Countess of Wessex launches education policy for women and girls

Countess of Wessex Sophie and Sports CS Amina Mohamed being welcomed by schoolgirls at Moi Girls Secondary School in Nairobi. [Image: Courtesy]

Gender-Responsive Education Sector Planning (GRESP) policy note has indicated that more needs to be done to promote education among women and girls in the country.

The policy paper released yesterday by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Sophie, Countess of Wessex at Moi Girls in Nairobi advocates for mechanisms to promote more enrolment of girls in schools beyond the primary level.

The paper produced by Global Partnership for Education and the United Nations Girls Education Initiative dubbed ‘Leave No Girl Behind’ reveals gaps in the education of women and girls.

“Despite the world’s commitment to ensure every child completes 12 years of quality education, in low-income countries only four percent of the poorest finish upper secondary school, falling to two percent amongst marginalised girls,” reports the policy paper citing UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2019).

 The paper states that women with a basic primary education earn 14-19 percent more than those without similar qualifications while with secondary education may earn about twice as much.

“If every girl received 12 years of free, safe and quality education, women’s lifetime earnings could increase by $15 trillion to $30 trillion globally,” the paper states.

Further, the policy paper argues that each additional year of secondary education for girls was likely to reduce the risk of child marriage and six percent reduction of early pregnancy before the age of 18.

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It also indicates that the education of girls was likely to promote peace in every country.

“National armed conflict is less likely to occur in contexts where there is gender parity in average years of schooling,” states the report adding “For every additional year of schooling a girl receives, her country’s resilience to climate disasters can be expected to improve.”

By educating women, the policy paper indicates, the mortality rate among children is reduced as mothers are likely to take their children for immunization.

“A child whose mother can read is 50 percent more likely to live past the age of five, 50 percent more likely to be immunized, and twice as likely to go to school,” it indicates.

Also, education ensures that children are protected from malnutrition as parents are aware of the dietary needs of the family.

The paper recommends that both boys and girls should get the education they need to build a range of skills and capacities needed for a country to expand its leadership and entrepreneurial talent.

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