18 February 2013

Ghana: Girls Advised to Pursue Technical Skills Training

Cape Coast — The Central Regional Director of the Department of Women, Madam Paulina Abayege, on Thursday, noted the need for girls in the region to be encouraged to pursue technical skills training for them to compete with their male counterparts in the same field.

Speaking at the regional launch of a campaign to promote girls' enrollment into non-traditional professional trades at Cape Coast, under the theme "Women's empowerment; A key to sustainable socio-economic development," Madam Abayege said with the support of the Government of Ghana (GoG), the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs was embarking on a Gender Responsive Skills and Community development Project to help the girls acquire basic skills to be self-employed.

She stressed that in the 2011/2012 academic year, the project awarded scholarships to four girls each from the districts in the region, and in 2012/2013, the number of girls awarded increased to six per each district.

Madam Abayege stated that the project, under one of its interventions, was aimed at increasing girls enrolment into non-traditional professional trades dominated by boys, and perceived as their preserved field.

In a speech read for her, the outgoing Central Regional Minister, Mrs. Ama Benyiwa-Doe, regretted that though Ghana had achieved gender parity in primary education, girls' enrolment in Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) was relatively low, accounting for only 15 percent of total enrolment, according to the Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS 5).

She noted that the current rapid technological development and forces of globalisation were likely to lead to radical changes in the job market for both men and women, adding that human development, in which education was a vital part, must keep with these societal changes.

Mrs. Benywa-Doe emphasised that the government of Ghana, through the Ghana Education Service, had on-going educational reforms, and also revised the curriculum to make provisions for both boys and girls to study technical and vocational subjects at the various levels.

This, she noted, was part of the comprehensive policy framework of the government to narrow the gap between the national education system and the job market.

Emphasising on some of the challenges faced in sending the girl child to technical and vocational schools, she said most parents perceived technical and vocational education as a "hard and hazardous" field, and were, therefore, reluctant to expose the girls to it, but appealed to them to encourage the girls into that lucrative field.

Mrs. Benyiwa-Doe also stated that ignorance had been a challenge, since the majority of the students were not aware of the opportunities in the technical and vocational fields, and, therefore, cannot grab the advantage. She, therefore, asked all to help educate the girls on the field.

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