The day, which is celebrated annually on October 11, is used to observe ways of helping girls around the world to overcome their development challenges.
This year’s celebration had the theme, “Providing quality higher level education for girls: a right, not a privilege.”
Mrs. Catherine Abla Nutsugah-Mikado, Director of Girls Education Unit at Ghana Education Service, in a speech read on her behalf, said even though gender parity has been attained at the basic level, the gender gap widens at the higher level of education.
According to her, some of the challenges affecting the girl’s retention in school are financial constraints at home, inadequate gender friendly sanitary facilities, lack of role models in most communities, teenage pregnancy, early marriage and overburdening household chores.
She added that challenges such as low self esteem, gender biases in classrooms, sexual harassment, teasing and bullying by boys, inadequate guidance and counselling, among others also affect the ability of girls to achieve higher education.
She noted that with such challenges, there was the need for more strategies to address them and ensure that females who form more than half of the country’s population achieve quality higher education.
She stated that the quest to promote girl-child education does not mean advocates want the neglect of boys’ education but rather to ensure gender parity and equal opportunities at all educational levels.
In addition, she called on stakeholders to support government to provide gender friendly sanitary facilities in schools.
Parents, she said, must desist from pushing their girls into marriage, and must reduce the high expenditure on social events to support their children’s education.
She also appealed to parents to refrain from over burdening their girls with household chores but rather show keen interest in their aspirations to serve as a motivational tool to help them excel in education.
Mrs Nutsugah-Mikado urged district assemblies to provide financial support for programmes on girls’ education as well as initiate scholarship schemes for needy girls.
She called on teachers and head teachers to serve as role models to the girls and guide them to identify their potentials through the formation and activities of girls’ clubs in the schools.
While calling on the boys to avoid teasing and bullying their girl mates, she urged the girls to be ambitious in life and study very hard to achieve them.
She advised them to avoid negative peer influence and other social vices that would make them drop out after the basic level of Education.
Mrs Margaret Frempong-Kore, Tema Metropolitan Director of Education, for her part, said her outfit wanted all children regardless of their gender, to achieve their full potential, and therefore, urged parents must be committed to actively raise the quality of life for their children.
Mrs. Frempong-Kore said the theme was most appropriate as it reminds parents, teachers, traditional leaders and other stakeholders to give the girl-child an equal opportunity to education through the provision of practical step by step assistance.
Other speakers included Mrs Veronica Adjato-Ntem, immediate past Tema Metropolitan Director of Education who chaired the Durbar.
They all stressed the need for the retention of girls in school up to the tertiary level.
School children drawn from both public and private sectors in the metropolis entertained guests with poetry recitals, cultural dance, choral songs, drama and fashion show.