Model Girls JHS Established In Kpandai

A special school established to provide access and quality education for girls, particularly those from rural and poor homes, has been opened in Kpandai in the Northern Region. Known as the Kpandai Girls’ Model Junior High School (GMJHS), the school uses a participatory model that involves gender-sensitive teaching methods. This is aimed at providing psychological and social grooming to tap the potential of the girls, boost their confidence and make them competitive. The school was established by IBIS, a Danish development organisation, in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Kpandai District Assembly as one of the approaches to boosting girl-child education. It is the second of such schools to be established by IBIS in the Northern Region. The first GMJHS was set up in 2008 in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba (STK) District. Why Model School? Explaining why it is a model school, the Country Director of IBIS, Ghana, Mr Chals Wontewe, said the school was expected to take in ordinary girls and prepare them to be among the best wherever they went. He said there was already evidence that the model was successful because when the first batch of 28 students who passed through the Sawla GMJHS wrote the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in 2011, 24 of them made it to SHS and the school placed third out of 17 schools in the district. The following year, one of the girls from the school obtained the best grade in the BECE in the whole district and the school moved to second out of 22 schools. All the 31 girls the school presented for the exam had good grades and gained admission to SHS. The positive trend continued in 2013, he mentioned. Mr Wontewe said IBIS was hopeful that the model JHS in Kpandai would equally produce good results so that the performance of those two schools could be used to influence the removal of barriers to girls’ education. Closing the gender gap Mr Wontewe said although there was near parity in the enrolment of girls and boys at the primary level, there was still a sizeable gap in the Northern Region. “Even at the national level, the disparity increases as we move through upper primary to JHS. The percentage of girls who go beyond JHS to SHS is significantly lower than the case for boys,” he stated. He noted that it was to help remedy this situation that IBIS collaborated with the GES and the STK District Assembly to set up the first GMJHS in Sawla so as to give more girls the chance to go to SHS and to establish proof that girls can equally do well in education. He said there was the need for more efforts to be made collectively by the government and civil society to close the gender gap by promoting the enrolment, retention and transition of girls. A welcome development In his remarks, the District Chief Executive for Kpandai, Mr Jator Jasper Moayi, said the assembly had enthusiastically supported the establishment of the school because it was a welcome development that would enhance gender parity in the district and create a better future for girls in the area. He said the assembly had, therefore, awarded on contract the construction of a three-unit teachers’ quarters to accommodate some of the teachers of the school as that would improve teaching and learning and also ensure teachers were available to supervise and ensure discipline in the school at all times. Mr Jato commended IBIS for its immense efforts at improving access and quality education in the district through a number of initiatives, such as the revival of school management committees and parent-teacher associations, capacity building for circuit supervisors and teachers and the formation of girls’ clubs in schools in the district. The Kpandai District Director of Education, Mr Sixtus Adiko, said the GES was proud to be part of such initiatives and gave an assurance that the directorate would supervise teaching and learning in the school and also ensure proper management of the school. High hopes Just as IBIS, the assembly and other stakeholders have hopes of the Kpandai GMJHS becoming a success, so are the students and teachers of the school. “I am happy to be in this school because the place is nice and the teachers teach very well. We are all girls and everyone wants to be the best,” said Evelyn Anwiaga, one of the 34 form one students of the Kpandai GMJHS. She appealed to the authorities to provide a hostel for the school so that those from very far rural areas would not be forced to drop out due to distance.