Factors affecting the academic performances of the girls
This study had clearly indicated that the factors affecting the academic performances of the girls at grades nine and ten in the Hamaresa Senior Secondary School were similar to that of factors affecting the performances of girls in schools of rural Ethiopia. Hence, the hypothesis that schools that were close to big cities like Harar may have different impacts on the academic performance of the girl students was not proved. The followings are the conclusions that are formulated based on the interpretation of both primary secondary data gathered for this project.
The overall academic performance of girls in grades nine and ten lacked luster due to socio-cultural, demographic, economic and situational factors in association with the low self esteem and self belief of the girls.
The traditionally and economically motivated girl-students' heavy participation in household chorus had negatively affected their academic performance immensely.
Age of the household heads had a positive influence with regard to girl-students' academic performance. This might be due to the fact that when the parents/household heads grew in age, they got better maturity and understood the demand and needs of the larger world with particular reference to female education.
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The educational levels of household heads had a tremendous influence on girl-students' academic performance (vide table 6). It is natural that a better educated parents/household heads would realize the importance of female education better and act accordingly.
Household size had influenced girl-students' academic performance. The larger the household the grimmer the chance for girls to get education as many households traditionally believed that spending on boys' education was an asset whereas spending for girls' education was a liability as one day she would get married and leave the household. Moreover, the economic standard was at stake in of large sized families, thus, the household heads became choosy between boys and girls with regard to facilitating education.
It was obvious from the data collected that the average annual household income was very low in any standards. Even the high income group households had an average monthly income of slightly above Birr 625/=. At the time of constant price increase even the so called high income group could not afford the cost towards education of their children, Hence, the axe fell, more often than not, on the girls' chance for education.
The livestock ownership was indeed one of the lowest in comparison to other studied carried out elsewhere in the country although the study area is close by the regional capital city Harar where large animal marked existed. Livestock became handy in times of need and household crises. Hence, they could not dispose livestock to educate their children especially their daughters influenced by traditional and cultural believes.
When it came to landholding, 70 households out the total 80 (87.5%) held less than one or less than one hectare of farm land. This factor had a direct reflection on household income. When quantity of food grains produced could not sustain even their daily food needs, spending on girls' education was a far fetched phenomenon.
Due to very low income, from land, livestock and other sources majority of the households (76.36% of MHHs and 100% of FHHs) felt that the educational costs around Birr 500/= per student per year were unaffordable. However, the school authorities begged to differ in this regard. Hence, the households were ready to stop their daughters in particular from going to school or leave it to their fate.
Interestingly, there was paradigm shift with regard to perception of female education in the study area particularly among the MHHs. This might have been due to efforts taken by the government to make the public realize the importance of female education for the development of the nation. This change had not reflected yet in the academic performance of the girls. It might do so in the near future.
It was heartening to note that early marriage had no much affect on the girls' education in the study area. The school going girls were not married at the tender age here. The proximity of the study area to Harar city might have positively influenced the practice of early marriage. The household heads might have gathered information on the negative impact of child marriage on social well being from established sources in the city that was nearby.
The absence of role models and employment opportunities for girls who graduated form secondary school had its own effect on the girl-students' academic performance. The girls were hopeless and they seldom believed that they could succeed in their lives for the simple reason that they were born girls.
The self esteem of the girls at school could not be termed as high. The traditional and cultural influences were very much present in them. They felt that it was difficult for them to attend school and they would marry sooner than later and started serving their respective households. Hence, the importance of education had vanished form their outlook. Thus, low esteem of the girls prevented them form faring well in their studies.
The teachers and the school administration were quite positive on female education. They were quite genders sensitive. They were doing what all they could to arrest any gender based discrimination on campus.
The current infrastructure of the school was indeed poor. There were no class rooms that could be even termed 'it is Ok'. The classrooms were in fact dwindling and the toilet facilities for both boys and girls were awful as illustrated in chapter one. The poor infrastructure of the school might have affected the girl-students' academic performance to some extent as it disturbed their psyche
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The school administration did not have direct powers to repairs or modify the infrastructure on the campus. They had no powers to sanction funds towards improving infrastructure and other facilities at the school. They had to wait for a considerable amount of time to get the 'go ahead' signal form the higher authorities. The school management had the will to improve the standard of school life; nevertheless, they had no way to attain it.
Based on the conclusions cited above, the following recommendations are forwarded to concerned bodies for implementation so that the performance of the girls would improve soon.
As income of the households was very much low, the government and non government organization may think of formulating interventions in the study area that would provide opportunities to the households to enhance their income. The study area had potential for terracotta and any project implementation in this regard would immensely help the households.
Hassle- free credit facilities should made available to households so that they can improve their farming practices and livestock purchase and management
The government should waive the school fee for those households who were in the low and middle range annual income so that the girls would continue their education and fare well in their studies.
Road shows and road side dramas might be conducted on the importance of female education so that the households would come forward to send their daughters to school and follow up their school activities with great care and interest. These activities would help change the culture and tradition influenced attitude towards female education.
The school or the regional educational bureau should arrange the visits of most successful Ethiopian women to the study area so that the girls would be motivated. There are several successful Ethiopian women ranging from Parliament Speaker to Modern Jet pilots.
Although there were no serious cases reported, any one who commits gender based crimes should meet stringent punishment both on and off campus. The law and order enforcement agencies of the area should ensure the safety of the school-going girls.
The regional educational bureau should employ better qualified teachers for all subjects to teach at grades nine and ten so that uniformity in efficiency of teachers could be established.
The regional educational bureau should take steps to renovate the infrastructure on the campus at the earliest.
The school might be provided with decision making powers with regard to actions that are to be done in short span of time like building toilets and washroom for girls and so on.
Moreover, it would be appropriate to put forward the recommendations of the World Bank (1996) with regard to improving girl-students' academic performance. The following is the list of activities in this regard
Summary of Promising Interventions to Promote Female Education
Household and community factors
High direct costs of schooling
High opportunity costs of schooling
Low private economic returns to girls education
Chastity and sexual safety
Low demand for female education
Lower the cost of school materials. Provide transportation and uniforms.
Introduce bursary, scholarship and fee waiver programs, school lunches, medical and health support such as de-worming.
Adjust the school calendar to accommodate household child labor requirements.
Reduce the distance between school and home. Use satellite schools.
Provide child care and pre-school facilities Promote labor- saving technologies.
Improve the legal and regulatory systems to enhance women's status.
Make education curricula more responsive and relevant to livelihood and market demand.
Increase community participation in schools. Construct culturally appropriate facilities. Promote more female teachers.
Launch information campaigns that engage community, religious and civic leaders.
Promote adult literacy programs.
School level factors
Enrollment and promotion policy Management: calendar and safety Curricula Materials, Methods
Increase enrollments by lowering the enrollment age.
Reduce drop -out rates; review repetition and expulsion policies.
Provide child care facilities.
Institute flexible hours.
Improve achievement: review learning materials for gender bias, improve science and math teaching.
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Promote female teachers in the sciences.
Establish science laboratories and school libraries. Institute tutoring and mentoring programs.
Promote gender sensitivity training in all pre and in-service training courses and for educational managers.
Political and institutional factors
Policy on schoolgirl pregnancy, promotion of female educators, training of staff Attitude, will and commitment to empowering women and the poor
Legal status of women
Create a favorable environment to support women and the poor through policy review.
Invest in the necessary structures; schools, facilities for girls, toilets, dormitories, walls.
Launch information campaigns.
Enhance the status of women through the regulatory process. Adopt poverty-alleviating strategies that release women and girls from the tasks of water and fuel collection for more productive activities.
Improve women's access to the formal labor market.
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