No girl has ever completed the Sowoubea Junior High School (JHS) in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region, since its establishment about 25 years ago.
The highest education level girls in the area have ever attained is JHS “2” before being sent into marriage.
The Upper West Regional Education Officer of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Madam Annacleta Viiru who disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, in Wa, said the situation was worrying as the girls were denied their right to education and development.
“Last year, about eight girls were sent into marriage and two of the girls are pregnant with one having given birth.”
According to her, child marriages were rampant in the area and perpetrators when found out were only cautioned and made to sign a bond of good behaviour and the girls taken back to complete JHS before getting married.
This, is indeed, very worrying because inspite of the practice being unlawful, parents and families in that part of the region continue to practice the primitive child marriage. The practice has no doubt curtailed the education of so many girls who may have been educated to the highest level.
It is disturbing that the government and stakeholders continue to educate communities on the negative impact of such practices but to no avail.
It is shameful that such negative practices including teenage pregnancy elopement, abduction and forced puberty rites still persist and affecting education of girls in that part of the country.
The government, through the Girls Education Unit of the GES we are told had instituted pragmatic measures to arrest the situation but so far, those measures have remained in the offices because the communities have not embraced them.
The Ghanaian Times is worried that after 25 years of the establishment of the school, not a single girl has gone to Senior High School let alone to the university and therefore, there is not much that can be said about girls’ education in the community.
We regret that the situation is widespread for which reason we are calling on the GES to focus attention on that area in order to reverse the trend.
We also call for stringent measures to be adopted and severe punishment meted out to perpetrators of these backward cultural practices in that that is impeding the education of girls from that area.
The girls in that area deserve to go to school in order to have the same opportunities as other girls in all parts of the country so as to become responsible parents to contribute to national development in future.