The General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Thomas Musah, has called for sustained efforts by all Ghanaians to encourage and support more boys to stay in school to enable them to develop their full potentials for life and national development.
For instance, he said initiatives to motivate boys to go to school and remain throughout their study must be sustained and that all stakeholders including organisations, parent-teacher associations, philanthropists and old students needed to be actively involved in an all-hands-on-deck approach.
He said the country’s economic development indicator required a balance of both males and females.
“So the supply of labour must always be there for you to enable you to turn your capital around, turn your land around and also engage in entrepreneurship.
And so, if we are having a situation where you have the female number increasing against the males, then we are in for trouble.”
“Where are the males going to? Where are they?
Are they dropping out of school and if they are dropping out of school, where are they now?”
“It means they would certainly go into child labour, they would go into other social vices which the nation might not be able to contain.
We need these people in the various sectors of the economy and not in prisons,” he stressed.
Mr Musah alluded to the adage that, “the devil finds work for idle hands” and so, the issue was something that should not be taken lightly and that there was the need to find out where the problem was.
The GNAT General Secretary was reacting to a Daily Graphic report which revealed that females had outnumbered the number of boys that were writing this year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for School Candidates and Basic Education Certificate Examination, also for school candidates.
“So in policy formulation and being mindful of the requirement of ensuring that the country lives a healthy life in every aspect of economic development, you need both males and females,” he said.
Per current statistics from the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), girls have outstripped boys in the two examinations.
For instance, girls last year were more than boys in the 2022 WASSCE for School Candidates (SC).
Out of the total number of 422,883 candidates, 203,753 were males while 219,130, females.
This year too, out of the 447,204 candidates writing the WASSCE-SC, 211,834 are males and 235,370 are females.
For the BECE this year, there were 68 more girls than boys sitting for the examination.
With a total number 600,714 for the school candidates, 300,323 were males and 300,391, females.
The BECE ended two weeks ago on August 11 while the 2023 WASSCE-SC, the Ghana Only Version, is still ongoing.
It is expected to end on September 26, 2023.
In trying to address the situation and encourage more boys to stay in school, Mr Musah said the necessary resources including the payment of the Capitation Grant must be done at the commencement of the school year so as to create an enabling environment for all learners.
“Currently, the basic schools are not attractive, particularly the public basic schools.
Look, if you go to the kindergarten (KG) today, what is there to attract you; the teaching and learning materials, the resources that must be provided for the children to learn are not there.”
“When the children go to school and the environment there is not attractive, they will not come again because whatever you are teaching should be relevant to the child.”
“When the school is attractive, the child will come.
When the child wears the uniform, he must have a reason as to why he should not go fishing but rather go to school,” he said.
Again, Mr Musah said junior high school (JHS) students must be fed under the Ghana School Feeding Programme to help keep them in school.
Mr Musah said technically speaking the feeding at SHS should have been at the JHS level to fulfil the promise in Article 25 of the Constitution.
He said it was in the interest of the nation to ensure that each and every one was developed well and no one left behind, adding that education was about national development.