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Educating a Girl Child

Educating a girl child is very important, It goes beyond getting girls into school. It is also about ensuring that girls learn and feel safe while in school; complete all levels of education with the skills to effectively compete in the labor market; learn the socio-emotional and life skills necessary to navigate and adapt to a changing world; make decisions about their own lives; and contribute to their communities and the world.

Gayaza High School
Gayaza High School

Former US president Barack Obama once said: When women succeed, nations are more safe, secure and prosperous.

Why A Girl Child

Better educated women tend to be healthier, participate more in the formal labor market, earn higher incomes, have fewer children, marry at a later age, and enable better health care and education for their children, should they choose to become mothers. All these factors combined can help lift households, communities, and nations out of poverty.

Educated women are now looked upon with dignity and honor. They become a source of inspiration for millions of young girls who make them their role-models.

Educating the girl child will help in empowering them to come forward and contribute towards the prosperity and development of the country.

Educated women are more likely to invest back into their families. Roughly 90 percent of an income will usually go back to the family.

Educating of the girl child helps in the improvement of a good life. The identity of the girl won’t be lost. She has the ability to read and learn about her own rights. She won’t be trodden down about her rights.

Educated girls bring an awareness of the important of hygiene and health. Through education, they can lead a healthy life style. The women that are educated can carter for their children better.

Nabisunsa Girls School
Nabisunsa Girls School

Hindrances of a Girl Child Education

Poverty remains the most important factor for determining whether a girl can access an education.
Studies consistently reinforce that girls who face multiple disadvantages — such as low family income, living in remote or undeserved locations, disability or belonging to a minority ethno-linguistic group. Because of the high poverty rates, girls are usually expected to work as a way to increase the family’s income.

Uneducated girls are highly susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases as well as other health complications. Health issues put girls at a risk of not continuing their education.

RELATED: Why Higher Education Is Important.

Violence also negatively impacts access to education and a safe environment for learning.
There is a high rate of women who receive money for sex before turning the age 18 and also experienced physical or sexual violence.

Child marriage is also a critical challenge. Child brides are much more likely to drop out of school and complete fewer years of education than their peers who marry later. This affects the education and health of their children, as well as their ability to earn a living.

Girls are less likely to attend school during their menstrual cycle which creates gaps in a girl’s education. This is caused by inadequate infrastructure and resources for good hygiene in schools, especially for girls. Furthermore, girls often feel ashamed and embarrassed about their cycle because women’s health education is not a priority.

In Uganda, teenage pregnancy rates are some of the highest in the world. The national average is 24 percent; however, statistics change from region to region. The poorest regions have the highest percentage of teenage pregnancy.

Every day, girls face barriers to education caused by poverty, cultural norms and practices, poor infrastructure, violence, and fragility.

What the government should do

  1. Hiring and training qualified female teachers
  2. Since Girls’ Voices matter, the government needs to support the power, leadership and activism of girls and young women.
  3. Providing conditional cash transfers, stipends or scholarships
  4. Ensuring gender-sensitive curricula and pedagogies
  5. Addressing violence against girls and women.
  6. Ensure that there is free Education and monitor girls stay safe in schools and complete all the levels.
  7. Ending child/early marriage.
  8. Targeting boys and men to be a part of discussions about cultural and societal practices.

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An African proverb says, “If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family – and a whole nation.” By sending a girl to school, she is far more likely to ensure that her children also receive an education. As many claim, investing in a girl’s education is investing in a nation.

The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) reported that more than 700,000 girls in Uganda between the ages of six to 12 have never attended school. In fact, around half of girls between the ages of 15 to 24 are illiterate and four in five girls do not attend high school.