By Deogratius Mushi
In one of the news items published this week, there was a story that said some teachers at Jangwani Girls Secondary School were having sexual relationships with their students.
The interviewed students, said the story, lamented that such relationships were drawing the girls from studying hard, and that might have caused bad results in this year’s national advanced level secondary education results.
Most people including ministers were disappointed with those results, and some even ordered the teachers of that old school to be transferred.
Having heard all the views uttered in relationship with Jangwani school, I remembered the TGNP Mtandao Gender Festival held last year, where Professor Esther Mwaikambo, the first female Tanzanian Doctor spoke strongly on guiding a girl child to attain her goal.
She counseled women to adhere on the good morals and ethics needed in the society and teach their girls good behaviour, in order to build up strong family with bright future.
She challenged them to assume their roles, and mould their girls become strong and obedient enough to encounter several challenges instead of complaining to the government and other people daily.
Professor Mwaikambo says women are the ones who are supposed to make sure that the family is equipped with intensive morals and ethical based conducts that provide an exemplary lesson to other family and girls should be prepared for this task before they become mothers.Mama Mwaikambo insisted that women should not let their girls allow the challenges to put off their vision and goals, but they need to explore better solutions towards the matter.
According to her, the future of young girls (and boys) is on both parents, so if the parents will not adhere to good morals and ethics will automatically cause children to fall in poor behaviors. She cited her experiences of life at her parental age that she managed to constantly focused on her ambitions to become a good mother with better family.
Despite all the challenges she came across within her family, but she didn’t gave up, but she kept on praying, working and studying hard to attain what she desired earlier.It is undeniable fact that gender equality goes parallel with total commitment and adherence to accountability to better social life.
Mama Mwaikambo wants women to let their daughters set up their priorities of what they want to achieve in life, instead of working on every matters at once.In some Tanzanian tribes today, the girl child is denied her human rights and sometimes her basic needs.
She is at increased risk of sexual abuse and exploitation and other harmful practices that negatively affect her survival, development and ability to achieve to her fullest potential.Because girls are particularly vulnerable, they require additional protection.
We should remember that the girl child is one of the 12 critical areas in the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, which recommends elimination of all forms of discrimination and abuse of girls and protection of their rights.
The status of girls is significantly less than that of boys in some tribes in Tanzania, especially in rural areas.This makes girls more vulnerable to discrimination and neglect, and available indicators reveal that girls are discriminated against from the earliest stages of life in the areas of nutrition, health care, education, family care and protection.In some cultures too, girls are often fed less, particularly when there are diminished food resources.
A diet low in calories, protein and nutrients negatively affects girls’ growth and development. Less likely to receive basic health care, they are at increased risk of childhood mortality. Girls from poor and rural households are especially likely to be denied education.
Knowledge and skills needed for employment, empowerment and advancement in status often are withheld because of customary attitudes about educating boys over girls.
Girls are more likely to be used as child labor inside and outside of the home, and yet there are many benefits of investing in girls’ education.
Healthier families, lower fertility rates, improved economic performance and poverty reduction are among them.Educating girls in a supportive, gender-sensitive environment is critical to achieving gender equality.Child marriage is one of the biggest threats to young girls in some tribes in Tanzania today.
It often prevents them from getting an education and following their dreams, and it can be devastating physically, psychologically, economically and socially.
Local organizations in all regions should collaborate with the government to improve the prospects of girls by ensuring that they remain unmarried and in school.
When we look at some of the important areas where we can work towards the empowerment of girls, education stands as top priority.
If international conferences on empowerment of women are anything to go by, education is by far the most critical of aspects to be examined.
While I take India as my primary example, the truth is in fact widespread internationally because of the children not attending school in that country, girls seem to be in higher numbers than boys.
This naturally translates to a higher number of women being illiterate, compared to men, and we should not allow such a trend in Tanzania.
Providing girls with basic education is a simple assurance of giving them greater personal power and independence in Tanzania today.
They will be able to make better choices for themselves than depend on those around them for the same.This ability must not be a luxury for them but rather a necessity.Going by just the fact that we will have happy and healthy girls with such a move should be motivation enough for us to promote girls’ education.
If we look at the bigger picture, an educated girl may also contribute to society in several ways with her skills and confidence.
Educated girls are likely to postpone marriage to an age when they are well prepared mentally and materially as well.
There are numerous studies that show how each additional year of schooling brings down fertility rates by a significant percentage.
Some studies have shown how women get more productive at work and thus command a better pay scale.
International studies show that every additional year of schooling increases a woman’s earning capacity by 15 per cent. For a man, this figure stands at only 11 per cent.
There is a lot that can be done to improve on the quality of education, as well as avenues and opportunities for a woman, so let us all make sure that girls in our society are given the respect they deserve.