Girls' education barriers and solutions
Education is one of the most important investments a country can make for its people and its future. It is critical to reducing poverty and inequality. The high education level a country has, the more progress it can realize in all aspects. Egypt like many developing countries has a high level of poverty, 25.2 percent in 2010/11(World Bank), which means a lot of consequences, ignorance, misleading beliefs, gender based violence low sanitary level, high level of children mortality. ‘‘Although only a little over half of the population lives in rural areas, more than 78% of the poor and 80% of the extreme poor live there. These income disparities are reinforced by the gaps in social indicators, where virtually all health indicators and literacy rates are worse in Upper Egypt than in Lower Egypt and worse in rural areas than in urban areas. Illiteracy rates among young women in Upper Egypt are 24 percent, twice the rates of their male counterparts.’’ World Bank For girls living in poverty, every stage of life can be a struggle as they don’t enjoy the same education, choices and opportunities as boys. But why girls, in specific are the most who are influenced by the poverty of a country?
In fact girls face many challenges when living in a poor community. It's not only Egypt that has many reasons why girls miss out school. Below are some of the challenges girls face that prevent them from attending schools.
1. Many families are unable to meet the costs of putting their children through school; as a result they are forced to choose who to send to school. Mostly, it is the girl that is kept back. Boys are seen as the future breadwinners of the family. Many believe that girls are better-off if married early and will be more financially secure with a husband. So, many adolescent girls around the world are subject to early forced marriages, often with men who are considerably older than them. This brings extra responsibilities for girls, including more household tasks and childcare, leaving little or no time for education.
2. Because education of girls is not the priority, girls may face sexual and non-sexual violence from men around. When girls reach puberty, many will face an increased threat of abuse and violence, including sexual harassment, incest and female genital mutilation. This can result in both physical and mental trauma, loss of self-esteem, low attendance, high-dropout rates and under-performance. A World Bank study in Ecuador found more than one in five adolescent girls had been victims of sexual abuse at school.
3. Lack of enough school places, force children to travel long distances to reach their schools, especially in rural communities. This makes parents less likely to allow daughters to attend schools due to issues of safety and security.
4. Girls may not feel school is a safe or secure environment if, for instance, there are no separate toilets for boys and girls. Often, girls do not attend school during menstruation because of a lack of clean, safe and private sanitation facilities.
5. Ignorance about the importance of educating girls.
To be honest and realistic, No country could implement all of reforming strategies at once or alone. First of all, governments should undertake an analysis of the particular barriers facing girls to selecting a package of the most pertinent interventions. Government can make use of the private sector to help solving some of the logistics issues like building new schools and provide it with the requires facilities. Below are some the measure that should be considered to solve the problem.
• Making education free and compulsory is the keystone of any national plan to eliminate gender disparity in education.
• Explaining the advantages of sending girls to school can make a real difference. In Malawi, for example, the initial result of abolishing school fees in 1994 was an increase in enrolment of almost 70 per cent (UNICEF)
• Employ a high proportion of female teachers. This will make girls and their families feel more secure to send girls to the school.
• Promoting health in schools. Teaching HIV/AIDS Prevention & Personal hygiene Education program.
• Eliminating gender bias from textbooks and learning materials.
• Enabling young mothers to return to school. In many countries girls who become pregnant while at school are forbidden to return to their studies.
• Providing alternative education for girls education centers established outside the formal school system or use E-learning as an alternative method to encourage girls to learn if they can't attend school for any reason.
• Locating schools closer to children’s homes, if necessary by establishing small, multigrade or multiage schools in remote rural areas.
• Involving the local community, by integrating their efforts with the government.