|Ministry of Education
Ministry of Higher Education
|National education budget (2010)|
|Budget||24.4 % of government expenditure|
Education in Ghana from nursery school up to an undergraduate degree level takes about 20 years. Education is compulsory from 4 to 15("basic Education curriculum"). Children begin their education at the age of three or four starting from nursery school to kindergarten, then primary school (elementary school), junior high school and senior high school (secondary school), and finally university. In the past decade, Ghana's spending on education has been around 25 percent of its annual budget.
Education is one of the main challenge of Ghana. The education gap between older generation(born in 1980) and the younger generation shows both the progress made and the one to be done to sustain Ghana's growing economy.
- 1 History
- 2 Statistics
- 3 Structure of formal education
- 4 Governance
- 5 Public action and Policies
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
In the pre-colonial times, Education in Ghana was informal: Knowledge and competencies were transmitted orally and through apprenticeships. The arrival of European settlers brought new forms of learning: Between the 16th and the 19th century, “fort schools”, colonial schools and “mission schools” were providing a bookish education, contributing to the construction of a local elite.
Since the independence in 1957, Education in Ghana has known several major reforms: in 1961, the Education Act introduced the principle of a free and compulsory primary education. As a result, the enrollment almost doubled the next year. This sudden expansion was however hard to handle: Ghana quickly fell short of trained teachers and the quality of the curriculum (lacks in English or in Mathematics) was put into question. Despite the rapid increase of school infrastructures, the enrollment slowly declined until 1973. The year 1974 saw attempts of reforms. Based on the “Dozbo committee report”, they followed 2 goals: reducing the length of pre-tertiary education (The structure primary school/Junior High School/Senior High school was created) and modifying programs in order to promote more practical contents at school. Those reforms were however very partially implemented due to financial limitations and political instability. The GER dropped sharper in the 1980’s, falling below the 70%: Into an economic downturn, the country was failing at solving the deficit of teachers, maintaining the infrastructures and convincing the parents to bet on school instead of a paid work.
The year 1987 marks the beginning of new serie of reforms , financially backed by numerous international organizations and countries. The 1987 Education Act aimed at turning the 1974’s Dozbo committee measures into reality: a national literacy campaign was launched, pre-tertiary education was reduced from 17 to 12 years and vocational education appears in Junior High School. Education was made compulsory from 6 to 14. The reform achieved to impose a new education structure, as well as to increase the enrollment and the number of infrastructure. Yet the promise of a universal access to basic education was not fulfilled. Vocational programs were also considered as a failure. The return to constitutional rule in 1992 gave a new impulse by reclaiming the duty of the state to provide a free and compulsory basic education for all. The local government Act of 1993 initiated the decentralization in education administration, by transferring power to district assemblies. The Free, Compulsory and Universal Basic Education(FCUBE) provided an action plan for the period 1996-2005, focusing on bridging the gender gap in primary-school, improving teaching materials and teacher’s living condition. It was later completed by significant acts, like the creation of the “Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training” in order to promote vocational education(2006), or the founding of the national accreditation board (2007), introducing a national accreditation for all tertiary level institution. In 2007-2008, the two years in Kindergarten were added to the free and compulsory education (which is now going age 4 to 14).
Ghana's spending on education has been around 25 % of its annual budget in the past decade.
The ratio of females to males in the total education system was 96.38% in 2011 and the Ghana education system annually attracts a high-number of foreign students particularly in the tertiary education. The adult literacy rate in Ghana was 71.5% in 2010, with males at 78.3% and females at 65.3%. The youth female and male ages 15–24 years literacy rate in Ghana was 81% in 2010, with males at 82%, and females at 80%.
Since 2008, enrollment has continually increased at all level of education (pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary Education).With over 98% of its children in school, Ghana currently has the second highest school enrollment rate in all of Africa. The number of infrastructures has increased consequently on the same period. Vocational Education (in "TVET institutes", not-including SHS vocational and technical programs) is the only exception, with an enrollment decrease of 1,3% and the disappearance of more than 50 institutions between the years 2011/12 and 2012/2013. This drop would be the result of the low prestige of Vocational Education and the lack of demand from industry.
Structure of formal education
The Ghanaian education system is divided in three parts: "Basic Education", secondary cycle and tertiary Education. "Basic Education" lasts 11 years(Age 4-15), is free and compulsory. It is divided into Kindergarten(2 years), primary school(2 module of 3 years) and Junior High school(3 years). The junior high school(JHS) ends on the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Once the BECE achieved, the pupil can pursue into secondary cycle. Secondary cycle can be either comprehensive (assumed by Senior High School) or vocational(assumed by technical Senior High School, Technical and vocational Institutes and a massive private and informal offer). Senior High school lasts three years and ends on the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Other secondary institutions leads to various certification and diploma. Tertiary education is basically divided into university (comprehensive Education) and Polytechnics(vocational education). The WASSCE is needed to join a university Bachelor degree program.A bachelor degree lasts 4 years and can be followed by a 1 or 2 year Master. The student is then free to start a Phd, usually completed in 3 years.Polytechnics are opened to vocational students, from SHS or from TVI. A Polytechnic lasts 2 or 3 years. Ghana also possesses numerous colleges of education. The Ghanaian education system from Kindergarten up to an undergraduate degree level takes 20 years.
Basic Education lasts 11 years. The curriculum is free and compulsory (Age 4-15) and is defined as "the minimum period of schooling needed to ensure that children acquire basic literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills as well as skills for creativity and healthy living". It is divided into Kindergarten, Primary school and Junior High School (JHS), which ends on the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
Kindergarten lasts for 2years (Age 4-6). The program is divided in 6 core areas: Language and Literacy (Language Development),Creative Activities (Drawing and Writing),Mathematics (Number Work), Environmental Studies, Movement and Drama (Music and Dance), and Physical Development (Physical Education)
Primary school lasts 6 years(Age 6-11). The courses taught at the primary or basic school level include English, Akan language and Ghanaian culture, ICT, mathematics, environmental studies, social studies, Mandarin and French as an OIF associated-member; as further languages are added, integrated or general science, pre-vocational skills and pre-technical skills, religious and moral education, and physical activities such as Ghanaian music and dance, and physical education. There is no certificate of completion at the end of primary school.
Junior Secondary School lasts 3 years(Age 12-15). The Junior High School ends on the Basic Education Certificate(BECE), which covers the following subjects:English Language, Ghanaian Language and Culture, Social Studies, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Basic, Design and Technology, Information and Communication Technology, French (optional), Religious and Moral Education.
Students who pass the BECE can proceed into secondary education, general or vocational.
The secondary general education is assumed by the Senior High School(SHS). The SHS curriculum is composed of core subjects, completed by elective subjects(chosen by the students). The core subjects are English language, mathematics, integrated science (including science, ICT and environmental studies) and social studies (economics, geography, history and government). The students then choose 3 or 4 elective subjects from 5 available programmes: agriculture programme, general programme (divided in 2 options: arts or science), business programme, vocational programme and technical programme.
The Senior high school's curriculum is similar to the US High School's: same structure Core/elective classes, and same core classes entitlements. Yet the Ghanaian SHS lasts only 3 years, as a result of numerous reforms: Originally a three years curriculum, it was extended to 4 years in 2007. However, early 2009 this reform was immediately reversed by the new NDC government, making SHS a 3 years curriculum again. The length of the SHS is still a disputed question.
The curriculum ends on a final exam called the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), formerly called Senior Secondary School Certificate (SSSC) before 2007. A SHS ranking is established every year by the Statistics, Research, Information, Management and Public Relations (SRIMPR) Division of the Ministry of Education, based on the WASSCE results.
Vocational and technical Education (also called “TVET”) takes different forms. After obtaining the BECE, students who wish to pursue in vocational Education have two main possibilities: Following the vocational and technical programs as elective courses in a SHS, or joining a technical and vocational institute(TVI). SHS students follow the usual SHS 3 year curriculum. They can then – provided sufficient results at the WASSCE – join a university or polytechnic program. TVI students usually follow a 4 year curriculum, divided in two cycle of two years, leading to “awards from City & Guilds, the Royal Society of Arts or the West African Examinations Council". They can then pursue into a polytechnic program. The state of vocational education sector remains however obscure in Ghana: 90% of the vocational education is still informal, taking the form of apprenticeship. The offer of formal vocational education within the private sector is also hard to define and the ministry of Education recognizes even its incapacity to give a clear overview of the public vocational education, many ministries having their own programs.
International schools: there are also international schools such as the Takoradi International School, Tema International School, Galaxy International School, The Roman Ridge School, Lincoln Community School, Faith Montessori School, American International School, Association International School, New Nation School, SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College and International Community School, which offer the International Baccalaureat, Advanced Level General Certificate of Education and the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
Tertiary education in Ghana has been notably growing during the last twenty years, both in terms of enrollment and infrastructures. A substantial part of this development come from the private sector.
Universities(6 public and 49 private institutions) offer an academic education, from bachelor to Phd. Students are admitted based on their performance at the W.A.S.S.C.E(West African Senior School Certificate Examination"): A maximum of 24 points is generally required in order to enter a Bachelor degree program(see Grading system in Ghana). A bachelor degree is usually completed after four years of majoring in a specific field of interest. Master degrees are mostly of two sorts: A one year program, concluded with a final paper based on a literature study, or a two year program, concluded with a final paper based on year of independent research. Both can lead to a Phd, taking usually 3 years within a doctoral program.
Polytechnics (10 institutions) offer a vocational education. They usually propose a 3-year curriculum, leading to a Higher National Diploma(HND). The students have then the possibility to follow a special 18 month program to achieve a Bachelor of Technology degree.
Ghana also possesses many specialized "colleges of education", public or private. They are usually specialized in one field (colleges of agriculture p.e) or in one work-traing (Nursing training colleges, teacher training colleges, p.e).
Ghana’s grading system is different at every point in education. Through the kindergarten to the junior high, every grade a student gains is written in terms of numbers instead of alphabets. There is no system of pluses and minuses (no "1+"’s or "6+"’s as grades).
Senior high school
Until 2007, Senior secondary High school ended with the Senior secondary School Certificate(SSSC). Its grading system went from A to E. In 2007, the SSSC was replaced by the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). The WASSCE grading system adds numbers to the letters, offering a larger scale of evaluation. In both systems, each grade refers to a certain number of points. In order to join a Bachelor degree program, applicants are usually asked not to exceed 24 points at their WASSCE/SSSC.
|SSSC grades(before 2007), [in points]||WASSCE grades(since 2007),[in points]||Description|
The grading system varies depending of the institution. Almost all the tertiary institutions are based on the Grade Point Average (G.P.A) as a way of assessing whether a student is failing or passing. But individual schools have their own way of calculating GPA's, because of their individualized marking schemes. For example, a mark of 80 may be an A in a school, but may be an A+ in another school.
Education in Ghana is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. Implementation of policies is assumed by its numerous agencies: The Ghana Education Service (GES) is responsible for the coordination of national education policy on pre-tertiary education. It shares this task with three autonomous bodies, the National Inspectorate Board (NIB),the National Teaching Council (NTC) and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). The terminal examinations of the pre-tertiary education are conducted by the The West African Examination Council (National Office, Ghana): it includes the BECE and the WASCCE but also foreign professional examination. The Counsil for Technical and vocational educaiton and Training is dedicated to the management of TVET. The collection and analysis of educational data is handled by the Education Management Information System (EMIS).
Policies are implemented in cooperation with the local offices: Ghana is divided in 10 regional and 138 local offices. The Ghana Education Decentralization Project (GEDP), launched in 2010 and ended in 2012, has increased the influence of local authorities over management, finance and operational issues when it comes to educational matters.
The Ghanean State has dedicated 23% of its expenditure into education in 2010. More than 90% of this budget is spent by the Ministry of Education and its agencies: Primary education (31% of the expenditure) and tertiary education(21,6%) are the most provided. The expenditures are partly founded by donors. Among them can be found the World Bank, the United states (through the USAID), the United Kingdom(through the DfID) and the European Union. Their participation is usually project-focused and granted under certain condition, giving them a certain influence. This influence can provoke debates when it comes to key-reforms: For the FCUBE project, the World Bank imposed book charges in primary schools and reduced feeding and boarding coasts in secondary schools. Facing criticisms, the Bank insisted on the “strong domestic ownership” of the reform and its necessity to ensure “cost recovery”. Between 2005 and 2012, the part of donors in the Ghanean budget has fallen from 8.5 to 2.5% of the total education expenditure.
Public action and Policies
Equity in access to tertiary education
With the rise of enrollment in secondary education, competition for joining higher education institution has globally increased: In 2001, the university of Ghana had admitted 96% of the relevant applications it had received. In 2011, this acceptance rate had fallen to 52%. This increasing selectivity highlights inequalities in Ghana regarding Education: Being a woman or living in a rural area can reduce the chance of reaching tertiary Education. Socioeconomic status is also a factor of exclusion, as studying at the highest level is expensive: Public universities have no tuition fee but usually demand payment for other charges: registration fee, technology fee, examination fee, academic facility user fee, medical services fee. These charges can lead to self-censorship behaviors, some students choosing, for instance, Teacher Training Colleges (where students can receive stipends) instead of joining an university.
Policies has been developed to limit those inequalities: Some universities have, for instance, lowered their minimum entry requirement or created scholarship for students from the "less-endowed secondary school". A "Girls Education unit" has been created by the government within the Ghana Education Service, in order to reduce gender-biased disparities: The unit tries to tackle the problem at its source, focusing on the "basic Education" to avoid high female school drop-out from JHS to SHS. Progresses have been made: The proportion of girls in Higher Education has increased from 25%(1999) to 32%(2005).Yet gender still generates inequality, for numerous reasons: Hostile school environment, priority given to the boys in poor families, perpetuation of "gender roles" ("a woman belongs to the household"), early customary marriages, teenage pregnancy...
The higher Education is still mostly occupied by a small male elite:
HE in Ghana is disproportionately ‘consumed’ by the richest 20% of the population. Male students from the highest income quintile (Q5) are more than seven times more likely to enter and successfully complete HE than those from the poorest quintile (Q1). The situation is even more precarious for the female category where students come from only the richest 40% of the population.
Adult literacy, non-formal education
Public action against illiteracy started more than 50 years ago in Ghana. Initiated in the 1940’s by the british rulers, its eradication was raised to top-priority at the independence in 1957. Political unrests however limited political actions to sporadic short-term programm, until 1987 and the creation of the Non-Formal Education Division(NFED), whose goal was to eliminate illiteracy by 2000. After a convincing try in 2 regions, the Functional Literacy Skills Project(FLSP) was expanded to the whole country in 1992. In 2000, the programm was taken over by the National Functionnal Literacy Programme (FNLP), which is still active nowadays. Those programms focuse on gender and geographical inequalities. Women and people living in rural area are their main targets. In 2004, there were 1238 “Literacy centers”, situated mostly in non-urban area.
The successive projects led to statistical progresses. In 1997, 64% of women were illiterate for 38% of men, for a global literacy rate of 54%. In 2010, women literacy was of 65% and the global literacy rate had increased to 71,5%. Academics however pointed out the insufficient progress of women literacy and the difficulty for graduated to upkeep their new skills.
Other forms of non-formal education are also conducted by the NFED: "Life-skills training" (Family planning, hygiene, prevention on AIDS) targeting adolescent and young mother, "Occupational skills training" for unemployed adults or "civil awareness" seminars (on civil rights and duties) addressed to illiterate adults.
ICT in education
Computer technology used for teaching and learning began to receive governments’ attention in the past decade. The ICT in Education Policy of Ghana requires the use of ICT for teaching and learning at all levels of the education system. Attempts have been made by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to support institutions in teaching of ICT literacy. Most secondary, and some basic, schools have computers laboratories.
A recent study on Pedagogical integration of ICTs from 2009 - 2011 in 10 Ghanaian schools indicates that there is a gap between the policy directives and actual practices in schools. The emphasis of the official curricula is on the development of students’ skills in operating ICTs but not necessarily using the technology as a means of learning subjects other than ICTs. The study also found that the MOE is currently at the stage of deployment of ICT resources for developing the needed ICT literacy required for integration into teaching/learning.
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|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
- MoE (July 2013). "Education Sector Performance Report". Ministry of Education, Republic of Ghana. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- Atuahene, Ansah (23 July 2013). "A Descriptive Assessment of Higher Education Access, Participation, Equity, and Disparity in Ghana". SageOpen. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
- NUFFIC (January 2013). "Country Module: Ghana". Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher Education. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
- Ministry of Education(MoE)- Responsible for initiating, formulating, coordinating and reviewing all education policies in Ghana
- List of the "Agencies" attached to the Ministry of Education - includes the Ghana Education Service (GES), the National Accreditation board (NAB), the National Council for Tertiary Education(NCTE)...
Data and reports from external institutions
- "Country Module: Ghana", NUFFIC(2013) - Overview of the Educational system by the Netherlands organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education.
- "Vocational Education" in Ghana, UNESCO-UNEVOC (2012) - Overview of the vocational Education system
- "Education in Ghana: A fact sheet", UNICEF(2012) - A 2 page analysis backed by numerous data.
- Review of Education Sector Analysis in Ghana 1987-1998, WGESA