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United Nations urges increased attention for girl’s education on International Day of the Girl Child
October 11, 2013: More girls are in school in Ghana today than ever
before, but the country’s work in educating girls remains unfinished, according to the United
The United Nations in Ghana is therefore using the International Day of the Girl Child to call
attention to the need to increase access to education – especially secondary education – to all
girls. There is overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a
powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent
positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome: from reductions in
mortality and fertility, poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and
Ghana has been a role model for many African countries in the provision of free basic
education, with gender parity rates amongst the highest in the West and Central African region,
shared the UN Resident Coordinator, Ruby Sandhu-Rojon. “However, there are still regional
inequities in girls’ education. Girls from the poorest households in the Northern Region are
nearly three times more likely to be out of school compared with the national average. Fewer
than 45% of girls attend secondary school in Ghana.”
This year’s theme, innovating for Girls’ Education, urges everybody to find creative, effective
and efficient solutions to involve more girls in the classroom. For instance, in Ghana, the UN
works with the Ghana Education Service to provide incentives to girls in higher grades to attend
school, mobilize secondary school scholarships for brilliant girls’ from deprived homes, use
sports to attract girls to school and create Girls Clubs to encourage girls and their peers to stay
in school. In some schools, sanitary pads are now kept in first aid boxes for girls to access when
the need arises in school – meaning they can attend school throughout the month.
“Much progress in getting girls into primary school has been made, but our work in educating
girls remains unfinished particularly for the poorest and most disadvantaged girls. We need
renewed commitment and innovative solutions. Business as usual is not enough.” Said Ms.
Susan Namondo Ngongi , UNICEF Country Representative.
The UNFPA Representative in Ghana Dr. Bernard Coquelin said adolescent girls in primary and
secondary school who are at high risk of dropping out of school due to early marriage and
teenage pregnancy need a special focus for Ghana’s demographic dividend to materialize.
“An educated girl has better opportunities, as she is more likely to get a job and earn a higher
wage, and her nation’s economy is likely to benefit as a result,” said Pippa Bradford, WFP
Ghana Representative/Country Director.
Educated young women have smaller families and healthier children. They are less likely to
marry young or die in childbirth, more likely to send their children to school, and better able to
protect themselves and their children from malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, and sexual
exploitation. An educated girl has better opportunities, as she is more likely to get a job and
earn a higher wage, and her nation’s economy is likely to benefit as a result. An extra year of
primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 per cent and an extra year of secondary
school by 15 to 25 per cent. One percentage point increase in female education raises the
average level of GDP by 0.3 percentage points.
Finally, on this important occasion, recognizing the need for fresh and creative perspectives to
propel girls’ education forward, the UN calls for innovation in partnerships, policies, resource
utilization, community mobilization, and most of all, the engagement of young people
For more information contact:
Media contact:
Doris Mawuse Aglobitse
UNFPA Ghana / Email: aglobitse
Cynthia Prah
National Information Officer
UN Information Centre, Accra | tel. +233 28 5100 313| email: