Why do Egypt's girls need their own schools?
There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls and women. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, lower infant and maternal mortality, improve nutrition, promote health and increase the chances of education of the next generation.
UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, has said that education is vital to ensuring a better quality of life for all children and a better world for all people. But if girls are left behind, those goals can never be achieved.
Hedeya Ragab, a UNICEF-trained teacher at the recently opened girl-friendly school in Abu Sir, said many girls are kept from school. Sometimes their parents don't register their daughters' births, concluding that the girls will get social insurance and other benefits when they marry, generally in their early teens.
Hedeya and her fellow teacher, Mervat Abdel Naser, went from door to door in Abu Sir, explaining the benefits of the school to the girls and their fathers. School is free, they told the girls and their families, and stationary and books also are provided. Often, she says, the older girls were the most eager to attend.