Tamale, Feb. 3, – Alhaji Shani Alhassan Shaibu, Northern Regional Minister has appealed to stakeholders to support government efforts aimed at enhancing access to quality girls education in the Northern region.

He said partners in the education sector should play a key role to support government in a bid to help improve upon the access to quality girls child education in the Northern sector as part of cost-effective measures to improve the standard of girls.

Alhaji Shaibu made the appeal while speaking at the STAR-Ghana Foundation’s zonal forum for the Northern sector on girls’ education in Ghana.

The event was organized under the Gender Rights and Empowerment Programme (G-REP) by STAR Ghana Foundation in collaboration with Songtaba Organization in Tamale.

It brought together development partners, government agencies and Civil Society Organisations to provide a platform for building consensus among stakeholders and renew commitment toward collaborations on strategies to secure girls continuous access to quality education.

He said girls’ education has been plagued by a lot of challenges including poverty, child marriage, socio-cultural norms that devalue the importance of female education which he said remain the barriers of most of the girls not going to school in the Northern sector.

He averred that the latest Population and Housing Census conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service indicated that in Ghana 244,731 girls between the aged of six to 14 years have never attended school.

Hon. Alhaji Shaibu stated that three out of every 10 of these girls are from the Northern region which has the highest number of girls who have never attended school with 73,516 girls followed by the Savannah with 27,930 and North East region 22,857.

He stated that “These three regions also have the highest percentage of girls currently not attending school or never attended school before.

He therefore advises stakeholders to continue to work with the government in the education sector to help address the girls education challenges by embarking on widespread advocacy on the importance of girls education.

For his part, Alhaji Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu, the Executive Director of STAR Ghana Foundation charged traditonal leaders, parents, religious authorities and community leaders to be abreast with the issues and rise up to the occasion and support the need to tackle the pervasive barriers to girls’ continuous access to quality education especially in the northern country.

According to him, education remains the key to the continuing progress and development of any society which needed much attention to address the challenges facing the sector.

He revealed that as part of strategies to promote girls child education in the country, STAR Ghana Foundation has implemented the Gender Rights and Empowerment Programme (G-REP) which is a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) funded project, aimed at contributing to increased access to rights and quality social services for women and girls.

Alhaji Amidu added that the programme which covers 42 districts in 6 regions, included: Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Central, Eastern and Volta regions is intended at increasing the effectiveness of civil society advocacy for women and girls’ political and social rights, particularly rights to inclusive and quality social services and participation in public governance at the national and sub-national levels and to also promote girls education.

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