Accra Girls Senior High School has marked her 59th anniversary with a colourful ceremony to serve as a memorial and commitment to the girl child education and empowerment.

Amidst a glamourous display by the splendid contingent of the school cadet corp and the melodic voices of the mass choir, the school demonstrated that years of discipline and hard work have placed Accra Girls Senior High among the best in Ghana.

In a keynote note address on the theme, “Holistic Education of the Girl Child, the role of Stakeholders,” an Administrative and Finance Officer of the United Nations Commission for Refugees, Ms. Doris Wiafe Annor, informed of the need for society to eradicate mentalities about women that affected the development of the girl child.

In her resentment at how girls were treated by society, Ms. Annor said, “Our attitudes and that of our communities about girl child education are often shaped by traditional beliefs about gender roles of women—as mothers and wives. Let us believe in our girls and give them equal opportunities.”

Ms. Annor, who was also an old student of Accra Girls, insisted that educated girls were more likely to be healthier women, who participated in the labour market, earned income, chose the number of children to have, married at a later age and enabled better health care and education for their children.

“All these factors combined can help lift households and communities and even nations out of poverty,” she said.

She added that, “Nevertheless, girls education goes beyond getting girls into school; they should be holistic, addressing the whole person including their physical, mental and emotional needs while taking social factors into consideration.”

Ms. Annor said over the years, Ghana had experienced huge enrolment for both boys and girls, however many girls did not have access to education mainly because of poverty, gender discrimination and long distances from home to schools.

She informed that many Ghanaian girls had experienced sexual abuse and violence at the hands of class mates, male teachers, etc., often leading to emotional imbalance, mental agony, pregnancy and high school dropout rate.

The UN Administrator asked the Ghana Education Service (GES) to sanction culprits and educate the community about the consequences of rape, teenage pregnancy, defilement and other issues through community engagement workshops.

Ms. Annor asked parents to continue to be good role models to “our girls; our attitudes and supports have a great deal of impact on our girl’s participation and their level of success. Let us not compare them to their siblings or other children because every child is unique in their own way, but rather let us pay attention to their emotional and mental wellbeing, guiding them along the lines of what they have to do, and encouraging them to pursue their own dreams and not ours.”

She told the girls that, “This is the time for you to pay attention to guidance. Concentrate on your studies which will propel you to greater heights. Be happy, get involved in extracurricular activities, feel good about yourselves, be ready to bounce back after difficult times; do not let failure define you, keep on trying.”

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Stephanie Sullivan, said the US Government placed value on education, particularly that of the girl child. “We can’t promote development in the world without promoting and welcoming immense talents, ideas and contribution of girls,” she said.

Ambassador Sullivan said the US looked forward to partner education with Accra Girls and Ghana because a “robust economy depends on much more than a county’s natural wealth and resources. Basic skills are preconditions to affordable economic growth—improving critical health indicators, gender equality goes with socio-economic progress.”

The Head Mistress of the School, Mrs. Joyce Acolatse informed that the 2019 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) saw an excellent improvement in the performance of students of Accra Girls.

“Out of 563 candidates presented, 445 passed in all eight subjects. 353 had grade A1 to B3 in Social Studies, 272 had grades A1 to B3 in Mathematics, 107 had A1 in Mathematics. 186 had A1 to B3 in English Language and 150 had A1 to B3 in Integrated Science,” Mrs Acolatse said.

She indicated that in the 2019 zonal competition, Accra Girls placed second in Soccer, Table Tennis and Netball and third in Volley, Basketball and Badminton, and that they were the only school in the zone to have qualified in all six disciplines for the super zonal competitions, hinting that, “One of our 2018 graduates signed a deal with a US football team and is currently playing there.”

The Head Mistress was grateful to the Government of Ghana for the construction of a six unit classroom block which was about 85% complete, and a new dormitory block which was also about 75% complete.

She asked that the projects should be completed on time to accommodate the large number of the school’s day students.

Mrs Acolatse told of the installation of a GES content-based software for SHS which was networked to all computers in the ICT laboratory. With that, “We are ready to roll out a hundred-seater eLearning centre for the school next year, “ she indicated.

She hinted that, “In this fifty nine years of the existence of the school, the world has changed tremendously and the ways in which women can participate in and contribute to society. Therefore we have a charge to ensure that our ladies are prepared” for the task ahead.

Accra Girls SHS has a population of 2,172 with 1,066 Day and 1,106 Boarding students.

It has an eleven-member school administration assisting the Head Mistress and supported by 103 members of staff and an apex fourteen-member Board of Governors.

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