Change Magazine September 2017 Issue - Page 14

INSIDER ISSUE ENDING CHALLENGES IN GIRLS’ EDUCATION Gadri Pericles “If you educate a man, you educate an individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation,” says the Ghanaian scholar Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey. This statement still holds true to this day. The same way, I believe my commitments and efforts to fight until all our girls and women receive if not the best at least a larger extent of education rather than hawking the streets. My name is Gadri Pericles, a young leader and a strong advocate for girls’ education. I am currently enrolled at African Leadership Academy 2017 in South Africa. I will discuss some of the numer ous practical challenges thwarting the education of girls in many parts of the world, especially the sub- Saharan Region of Africa where I come from and suggest some practical solutions to remedy the situation. Many great women have accomplished many great things on earth. They are seen as role models, mothers and great leaders who have redefined society. Prominent among them are Queen Elizabeth of England, Chief Justice Georgina Wood of the Republic of Ghana, and Mrs. Theodosia Okoh, a developer of the Flag of Ghana. All of these great women share 10 Change Magazine September 2017 a common characteristic and it is none other than the education they received as girls. This then depicts the wisdom in educating the girls of our society. Educating girls by my own definition is to equip them with the requisite skills, knowledge and understanding that will enable them to not only help themselves but also their families, societies and countries. Education is the key to unlocking the great potential locked within young women. It can guide them to develop to their full potential and as well put them on the path of success in life. Dr. Aggrey said that one educated woman will yield to generations of educated children especially girls which will eventually create a society of creative thinkers and innovators to actually propel nations for greater developments. Educated women are healthy and as adults they have healthier children as they are more likely to immunize them against childhood diseases. Women who are educated are less likely to be poor. This is because they earn a living from their professional jobs or their own enterprises established from their own creative initiatives. As women become educated, they aspire to become leaders and thus expand the country’s leadership and entrepreneurial talents. This boosts the economic growth of the country. It is clear that educating women has numerous and important benefits to the individual and society at large. Education is a right but it is still beyond the reach of many young people most especially young girls. According to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), children are supposed to have access to education irrespective of the challenges thwarting their education. But what do we see today? There are over 55 countries in Africa which still record high cases of girls’ illiteracy. This has been a complete failure on everyone’s part to get as many girls as boys in school. This is because a child without education is more likely to be a girl than a boy. So I ask, what are the causes of the failures or challenges? Who is causing them? What must be done? Admittedly, girls’ education has been a challenge and countries should make efforts to salvage the situation. On July 2009, the President of Nigeria, President Change Magazine September 2017 11