Despite the enormous progress of Universal Primary Education which has raised primary school enrollment from 2.7 million in 1997 to over 8.2 million in recent years, girls continue to suffer severe disaantages and exclusion in education systems throughout their lives.
Research reveals that primary school completion rates are low in Uganda. The hazard of dropping out of school is lower at the beginning and at the end of the primary education cycle, but higher in the middle classes. This is because children who have persisted to the end are more motivated and perhaps have more resources to enable them stay in school. The rate of dropouts is highest after four or five years of education. It is conceivable that girls in the mid-range of primary school especially those who started school over-age are more likely to drop out. This is due to a number of factors, including early marriage, early pregnancies, peer pressure, illness, disability, low self-esteem, high mobility, disintegrated families, and the need to look after their children.
The child’s family background greatly affects their educational outcomes and is commonly viewed as the most important determinant of schooling achievement. Parents have an amazing impact upon their girl child’s academic success or failure. Negative parental attitudes about school, low expectations, and poor parenting style contribute to poor performance and ultimately to school dropout.
Parental socioeconomic status in terms of education, occupation, and income, family stability, preferences, attitudes, and how well families are informed about the importance of education in society greatly determine the child’s retention at school.
Girls’ education is both an inherent right and a vital stepping stone to attaining other development objectives. Providing girls with an education helps break the cycle of poverty, educated women are less likely to marry early and against their will, less likely to die in childbirth, more likely to have healthy babies with reduced mortality rates, and are more likely to send their children to school. Education leads to greater self-esteem and self-confidence, and opens up new horizons for girls, enabling them to discover their own potential, to develop themselves fully and increase their resistance to gender discrimination.
On economic gains, an educated woman is better equipped to increase family income and resolve family problems satisfactorily. Her family’s wellbeing thus gets a big boost.
Educating girls is the surest path to smaller, healthier and better-educated families. Women spend more time than men do in caring for children. Dropping out of school presents the girl child with various challenges All parents are challenged to consider the long-term consequences associated with denying the girl child this fundamental right.
Education is the process of impacting, learning and gaining skills, knowledge, morals and behavior. It enables the child to realise his or her full potential to think, ask questions and judge independently. The lack of education denies the girl child knowledge and skills needed to aance their status. However, Education alone is obviously not enough to solve the world’s problems, but it remains an essential factor in any development activity.
Ms Iyebu is the projects officer at Global Rights Alert and has special interest in children and women.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor