed. With all these in place, there was an improvement in the national statistics showing a mass improvement on the number of girls that started from primary school and followed through into the tertiary institution.

The effective utilisation of a country’s human resource requires that all groups have an equal opportunity; education being the most vital to equip the individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills.

Having done so much for the girl child, what do we do for the boy child who seems to be lagging behind?

I personally think that it is time we encouraged the boy child in his education to bring a balance into proportion into the country’s educated population because if women constitute 50 percent of the population, the men constitute the other 50 percent so we cannot exclude the participation of either gender. The inevitable negative results will definitely be a drastic loss of necessary human capital.

It is for this reason that I now appreciate the importance of bringing a good balance to both the boy and girl child in their education.

It is very clear that when women in society become educated, it is not only their economic, social and political integration into the modern areas of society that are enhanced, but also society’s freedom from negative attitudes are also removed. We have reached a level in our development where it is obvious to all who care to see that many more male children are taking their schooling for granted.

All of us, who head women’s organisations, work with children and have trumpeted the girl child’s education programme should now turn part of our attention to the boy child’s educational development. We see them in our markets; we see them on our streets; we see them in the corners at night, looking visionless. It is our responsibility to refocus their minds on their education and their future.

  • How do we embark on propagating the boy child’s education and still maintain our advocacy for the girl child as well?
  • How do we encourage the boy child without going back to the old adage of ‘a woman’s place is in the home?
  • How do we encourage the boy child and still get rid of the deeply ingrained prejudices and assumptions regarding the role of women?

There has to be a systematic conscientisation and education of our society and particularly the boy children on their important roles in our national development too. We want our boy children to grow up to be men with confidence, sound mind and integrity; we want our boy children not to feel intimidated by the progress of the girls, but to realise that there are opportunities that they also can benefit from. We want our boy children to develop themselves into a strong resource base capable of coping with difficulties and challenges of the modern world.

Today we are here to commission this school, which is under the Methodist church of Ghana, and to dedicate this school to you the children of Yeji. This commissioning and dedication of this public school block should serve as the beginning of a new mind-set for you the children to take into cognizance all the other things i have outlined earlier. Above all, to know that with this fundamental knowledge, your attitudes, your values, your behavioural patterns will help in developing your potential so that it brings your focus onto your community and country.

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