The Girls’ Education Officer in the Upper West Region has revealed that not a single girl has ever completed the Sawoubea Junior High School in the Wa East District since the school was set up more than two decades ago.
Madam Annacleta Viiru, the Girls’ Education Officer for the Upper West Region indicated that the paramount cause of this menace is the early marriages prevalent in the region. She revealed that due to early marriages, the highest educational qualification for girls in Sawoubea and its environs is JHS 2 education.
She expressed concern about the alarming situation in the vicinity because it is robbing young girls in the area their right to education, social and intellectual development.
She pleaded for support from all stakeholders of education to fight this cultural practice which is detrimental to the development of the girl-child.
She said apart from early marriages, several factors like teenage pregnancy, elopement; abduction and puberty rights are affecting the education of girls in the Region.
Stating a case in point to media , Madam Annacleta recounted that last year, a total of eight girls were taken from school and were given off to marriage by their guardians. Teachers of these girls reported the development to the Wa East District Gender Desk Officer and Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) and the matter was pursued
She, however, added that at the time intervention from the appropriate quarters came, two of the girls were pregnant and one had already given birth. According to Annacleta, people who were found culpable in the act were made to sign a bond of good behaviour after a strong caution was given to them.
It was also required of them to release the girls to go back to school to complete their education before getting married.
noted that interventional policies such as the formation of a Girl Child Education Network, comprising various stakeholders, Girls Clubs in some schools, with selected mentors to help boost their self-esteem, self-worth and confidence level have been rolled out to fight the menace.
She is also calling for stiffer punishment to perpetrators of the acts to serve as a deterrent to others.
Madam Annacleta pleaded that her office is constrained with the needed logistics, therefore the government, private persons, corporate institutions must come to her aid in order to help fight the situation.