Identifying barriers and facilitating factors for secondary school for girls in sub-Saharan Africa: An exploratory descriptive review

Amanda L Cernovich, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

Background: It is well established that there is a correlation between years of education and better health outcomes, particularly for females. Higher levels of education are associated with lower infant and maternal mortality, healthier sexual practices, smaller families, and healthier children. Despite the beneficial effects of education on overall health, many regions of the world are plagued with gender disparities in education, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This region claims 14 of the top 20 countries in the world with the largest gender disparity in secondary enrollment, and only two out of the 35 countries have reached gender parity in secondary school education. The objective of this systematic review was to identify barriers and facilitating factors for secondary school for girls in sub-Saharan Africa.^ Methods: This literature review utilizes the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. All articles are published in English. Both qualitative and quantitative journal articles and white paper publications from governmental entities from 2000 to June 2016 are included.^ Results: 1,509 total articles were identified from searching the selected databases, and after two rounds of screening, forty articles were included in the analysis. Barriers include lacking financial resources to pay for school-associated fees, inability to manage menses, pregnancy and sexual activity, school environment and transportation, little value of girls’ education, and household environment, amongst several others. Facilitating factors to encourage girls to attend secondary school include a value of girls’ education, financial, social and familial support, and the ability to manage menses, as well as other factors.^ Conclusion: There is discernibly more information regarding barriers than facilitating factors to schooling, which suggests the number and weight of barriers far outweigh supporting factors for this population. This systematic review is the first to methodically examine articles regarding the barriers and facilitating factors to secondary education specifically for girls in SSA. The findings presented here can be used to guide programs and initiatives which aim to increase school attendance of girls in secondary schools in SSA.^

Subject Area

Education|Public health|Gender studies

Recommended Citation

Cernovich, Amanda L, "Identifying barriers and facilitating factors for secondary school for girls in sub-Saharan Africa: An exploratory descriptive review" (2016). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10245456.
http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI10245456

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