articles, opinions, and research about teaching and learning

Teachers Forum
February, 2003

Girl-Child Education in Ghana, Part 2
An interview with
Fati Abdulai

Conducted by
by Richard Laryea, M.A.
Fati Abdulai

Go to Home or Part 1 of this series of Interviews.

Question: How do you perceive the girls in your class?

Answer: Some of them are every good. They are better behaved as compared with the boys and their turn out is neater. However they do not ask questions but sometimes they answer willingly.

Q: Why do you think they don’t ask questions?

A: It is because of their weak foundation, the language difficulties they face and because they are shy. This is unlike the boys. Even when they are not sure, they give it a try.

Q: How do you motivate them to participate?

A: I call them to answer questions and where they have problems, I give them clues to the answers. They make attempts and sometimes, get it right.

Q: Are they laughed at when they get the answer wrong?

A: Yes and I try to discourage the practice. But that is general as boys laugh at fellow boys and girls also laugh at boys in class.

Q: What do the boys think of the girls in class?

A: They are always happy together but sometimes when they notice that the girls have benefited from donors, thy make good natured protests – "They are cheating us ooh!"

Q: Would you say you favour the girls in your class?

A: Because I’m a lady teacher, I usually favour them. For instance, when they do something wrong and you speak harshly to them; it makes them dull in class and even discourages them from coming to school for some days. So when they do something wrong, I have a way of correcting them.

Will they be laughed at?

Q: What other strategies have you used to draw them in?

A: I put them in mixed ability groups where stronger students help the weaker ones. Because the groups are small, the girls in these groups felt confident. I also explain difficult concepts in the local language, which in turn leads them to ask questions. Sometimes the questions come in Dagbani as well.

Q: Do the girls grasp concepts easily?

A: Yes, some of the girls do and they are quite willing to share ideas.

Q: When you have the occasion to speak to parents, what observations do you make?

A: I talk about the logistical problems and that parents need to take a greater interest in their girl-child's education. And also to let their girls be punctual and regular in class so as not to miss topics.

Q: In your teaching are you gender sensitive?

A: I use both male and female examples.

Q: Do you make a conscious effort use female examples?

A: Not really. Because I am a lady, such examples come to me easily. In fact, I have not noticed that teachers sometimes only resort to male examples.

Q: What would you say is the major problem girls face in this school?

Related Links on UNICEF

Accelerating Progress in Girls' Education

Barriers to Girls' Education: Strategies & Interventions

Improving the Participation of Girls in Schooling

The Barriers to Education from a Gender Perspective

Girls' Education in Ghana

Ghana's pregnant street girls find refuge

5 key Dimensions of Quality Education

The Girl Child from Voices of Youth

A: Uniforms, books, school bags, sandals and to some extent, food are some of the problems. They would stay in school if these are provided for. Sometimes, the boys tease the girls but the girls do not take it badly.

Q: What are some of the observed outcomes?

A: There is an improvement in the learning process as you observe that some of them present homework that is carefully done. Class exercises are also good. This is because they pay particular attention in class. Those whose work shows improvement are those who are very regular at school.

Q: Do you encounter unhealthy relationships between boys and girls?

A: There are no such relationships in this school. They are non – existent and boys do not make sexual advances towards girls.

Q: As one of the two female teachers in this school how do the girls perceive you?

A: I think they see me as a role-model. Many of them have expressed the wish to be teachers.

Thank you very much Fati. I’m sure you’ll continue inspiring your girls.

Go to Home or Part 1 of this series of Interviews.

Previous Related Interviews

"Expanding Educational Opportunities for Girls in Zimbabwe"

"Supporting Girl Students in East Timor"

"Early Marriage and Girls' Education in Ethiopia"

"Helping Pregnant Girls Re-Enter Education in Zambia"

Would you like to read other interviews with practising teachers?

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Last revised February 1, 2003
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