Nearly a billion of people can not read and write and 300 million of our school-aged children are not in school. Two-thirds of those who can not read and write are women, 60% of children not in school are girls, (World Bank 1990). Many countries still do not provide basic education for all children. Numerous students are not in school and those lucky enough to be enrolled in primary drop out before completion and the level of achievement students attain is often low. These problems affect girls more than boys. In Africa, for instance girl primary school enrolment accounts for only 57% of the school-age population, compared with 75% to boys (1). The education of female is paramount to the development of a nation. Women are involved in all kinds of activities both at the community level and the regional level: Farming, trading, child bearing and general household chores are all associated with women. Hence there is an urgent need to make education accessible to them to enable them contribute meaningfully to nation development.
Numerous studies have shown that female education is a pre-requisite for greater social autonomy for women and for improving the socio-economic status of their families. Inequality in female access to education has continued despite commitments by various governments to the goal of formal education (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10).
Another worth point for emphasizing girls' education is the weak base from which it is developing. Indeed, notwithstanding sensitization programs, seminars, policy statements and so no, many of the good intentions to improve girls' education remain at theoretical rather than the implementation phase.
The thinking of the rural man that the female's main office is the kitchen has contributed greatly to the low education of females in the country. However, it is noted that countries with smaller gender gaps in education have better indicators of social welfare. For instance, lower fertility rates, lower infant mortality rates, improved nutrition, increased life expectancy and better opportunities for their children in the next generation are social benefits that will arise if more females are provided with proper education (2), (3).
The Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) is dedicated to fighting poverty and AIDS in rural communities in Africa by educating girls. CAMFED began in 1993 by supporting 32 girls in rural Zimbabwe. In 2006, 300,900 children benefited from CAMFED's programme of educational support in some of the poorest regions of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana and Tanzania. CAMFED has helped to transform the lives of young women like Lucia, who was able to finish secondary school with CAMFED's support.
These young women-among them doctors, lawyers, teachers and businesswomen-are now sharing the benefits of their education with their communities.
CAMFED was named International Aid and Development Charity of the year in 2003 and currently co-chairs the United nation Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI). In 2005, CAMFED was awarded a prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship by eBay founder Jeff Skoll and Executive Director Ann Cotton was awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list for her service to girls' education in rural Africa. CAMFED patrons include internationally-acclaimed actor and renowned author.
The Nyariga Doone Mothers' Club is a community-based NGO committed to ensuring high enrolment of girls in schools, especially in the Bolgatanga District. The Club encourages women to send their daughters to school and to keep them in school until they graduate.
In the rural areas, the education of the female child is not so much valued as compared to the male child. As a result, boys are sent to school at the expense of the girl child. Prevalent factors such as outmoded cultural practices, ignorance, legal restrictions, family cost, including opportunity cost, socio-cultural barriers, early marriages, gender biases in classroom practice, inaccessibility of schools, cultural perceptions of boys' superior abilities, poor performance of girls on examination, teenage pregnancies, lack of parental support and many others are the constraints to female education.
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