General News of Thursday, 15 November 2012
Ghanaian girls still have a less chance of enrolling in school in spite of progress made at improving access to education, a recent global report on Ghana disclosed on Wednesday.
The 10th edition of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report (EFAGMR) said 53 per cent of poor girls living in the Northern Region had never been to school.
It said more needed to be done to overcome inequalities due to poverty and gender adding that progress in education was not reaching the marginalized.
Mr Kwame Akyeampong, a policy analyst with United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), who read the report at a ceremony organized in Accra stressed that Ghana needed to invest more in the educational sector to meet the Millennium Development Goals on education.
“Among those who had completed nine years of school in 2008, 21 per cent were illiterate, about a quarter were only partially literate”, he said.
The EFAGMR aimed at tracking progress, identifying effective policy reforms and best practices in the six-pronged education goals to be achieved by 2015 as agreed upon in Senegal.
In April 2000, more than 1,100 participants from 164 countries met in Dakar, Senegal for the World Education forum and adopted the Dakar Framework for Action, Education for All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments”.
The goals are to: expand early childhood care and education, achieve universal primary education, promote learning and life skills for young people and adults, reduce adult illiteracy by 50 per cent, and to achieve gender parity and equality.
Mr Akyeampong said almost a third of young people had less than a lower secondary education and lacked the foundation skills needed for getting adequately-paid work.
“In rural areas, 48 per cent of young women aged 15-24 have less than a lower secondary education, compared to 39 per cent of young men.
Mr Akyeampong said “both the urban and rural poor suffer from poor foundation skills”, adding that only nine per cent of richest urban had less than a lower secondary education, compared with around half of the rural and urban poor.
He said Ghana was showing strong commitment towards funding education saying 5.6 per cent of Ghana’s national plans were spent on education in 2010, increasing from 4.2 per cent in 1999.
Mr Acheampong said “there are also positive signs of providing support to the disadvantaged young people through Ghana’s national plans”, adding that the Shared Growth and Development Agenda 2010-2013 included objectives to expand training for workers in the informal sector.
He said primary education was being “squeezed” in budgets and “Ghana has increased the share of the education budget earmarked for tertiary education which now makes up 23 per cent of public expenditure on education, the shares for both primary and secondary education, on the other hand, have decreased since 1999.”
With just three years to go until the deadline for the goals to be met, the global report shows that improvements in early childhood care and education for many countries have been too slow.
It also indicates that progress towards universal primary education was stalling with many young people lacking foundation skills.
The EFAGMR shows adult illiteracy remained an elusive goal and gender disparities took a variety of forms.
It also indicates that global inequality in learning outcomes remained stark because as many as 250 million children worldwide could be failing to read or write by the time they reached grade four.