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Journal of Education and Practice ISSN 2222-1735 (Paper) ISSN 2222-288X (Online) Vol.4, No.6, 2013

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Factors Affecting Girls’Completion of Senior High Schools in Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Area 2.

Francis Hull Adams1* Margaret B. Lemaire2 Kojo Amuah Prah3, 1. Lecturer: Holy Child College of Education, Box 245 Takoradi, Ghana Principal: Holy Child College of Education, Box 245 Takoradi, Ghana (kojoprah@yahoo.com) 3. Vice principal: Holy Child College of Education, Box 245 Takoradi, Ghana (margaretlemaire@yahoo.com) *Email of the corresponding author: hullaf@yahoo.com

Abstract The aim of this work was to find out the impeding factors which lead to the drop out of Girls in senior high schools in Sekondi Takoradi. Descriptive research design was used. Two research questions were raised to guide the study. Frequency Tables and percentages were used to analyse data. The sample of the study was made up of 170 consisting of ; 50 successful Senior high school graduates (SSHG); 60 Drop out Senior high school girls (DSHG); 50 Continuing Senior high school girls ( CSHG) and 10 teachers. Purposive sampling technique was used to select SSHG, DSHG, TRS while stratified random sample technique was used to sample the Continuing students (CSHS). The result revealed that Government, parents and teachers are to blame for the non completion of Senior high school by most of the girls in Sekondi Takoradi Keywords: Completion rate, Drop out, Gender disparity, Teacher motivation, Parental motivation Introduction One measure of gender equality in education is the Gender Parity Index (GPI), the ratio of girls to boys enrolled at a particular level of education (UNESCO, 2011). GPIs worldwide in 2008 indicated continued exclusion of girls from schooling. According to UNESCO, less than two- thirds of countries with data have gender parity or equal enrolment of girls and boys, at the primary level, and only around a third of countries at the secondary level. Yet most regions have seen impressive increases in girls’ school enrolment both at the primary and secondary levels in the last decade (UNESCO 2011). In Ghana, the governments’ policy on girl-child education is documented in the Free Compulsory Universal Basic education programme (FCUBE) of 1995. The third component of the programme (Access and participation) stresses the need to have gender equity in enrolment of all children of school going age, and to ensure high retention rate for the girl- child during the period of basic Education (Sekyere, 2009). According to the government white paper on the report of the Education reform Review Committee ( 2004), gender equality is a problem across all levels of education, but particularly so at the SHS level where only 42.7% of students are females. This gives a picture of gender inequality nationwide in Senior High Schools. To address the problem of the disparity, the white paper stated that “ Government will take steps to enhance gender equity at all levels and programmes of education with the planned attainment of universal basic education for ages 4 to 15 by 2020”(pp.40). Gender inequality however refers to the uneven representations of boys or girls in our schools. In most cases it is girls who are unfairly represented. Gender discrimination has been with us since time immemorial. It has however assumed a disturbing trend these days rearing its ugly head in almost every facet of life not only in education. Some of the areas where gender irregularities also occur are: employment, the home and also in politics. The focus of this research however is on the disparities in the educational sector. Women in Ghana are generally perceived as second to men hence are always given certain treatments which are purported to commensurate with their perceived status in the society. In the traditional Ghanaian home, when there is a boy and a girl, preference in most cases is given to the boy in the area of education neglecting the girl. The girl- child’s future therefore hangs in a balance because education is an important key to development. In many parts of Ghana, some parents consider formal education for girls as a waste of resources because the girls would end up as wives in men’s homes. Some parents also believe that the main priority of a woman is to get married and raise children. This is considered an achievement (Sekyere 2009). In a speech delivered at the 31st speech and prize-giving day at the St Monica’s’ Secondary school at Asante Mampong, and reported by the Daily Graphic of Tuesday 1st March, 2005. Dr Kofi Konadu Sarpong talking about gender equity observed that improving gender equity in the educational system was very necessary to attain the goals of the poverty alleviation exercise embarked upon by the Government. He stressed that there is some kind of disparity in gender, which is counter productive, which must be addressed. According to the Daily Graphic of Friday, March 9 2012, Ms Shala Minkah, a lawyer and gender consultant attributed gender disparity to: negative socio-cultural practices and beliefs, family life, lack of education, religious barriers, discrimination and lack of adequate resources, as some of the impediments on the way of

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Journal of Education and Practice ISSN 2222-1735 (Paper) ISSN 2222-288X (Online) Vol.4, No.6, 2013

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women wishing to take up decision-making positions (pp.24) Preliminary data gathered from Fijai Senior High school, one of the mixed schools in the study area indicated that the proportions of boys to girls has changed drastically with a ratio of 2:1 in favour of girls. The headmaster indicated that the school, which started 60 years ago with only 30 boys and eight girls, now has a population of 1,727 students comprising 1, 200 girls and 527 boys. The story may be different in other schools The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26, states categorically that everyone has the right to education (UNESCO, 1998).This means both boys and girls all over the world should be given equal opportunities to attend school especially from the Basic level to the Secondary school level. Again, the United Nations’ third goal of the Millennium Development goals aims at promoting gender equality and women empowerment (WHO, 2012). Much as many countries including Ghana are trying to attain these goals, there are however serious challenges confronting girl-child education. Female dropout from school in any country is a great concern for government. Despite many policies and strategies developed to enhance a smooth transition rate in school there are still some students who withdraw from school prematurely in Senior high schools in Ghana. In Ghana, the government has introduced some far reaching measures aimed at achieving the Education strategic plan (ESP) of 2003-2015 which included: the Ghana School Feeding programme, the Capitation grant for schools since 2005, and quite recently, in 2009 Free School Uniforms and Free Exercise Books. These measures among others have resulted in unprecedented increases in gross enrolment rates (GER) and management in the gender parity index since the implementation of the Education Strategic plan from 2003/04 to 2008/09. Dordunoo & Wereko (2010) pointed out that, there have been dramatic increases in GER at all levels of education in Ghana since the introduction of the social intervention policies on education: Pre-school :70.1%, Primary :4.7%, JHS :14.1%, SHS: 53.2%, TTC: 4.6% and Tertiary :58.2%. It can be ascertained from the statistics that the highest increases occurred at the pre-school, SHS and tertiary levels. However, they indicated that in spite of the increases in enrolment, it is unlikely that 100% enrolment aimed at in the ESP can be achieved by the 2015 deadline due to the current rate of access and persistent dropout rates. Despite this, dropout continues to occur in some basic and senior high schools in Ghana, which threatens the achievement of universal basic education by 2015 (Akyeampong et al, 2007). The Ghana Education Sector Performance report (2010) also indicates that, female general enrolment in Senior high schools across the country increased from 32.3% in 2008/09 to 36.8% in 2009/10, showing 13.9 percentage increases. This increase is quite significant but the pertinent questions to ask are: What is the retention rate of the girls in the schools? What is the completion rate of the girls in the schools? Are the girls able to go through the system successfully? If some of them drop out from school at the secondary level, what might be the underlining factors? Girl- Child Education is one of the priorities of the Ghana Education Service (GES). Hence the creation of girlchild units headed by girl-child education co-ordinators at headquarters, regional and district directorates (Sekyere 2009). Promoting girl-child education will ultimately lead to the empowerment of women in the Ghanaian society. This is relevant because, there is no denying the fact that in the Ghanaian society women play second fiddle to men. It is against this background that the researcher has decided to do this study to actually find out what the true situation is. Purpose of the study The study was intended mainly to find out the factors that lead to drop out of girls in Senior High Schools in Sekondi Takoradi and to suggest possible ways of enhancing retention of girls in Senior High Schools. Research questions The study sought answers to the following questions: 1. What factors account for the drop out of girls in Senior High Schools? 2. What strategies can be adopted to promote retention of girls in Senior High Schools? Methodology The descriptive design was used. Descriptive design deals with phenomena and reports the way things are. It involves data collection in order to test hypotheses or answer research questions concerning current status of the subject of the study. It describes situations as they naturally exist. According to Mugenda and Mugenda, 1999), Descriptive survey research design is most appropriate when the purpose of study is to create a detailed description of an issue. It describes the nature of existing conditions and to identify standards against which existing conditions can be compared and also to determine the relationships that exist between specific events. According to McMillan (2001), descriptive survey designs are used to collect data in order to answer questions concerning the current status of the subjects being studied. Gay (1992) is also of the view that a descriptive

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Journal of Education and Practice ISSN 2222-1735 (Paper) ISSN 2222-288X (Online) Vol.4, No.6, 2013

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survey is useful for investigating a variety of educational issues whereby a questionnaire is used to collect data in order to answer the research questions. The purpose of descriptive survey design is to observe, describe and document aspect of a situation as it naturally occurs (Osuala, 2001). According to Fraenkel and Wallen (2000), descriptive survey describes existing conditions without analyzing relationships among variables. Cresswell (2009) also explains that the descriptive survey design is used to determine individual opinions about a policy issue or programme. It has the potential to provide the study with useful information from a cross-section of the respondents (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2000). Fraenkel and Wallen further contend that the descriptive survey is appropriate for examining a problem and evaluating trends in both small and large scale for meaningful generalization. The target population for the study consisted of all Senior high school girls, and teachers in the metropolis of Sekondi Takoradi. According to Mugenda and Mugenda (1999) a target population is that population which the researcher wants to generalize results.The accessible population was made up of Successful Senior high school graduates ( SSHG), Drop out senior high school girls ( DSHG), Continuing senior high school girls ( CSHG) and Teachers in senior high schools. The sample size used for the study was two hundred and ten ( 170). The purposive sampling technique was used to sample 50 successful senior high school girls (SSHG), 60 drop out girls and 10 teachers. Stratified random sampling was used to select 50 continuing students who were girls. The research instrument used was questionnaire. Both open-ended and closed ended questions were used. Questionnaires were used because it is one of the reliable ways of getting information from people. According to Orodho (2004) questionnaires are useful instruments of collecting the primary data since the respondents can read and then give responses to each item and they can reach a large number of subjects. There were four set of questionnaires: questionnaire for SSHG, questionnaire for DSHG, questionnaire for CSHG and questionnaire for teachers. All the four set of questionnaires had four sections each. Section A sought general background information from respondents. Section B consisted of questions which elicited information about gender discrimination in the schools. Section C was based on drop out and retention-related questions whiles section D sought for suggestions and recommendations from respondents as to improve retention and smooth transition of girls in Senior high schools. Data collected from the field were coded and sifted to remove outliers or missing values and categorised according to the questionnaire items. The coded data were transferred to a computer sheet and processed using Statistical package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17. According to Martin & Acuna (2002) SPSS is able to handle large amounts of data; it is time saving and also efficient. Results and Discussion Research question 1: What factors account for the drop out of girls in Senior High Schools? Table 1: Impeding factors identified by respondents Impeding factors

SSHG

DSHG

CSHG

TRS

[N=50]

[N=60]

[N=50]

[N=10]

Pregnancy

35[70%]

50[83%]

30[60%]

8[80%]

Peer influence

20[40%]

45[75%]

15[30%]

4[40%]

Poor socio-economic background

40[80%]

45[75%]

40[80%]

7[70%]

Poor performance in school

15[30%]

10[17%]

20[40%]

2[20%]

Parental neglect

30[60%]

55[92%]

35[70%]

7[70%]

Illiterate parent

10[20%]

20[33%]

25[50%]

6[60%]

Lack of interest in education

30[60%]

10[17%]

25[50%]

4[40%]

Poor teaching method

20[40%]

30[50%]

18[36%]

2[20%]

Lack of motivation from parents

45[90%]

40[67%]

37[74%]

8[80%]

Desire to get rich quick

23[46%]

20[33%]

13[26%]

3[30%]

Traditional beliefs about the role of women

44[88%]

39[57%]

40[80%]

7[70%]

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Journal of Education and Practice ISSN 2222-1735 (Paper) ISSN 2222-288X (Online) Vol.4, No.6, 2013

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Sexual harassment from teachers

30[60%]

45[75%]

40[80%]

2[20%]

Early marriage 40[80%] 35[58%] 38[76%] 6[60%] (Source: Field survey, 2011) Table 1 indicates a number of factors which account for the non-completion of girls in senior high schools. The factors can be grouped under three main classifications namely; Home-based and socio-cultural factors, school based factors and student-based factors. The home-based and socio-cultural factors identified were: Parental neglect, illiterate parent, early marriage, poor socio-economic background, traditional beliefs about the role of women and lack of motivation from parents. All the home-based and socio-cultural factors except ‘illiterate parents’ received higher percentages from the four groups of respondents. The ranges of percentages as stated in the table were: Parental neglect; between 60% and 92%, Early marriage; between 58% and 80%, Poor socioeconomic background; between &0% and 80%, Traditional beliefs about the role of women; between 57% and 88%. Lack of motivation from parents; between 67% and 90%. In the literature Wayike (2003) supports the early marriage factor. According to him, some students who drop out of school especially girls end up in early marriage, School –based factors identified were three: Poor teaching method, poor performance and Sexual harassment by teachers. Poor teaching methods and Poor performance recorded moderate percentages from the four respondents ( Range between 20% and 50%) as against sexual harassment by teachers which were highly selected by three of the respondents( SSHG; 60% DSHG; 75% and CSHG;80%) except TRS; 20%. Poor socioeconomic background of pupils, wrong methods of teaching, poor performance in school have all been supported by Mahmood, et al 2005, Ampiah & Adu Yeboah, 2009 and Adams et al 2013. Student- based factors included: Pregnancy (between 60% and 83%), Lack of interest in education (percentage range between 17% and 60%), peer influence (between 30% and 45%) and Desire to get money (between 26% and 46%). In a research conducted in Kenya, Mutambai (2005) supported the pregnancy related factors. The study revealed that there are reported cases of girls 14-18 years dropping out of school every year due to pregnancy and this sometimes leads to early marriages. In a related development, Fatuma & Sifuna (2006), cited by Nyaga (2010), attributes high dropout rate among girls to pre-marital pregnancies. Adams et al (2013:190) also supports this by reporting that “Much as some girls drop out due to pregnancy, some others drop out and consequently become pregnant” 1. Research question 2: What strategies can be adopted to promote retention of girls in Senior High Schools? Table 2: Responses on strategies to be adopted Items

HI

I

U

HU

1.

Scholarship for excelling girls

55%

30%

10%

5%

2.

Pregnant girls should not be sacked

20%

20%

35%

25%

3.

Provide needed resources like laptops and text books

75%

25%

-

-

4.

Transportation from distant areas should be catered for

35%

50%

10%

5%

5.

Safety and protection in school be taken serious by school authorities

90%

10%

-

-

6.

Gender friendly infrastructure be provided. Eg toilet facilities

70%

20%

4%

6%

7.

More female teachers be recruited

20%

15%

40%

25%

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Journal of Education and Practice ISSN 2222-1735 (Paper) ISSN 2222-288X (Online) Vol.4, No.6, 2013

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8.

Male teachers should be trained to be gender sensitive

9.

Admission requirement discriminate against girls

10. Parents should provide

60%

40%

-

-

not

90%

10%

-

-

motivation for both boys and girls

95%

5%

-

-

and

procedures

should

(Source: Field survey, 2011) (HI-Highly important, I-Important, U-Unimportant, HU-Highly Unimportant). The responses given in Table 2 represent the sum of responses which were gathered from the four target groups namely: SSHG, DSHG, CSHG and TRS Table 2 shows the percentage responses of the strategies to be adopted by all stake holders of education in Ghana. From the Table the respondents indicated the level of importance of each item. Most of the items listed in the Table were perceived to be important except items 2 & 7 which recorded low percentage values. They are item 2: pregnant girls should not be sacked. Item 7: More female teachers be recruited. This implies items 2 and 7 are unimportant to be implemented. The rank order of the strategies to be implemented are presented in Table 3. Table 3: Rank order of important strategies to be implemented by stake holders of education Items

Rank order

1.

Parents should provide equal motivation for both boys and girls

1

2.

Admission requirement and procedures should not discriminate against girls

1

3. Safety and protection in school be taken serious by school authorities

1

4. Provide needed resources like laptops and text books

1

5. Gender friendly infrastructure be provided. Eg toilet facilities

1

6. Male teachers should be trained to be gender sensitive

1

7. Scholarship for excelling girls

1

8. Transportation from distant areas should be catered for

2

9. More female teachers be recruited

3

10. Pregnant girls should not be sacked 3 (Source: Field survey, 2011) As can be seen from table 3, items that ranked 1 are highly important, 2 important, 3 unimportant and 4 highly unimportant. Items 1-7 are therefore the most important strategies to be implemented to ensure that girls do not drop out of school. This is followed by item 8 and subsequently by items 9 & 10. The findings of the study have revealed that 7 strategies out of 10 have been rated as highly important to be adopted. This is because each of the 7 items was rated with responses above 50%. 1 item received important rating with a response of 50% and 2 items rated unimportant with responses of 40% and 35% respectively. Reporting on what works in Girls’ education in Ghana, a critical review of the Ghanaian and international literature, Camfed Ghana ( 2011) opined among others that strategies such as scholarship in cash and kind, transportation intervention to reduce distance to school, child protection and safety, Gender friendly infrastructure, recruitment of female teachers should be

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Journal of Education and Practice ISSN 2222-1735 (Paper) ISSN 2222-288X (Online) Vol.4, No.6, 2013

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adopted to help girls complete school. In a study conducted by Nyaga (2010), she recommended that “The Ministry of Education, other stakeholders and education partners should provide and allocate more bursaries for girls and streamline the procedures followed in allocating those bursaries” (p.47). Conclusion and Recommendations Based on the findings of the study it can be concluded that the non- completion of senior high school by most of the girls in Sekondi Takoradi is attributed to three key factors namely; Home based and socio-cultural factors, school –based factors and students- based factors. This implies that parents, school authorities, Government and student-girls all have contributed in one way or the other in bringing about this problem. The major factors identified included: Peer influence and pregnancy –related, desire to get rich quick, lack of interest in education, poor socio-economic background of students, lack of motivation from parents, parental neglect, traditional beliefs about the role of women, poor teaching methods in school, sexual harassment from teachers, and poor performance in school. It is recommended that the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Education should introduce and implement policies which aim at helping pregnant girls who drop out of school to come back after delivery. Parents should be sensitized on the essence of girls education to enable them offer the necessary motivation for their daughters. School authorities should put in place gender sensitive measures encapsulating teachers’ mode of delivery in class, gender friendly facilities and motivation packages instituted by the school for girls. References Adams, F.H, Lemaire, M.B, & Prah, K.A. (2013) Perceptions of basic School Teachers and parents of the Causes and Effects of Child labour on School Attendance at Selected Suburbs of Sekondi Takoradi. Journal of Education and Practice, Vol 4, No3, 2013, p190 Akyeampong, K. Djangmah, J. Oduro, A. Seidu, A. & Hunt, F. ( 2007) Access to Basic Education in Ghana: The evidence and the issues. Country analytic Report. UK Create. Ampiah, G., & Adu-Yeboah, C. (2006). Mapping the incidence of School dropout: A case study of communities in Northern Ghana. Comparative Education, 45, No.2, 219- 232. Creswell, J.W. (2009) Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approach (3rd ed) California: Sage Daily Graphic, (2005) Improving Gender equity in the education system Tuesday march 1, 2005 No: 149368. Page 17. Fatuma, N.C. & Sifuna, D.N. (2006). Girls and Women’s Education in Kenya. Gender perspectives and trends. Nairobi: UNESCO. Fraenkel, J. R. & Wallen, N. E. ( 2000) How to design and evaluate research in education ( 2nd ed). New York: McGraw-Hall Inc. Gay, L.R. (1992). Educational Research: Competences for Analysis and Application. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co. McMillan, J. H ( 2001) Essential assessment concepts for teachers and administrators. Thousand Oaks, C. A: Corwin Public Company MOE, (2010) Ghana Education Sector Performance Report MOE, (1995) The programme for achieving Free Compulsory and Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) by the year 2005. Accra, Ministry of Education MOE, & Girls Education Unit (2011) what works in Girls’ Education In Ghana, a Critical review of the Ghanaian and international literature Camfed Ghana & DFID Osuala, E.C ( 2001) Introduction to Research Methodology. Onitsha Africana – Fep Publishers Ltd Sekyere, E.A. (2009) Teachers’ Guide. Kumasi. Afosek Educational Consult. Graphic Reporters (2012) Ghana needs affirmative action to deal with female representation in public service. Daily Graphic, Friday, March 9, 2012. No: 18787, pp24. Mahmood, S., Maann, A. A., Tabasam, N. & Niazi, S. K. (2005). Socio- economi Determinants of Child Labour in Automobile and Engineering Workshops. Journal of AgriScience13–2235/2005/01–1–64–65 Martin, K. & Acuna, C. (2002). SPSS for Institutional Researchers. Bucknell Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: University Press. 49. Mugenda, O.M. & Mugenda, A.G. (1999). Research Methods: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. Nairobi: ACTS Press. Mutambai, B. (2005, October). A Case Study on Teenage Pregnancy. School times.Educational Insight Magazinepg 42. Njau, R. & Wamahiu, S.P. (1994). School Drop out and Adolescent Pregnancy. Counting the cost. A paper prepared for theMinisterial consultation in Mauritius. Nairobi: Ministry of Education.

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Nyaga, A.M ( 2010) Factors leading to drop out among female studeents in Secondary Schools in Runyenjes Division of Embu District Kenya. Chuka University College Orodho, J.A. (2004). Element of Education and Social Science Research Methods. Nairobi: Masola Publishers. UNESCO, (1998). Wasted Opportunities: When Schools Fail. Education for all status. New York: Oxford University Press. UNESCO, (2011) EFA Global monitoring Report 2011: the hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education. Paris UNESCO Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (2004) White Paper on the Report of the Educational Reform Review Committee (2004) Wereko, T.B & Dordunoo, C (2010) Ghana Effective delivery of Public Services Focus on Education. DarkaarFann. Open Society Initiative for West Africa. WHO, (2012) United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report. New York: WHO

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Factors Affecting Girls’Completion of Senior High Schools in Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Area  
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