From time past, many prominent men and women have left their legacies as the epitome of education. The likes of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Ann Frank among many other legends cannot be underrated. The late Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-general once said: “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” The aforementioned attests to the evidence that, indeed, education is the key to opening bigger, better and greater doors of knowledge acquisition and its useful application. However, education had and still has deficits in a category of the human race- women.
According to the World Inequality Database on Education (WIDE), 35 out of 75 countries, has at least 25% of the poorest young women who are illiterate. A very disturbing fact is that, in 30 out of 134 countries, fewer than 90 females for every 100 males completed lower secondary school. Gender parity in education has been a fight to draw attention to gender deficits in the educational environment and taking immediate and long term actions by giving women access and rigorous participation in education. Over the years, there were major successes in bridging the gap between gender disparities in education and rendering gender justice in favor of women. UNESCO, as part of their strategies, have put in place policies and frameworks that are legally binding to ensure better scopes of educational rights and empowerment opportunities for women.
Giving credence to the quality of education of which SDG 4 stipulates explicitly, the process of teaching and learning, the educational atmosphere and its outcome are crucial in achieving this utmost goal of gender disparity in education.
Trickling down these international actions to nations, the onus lies on governments to ensure education is a prerequisite tool for every citizen. As part of their policies, education should be compulsory for all and sundry. Governments can also go a step further to subsidize the cost of education to enable every citizen to have access to education. Ghana is a typical example of free basic education. This gives every child no excuse not to have access to education and free at that.
The society plays a major part in creating awareness about the importance of education and the numerous opportunities education can give. Churches, mosques, civil societies, policy think tanks, NGOs must prioritize this awareness creation and ensure that positive results are derived from it.
It should be acknowledged that the family is the core structure of the society. The family must be the first advocates of education considering that socialization begins from this unit. Most importantly, the traditional inclination of sidelining women to the home should be spoken against with utmost criticism. Opinion leaders who represent authorities such as traditional chiefs, pastors and Imams should advocate against this primitive notion in their communities to ensure a better appreciation of the essential benefits education brings to the family, society, and nation as a whole.
Ensuring equality and quality education in our world is a collective effort, a social necessity and a priority to execute. Let’s make it happen!