14 October 2016
A FEW days after the commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child, we still live in a society that grossly disadvantages the girl child.
We still have more girls dropping out of school in the country and that is both embarrassing and backward. Statistics show the number of female students dropping out of Secondary school and Advanced level and this, with the way we have grown academically as a country, is a sad development.
By now, we must as a nation and as parents and adults be educated enough to mitigate the factors that chase girls out of school.
Things like lack of school fees, early marriages and pregnancy – especially at secondary school level – must be guarded against.
Heads of schools and School Development Communities (SDCs), communities, parents and guardians must work together to protect the girl child and keep her in school.
The girl child is still a vulnerable, endangered specie no matter where she is or who she is with. She must be protected from a lot more than dropping out of school. If a father can rape his own child carrying his blood then no one should be trusted with the girl child.
The girl child has been a victim of sexual abuse for a long time and even teachers have abused her instead of teaching her. There should be school rules that forbid any student to be alone with an adult – especially in closed offices – no matter the circumstances.
It is advisable to report when someone in authority abuses their office and children, especially girls, should be taught not to fear reporting even people like teachers and headmasters when they feel their rights are being infringed upon.
But headmasters, teachers and all the people that deal with children must know better than to abuse the very children they are supposed to serve. Girls can only learn of their rights through school and if they drop out, they are likely to be more vulnerable to abuse than their educated counterparts.
Teachers must also behave in loco parentis in and outside their workstations. They should not be seen displaying characters that are shameful to the students they teach and the parents of those children.
Teachers must realize that their reputations and the impact of their actions go beyond their immediate vicinity and influence every child that goes through their hands.
All adults must be responsible and trustworthy people that act in loco parentis when they are with students at schools.
This cannot happen if the same people that are supposed to be teaching children to behave are molesting the very children they are supposed to be parenting into responsible members of society.
Keeping the girl child in school can help lessen all this abuse.