Columnists Features

Girls need to change attitude towards education

THERE are many cases of child marriages that take place in Nakonde district without the knowledge of relevant authorities. This vice has forced many girls to drop out of school.

The idea by government to get girls who have fallen out of school back into the classroom is good.
For some girls, it had become the end of the road when they dropped out of school. Chances of going back to

school have become slimmer.
Girls drop out of school due to pregnancies or early marriages. Those who get into marriage, unless they are rescued, can only imagine themselves in class again. Fewer men give their wives a chance to go back to school soon after they have married them.
Chances for those who get pregnant may brighten again if a girl happens to have relatives who are ready to take care of the baby. They are doomed if there is no one willing to look after the baby while she is in school.
Girls, like boys, need to be in school. However, there is a growing concern about the rate at which girls are dropping out of school either through early marriage or pregnancies. This, coupled with the lower rate of girl enrolment, brings about a gap between the number of boys and girls in school.
This gap between the number of girls and boys gets wider as they progress to higher levels of education, of course, with girls being on the lower side.
This is one of the reasons the entry policy was introduced: to try and bridge that gap, an opportunity that now seems to be one of the answers for girls who stop school along the way.
Chief among the factors that prevent girls from continuing with school is early pregnancies. Others are failure by parents to support girls in preference for boys.
By coming up with the idea to get more girls who drop out of school back into the classroom, government wants to see more girls take up leading roles in  the development of the nation.
The girls, as much as boys, have potential and given a chance and support, they can excel in their efforts.
There are some girls who academically may not just make it, but this does not mean they cannot do anything in life. They have other gifts they can explore and utilise them for their own good and for the good of others.
The premature exposure of girls to sex through various forms of media  and some traditional practices have contributed to early pregnancies.
While government is coming up with such initiatives, there seems to be an apparent lack of girls’ appreciation of these efforts and a failure to recognise the potential they have.
Added to this is the issue of attitude and the love for finer things in life, which drives some girls to any lengths to get what they want,  some still at a tender age.
For some girls, as soon as they become aware of themselves, they begin to realise they are ‘material’ for men, throwing away their self-worth.
Is this not the reason some girls are hooked by  taxi drivers so that they have free rides to school or they get involved with older men so that they provide them with the goodies they want?
Relationships like these are kept away from parents because of their repulsive nature and only come to the fore when a girl gets pregnant, and the abortion option fails.
Girls need to see school for what it is; that it is able to make them better in future, that it is able to empower them to make better decisions for themselves.
It is cardinal to address the change of behaviour and attitudes in girls so that they remain in school up to the end of the academic road.
In the education for girls, the need to change behaviour and attitude towards school is paramount.
Society cannot reform girls. Decent girls face peer pressure and those who choose to live a decent life are frowned upon.
The word of God never fails. When everything else fails to change some of the girls’ attitude, those who seek refuge in God will experience a transformation that will help them work in line with government’s intention to have more girls complete their education.
The author, Judith Konayuma, is Sunday Mail editor.


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