He said in Ghana about 1.4 million children of school-going age were out of school, with majority being girls and that about 75 million girls are missing from classrooms across the world and called it a major violation of rights and a huge waste of young potentials.
Mr Shukla made this observation at the commemoration of the International Day of the Girl and launch of a campaign dubbed, “Because I Am A Girl (BIAAG) campaign”, and the 2012 State of the Worlds Girls Report, in Accra
He said girls in Ghana continue to face challenges on daily basis due to socio-economic values in some communities where boys were given preference over girls when it came to education.
According to him, the day was to create awareness about the challenges facing the girl and to bring together international attention to focus on these challenges to rally around communities, organizations, politicians, activists, leaders and individuals towards achieving full potentials of girls.
“We at Plan realize that girls were at a disadvantage simply because of their gender. The creation of a day that recognizes the importance of respecting, educating and empowering girls would help put a focus on girls’ right to equality”.
Mr Shukla noted that a girl who gets access to both quality primary and secondary education was less likely to experience violence, or get married and have children whiles she was still a child but more likely to be literate, healthy and grow into adulthood, invest her income into her family, community and country, and understand her rights and be forced to change.
Mr Asum Kwarteng, Plan Ghana, said the four- year BIAAG campaign was to ensure that more than 4,000 marginalized girls had access to and complete quality basic education and or acquire vocational skills by 2016, as well as promote active participation of 4,000 girls in development through strong social networks and life skills.
According to him, girls face unique and urgent challenges that require specific attention if their remarkable potential were to be harnessed to create a better life for themselves and their children, a more prosperous community, a healthy workforce and a stronger nation.
He said the report calls for at least nine years of quality basic education as the key to protecting and promoting girls right to education, and also enable girls to play significant roles in their communities and in breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
“It looks at why despite much efforts and goodwill , girls still lose out of school, and how best girls could be kept in schools , including the poorest and most marginalized, as well as how to improve quality of education they receive and empower them to take their rightful places as equal citizens”.
According to Mr Kwarteng, the report shows that education alone could not cure all society’s ills, but a good quality education could give girls the skills and competence needed to choose their career paths, healthy positive relationships with their partners, families and friends and enable them to make positive decisions about their bodies and health.