Thursday, October 6, 2011

Equatorial Guinea Identifies Obstacles To Keeping Girls In School

The government of Equatorial Guinea has issued a report identifying the principal obstacles to keeping the country’s girls in school until graduation. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Advancement of Women conducted the research and issued the report.

The report found that the student-teacher- ratio is high, especially in Bata and Malabo, where 77.7% of secondary-level students live. The report also found that there are inadequate school furnishings in many schools and external problems such as inadequate diet, poor health and an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, among others, keeping girls out of school. The country is already discouraging teen pregnancy through a public awareness campaign.

The report also pointed out factors in the socio-cultural environment that work against girls getting a complete education. Traditionally, parents assign specific roles to girls such as marriage, housekeeping, and cooking, and view education as less desirable or necessary for girls than for boys.

The government is expected to use these findings to direct educational and social resources toward a renewed effort to ensure that the country’s female population is not left behind economically and that women can contribute equally to the country’s development. It is the government’s goal to improve public education in the country and to offer more workshops to improve teaching skills and encourage teachers to follow a detailed curriculum and develop learning strategies to keep students motivated.

Government officials say that education is essential to developing the human capital the nation needs to manage its resources and transform its economy. The government of Equatorial Guinea has made education a top priority of the Horizon 2020 development plan, which was set in motion by President Obiang to move the country toward a sustainable and emergent economy. The West African nation was the first nation in Africa to establish a cabinet ministry devoted to women’s affairs.