Africa > West Africa > Ghana > Ghana Education Profile

Ghana: Ghana Education Profile

2015/03/23

 Pupils of the De Youngsters International School waiting for the beginning of the lesson,Accra,Ghana

Education policy / R&D

Ghana’s educational system is undergoing a slow but consistent reform process. The outgoing government’s focus lay in expanding primary education and increasing teacher training, with positive results in regard to enrollment. Maintenance, sustainability and quality of teaching remain major problems, especially in the country’s north. The new government has announced a new drive in educational policies, which would require even higher investment than in the past. It is to be expected that donor assistance will continue to play an important role. The university system has all in all not benefited as much, despite some directed investment to specific departments. Every Ghanaian student who has the means prefers to leave the country for his or her tertiary education. Research and development in Ghana is existent on a very low level, but experts, including those working in the primary economic sectors of the country, are generally educated abroad.

On average it takes about 20 years for a child to complete their education in Ghana. Children from wealthy families usually benefit from attending private schools while children who are from poor families attend public schools. Most children in Ghana begin their education at the age of three or four. They first enter nursery school which is then followed by two years in kindergarten. After kindergarten, the child then continues to primary school, junior high school, senior high school and then finally university. Before there were more boys enrolled in schools than girls but with the implementation of equal rights for men and women there are about the same number of boys and girls enrolled in schools in Ghana now.

The Republic of Ghana has 12,630 primary schools, 5,450 junior secondary schools, 503 senior secondary schools, 21 training colleges, 18 technical institutions, two diploma-awarding institutions and five universities serving a population of 18 million;[1] this means that most Ghanaians have relatively easy access to good education. In contrast, at the time of independence in 1957, Ghana had only one university and a handful of secondary schools. In addition, research in the Ga District has found that approximately 15% of the children in Ga attended private schools unrecognised by the government. In the past decade, Ghana's spending on education has been between 28 % and 40 % of its annual budget. However, according to Odeneho Ababio, President of the National House of Chiefs, many children only have access to basic education because of the private schools in their communities

Most private institutions offer better education and at higher costs than public schools in Ghana, as the capitation grant attendance of Public schools is basically free. Parents often believe they are forced to pay considerable sums of money to offer their kids the best education. Many public schools that are government owned are the worst places a student could earn a junior secondary school degree in Ghana.

The BECE scores are normally used to compare quality and performance of schools. This does not mean that all government schools score worse than all private schools. There are definitely some good public schools and some bad private schools too. But it is true that in the top-10 scoring schools in a district 80% or more will be private schools whereas the bottom 10% (the worst scoring schools often with a 100% failing on BECE exams) will usually be all public schools. This is commonly attributed to better management in private schools, as good BECE results will mean more students and therefore better income of the school owner(s). However it is also observed that private schools tend to remove mediocre or poor-performing students from the school in the year before the final year (or at least have them repeat a class), in order to improve scores.

Countries like Britain have the GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education). Ghana has B.E.C.E that means "Basic Education Certificate Examination" and this exam has to be taken before a student is accepted into senior secondary school. Formerly, it used to cover 10 subjects ranging from:

  • * Mathematics
  • * English
  • * Social studies
  • * General science
  • * Agricultural science
  • * Pre-technical education
  • * Pre-vocational education
  • * any Ghanaian language
  • * Religious and moral education
  • * French
  •  

But as of 2010, most of these subjects have been integrated and changed whiles others have been dropped and new ones added.The  examinable subjects are now

* Mathematics
* English
* Social Studies
* Integrated Science
* Basic Designing and Technology(candidates can choose between Pre-technical Skills, Home Economics and Visual Arts),
* any Ghanaian language
* Information Communication and Technology
* Religious and Moral Education
* French.

The curricula for Senior Secondary School consists of

* Science (usually three years of biology, physics and chemistry).
* Mathematics (usually three years of trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus I and II)
* English (usually three years, consisting of composition writing, comprehension, literature general thinking and understanding)
* Physical Education (at least one year)
* Social Studies (usually three years, including government, understanding society, economy and history)

Elective courses offered

* General Arts I (consists of subjects ranging from economics, calculus I and II, geography and French).
* General Arts II (consists of subjects ranging from literature, trigonometry and pre-calculus, history and French).
* Agriculture (consists of subjects ranging from chemistry, physics, agricultural science and calculus I and II)
* Business (consists of subjects ranging from accounting, business management, calculus I and II)
* Science (consists of subjects ranging from biology, chemistry, physics and calculus I and II)

The curriculum for science students is hectic as compared to the other elective courses. Science students usually switch to other electives when they cannot keep up with the science course. West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (W.A.S.S.C.E.) In the fourth year students write their final exam called the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination. It consists of subjects from the elective courses.
[edit] College and University

Post secondary education in Ghana commonly consists of four years of majoring in a specific field of interest. Students are admitted based on their performance on the W.A.S.S.C.E, students who usually obtain a ‘C’ in their elective courses find it hard to get admitted to the public universities, they end up having to apply for private universities in the country.

Some of the best universities in Ghana are

* Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
* University of Ghana
* University of Education, Winneba
* University of Cape coast
* University of Development Studies
* Ashesi University (privately owned)
* Central University (privately owned)
* Regent University College of Science and Technology (privately owned)

College and University

These universities offer most of the internationally accepted degrees, which include Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS) and Master of Business Administration (MBA). They also offer professional degrees like Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or other doctoral degree, such as Doctor of Arts, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Theology, Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Pharmacy. Most of the programs offered such as medicine have formal apprenticeship procedures post-graduation like residency and internship which must be completed after graduation and before one is considered to be fully trained.

Student life

Those wishing to continue with their education move into the 3-year senior secondary school program. Most of the senior secondary schools provide boarding facilities, which most of the students use. Students select courses leading them to courses they may offer in the universities like General arts, General Science, Visual Arts and many other courses offered. At the end of the 3-year course in the senior secondary schools students are required to write an exam called West African Senior Secondary Certificate Exam (WASSCE). Other international exams are also taken such as SAT, TOEFL and IELTS. Entrance to universities is by examination following completion of senior secondary school. School enrollment totals almost 2 million: 1.3 million primary; 107,600 middle; 48,900 secondary; 21,280 technical; 11,300 teacher training; and 5,600 university.
 

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