Ghana has since independence made significant strides in its education system. The education landscape in Ghana today is the result of major policy initiatives in education adopted by past governments as well as the present one.
Some of the laws, policy documents and reports, which have helped in meeting the educational needs and aspirations of the people are:
The Education Act of 1961
The Dzobo Report of 1973 (Recommended the JSS Concept)
The New Structure and Content of Education 1974
The Education Commission Report on Basic and Secondary Education 1987/88.
The Education Reform Programme 1987/88
The University Relationalization Committee Report 1988
The Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education Programme, 1996. (1992 Constitution)
The FCUBE Policy Document and Programme of Operations,
The Ghana Education Trust Fund – GET Fund Act 2000.
Indeed these initiatives have not only helped in structurally transforming the education system but also improved considerably access, quality teaching and learning, infrastructure delivery as well as management efficiency.
2.0 BASIC EDUCATION
The Education Reform Programme introduced in 1987/88 and the free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) 1996 programme, have contributed immensely to the structure of Basic Education that we have today and the achievements so far made. Basic Education now consists of 6 years Primary Education followed by 3 years Junior Secondary.
2.1 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF EDUCATION REFORM PROGRAMME
Reduction in the length of pre-tertiary education from
17 to 12 years.
Increasing assess to education at all levels particularly at Basic and Secondary pre-vocational training and general skill training.
Enhance sector management and budgeting procedures.
The Education Reform Programme succeeded in solving some of the problems confronting the sector, including the reduction of the duration of pre-tertiary education from 12-17 years and expanding access to education. However, the sector was still beset with a number of problems. These included the
Poor quality teaching and learning.
Weak management capacity at all levels to the educational system.
Inadequate access to education.
2.2 FCUBE PROGRAMME
The FCUBE launched in October 1996 is being implemented for a ten year period (1996-2005) in fulfillment of the Fourth Republican Constitutions mandate which states in Chapter 6/Section 38 Sub-section 2: “The Government shall within two years after Parliament first meets after the coming into force of this Constitution draw up the programme for implementation within the following ten years for the provision of Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education). It was designed to address some of the shortcomings of the educational reforms. The main objectives are:
Expand access to good quality basic education.
Promote efficient teaching and learning.
Improve teacher moral and motivation through incentive programmes.
Ensure adequate and timely supply of teaching and learning to schools.
Improve teacher community relations.
To facilitate the attainment of these objectives, a number of programmes and interventions are being implemented as part of holistic approach to promote expanded access a positive building of effective assessment of pupils, the mobilization of community resources for school development and healthy school/community relations. Some of these interventions are:
2.2.1 QUALITY IMPROVEMENT IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS (QUIPS)
The QUIPS Programme supported by USAID among other things helps to produce competent teachers, train education managers and planners and promote a supportive learning environment.
A Mid-Term Assessment of The QUIPS Programme indicates that the programme is impacting positively on teaching and learning outcomes in primary schools. Currently QUIPS is being implemented in 429 schools throughout the country.
2.2.2 CHILD SCHOOL COMMUNITY PROGRESS IN EDUCATION (Child Scope)
Child Scope is a UNICEF sponsored programme, which is helping to improve children’s reading, writing and numeracy skills in primary schools.
2.2.3 PERFORMANCE MONITORING TEST (PMT)/ SCHOOL PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL MEETING
The PMT/SPAM, which were introduced in 1998, have proved to be effective tools in monitoring, teaching and learning outcomes in Basic Schools. The PMT is a test in English and Mathematics administered to 25%-50% of pupils in Public Schools. The results are discussed at School Performance Appraisal Meeting (SPAM) where parents have the opportunity to analyse the performance of their children and map out strategies for improving their performance and school achieving set targets.
2.2.4 DISTRICT TEACHER SUPPORT TEAM (DTST)
The District Teacher Support Team (DSTS) provide an anchor for improving the quality of teaching and learning at the district level. It provides support to schools in the area of good practices in literacy, numeracy and problem solving.
2.2.5 WHOLE SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT (WSD) PROGRAMME
The WSD programme is a GES strategy for mainstreaming all interventions for the achievements of the FCUBE objectives.
Zonal Co-coordinators have been appointed to serve as a link between pre-service and in-service programmes. They also link District and Regional management personnel to Teacher Training Colleges.
2.3 SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENTS
The implementation of these programmes/interventions over the years by the Ministry with the support of stakeholders including NGOs and the development partners has helped to expand access, improve quality teaching and learning, improve the supply of logistics and curricula development as well as motivate teachers.
At the moment, in the public sector there are 12,225 Primary Schools and 6,418 Junior Secondary Schools with the total enrollment figures of 2,216,792 and 767,303 respectively. In the private education sector, the number of pupils in private basic schools is 550,423.
This year, as part of efforts to further expand access, government has embarked on a programme to rehabilitate 3,000 Basic Schools throughout the country Six selected districts in the three Northern regions are to benefit from ¢42 billion school construction and rehabilitation project.
The districts are:
Tolon Kumbungu and Nanumba in the Northern Region, Nadoli and Wa in Upper West and Bongo and Bawku in the Upper East.
A further 58 schools are to be rehabilitated under the GET Fund at a total cost of ¢5.1 billion. Currently the Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) for primary is 78.6% while that of JSS is 60.9%.
The Ministry is doing all that it can to reduce considerably the over 20% children of school going age who are still out of school.
The supply of teaching and learning materials is also receiving the necessary attention. Under the Book Scheme for Basic Schools, 5 Million Supplementary Readers and four hundred and forty thousand Atlases were supplied to Public Schools between June 1995 and December 1999. The scheme was extended to public Junior Secondary Schools this year as a result of which a total of 1,316,216 supplementary readers have been supplied to Junior Secondary Schools. Private Basic Schools and Senior Secondary Schools also have access to government procured and printed textbooks.
2.4. DECENTRALISATION / COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION
District Assemblies have the responsibility to build, equip and maintain schools under their areas of jurisdiction. All the 110 District Assemblies have established District Education Fund for this purpose.
Subject to the approval of District Assemblies, communities may impose special levies on their members for the purpose of raising funds for school project. Community participation has been identified as one of the areas that can help to improve access to basic education. To facilitate this participation, community structures such as District Education Oversight Committee, School Management Committee, District Education Planning Team and Parents Teacher Association have been put in place.
3.0 SECONDARY EDUCATION
The Senior Secondary School system provides further education to eligible Junior Secondary School pupils. The objective is to help equip them with skills and knowledge either for direct entry into the world of work or for further education. The ever increasing number of basic school pupils has led to a corresponding increase in the number of senior secondary schools to help meet the growing demand for secondary education. The number of public senior secondary schools stands at 474 with a total enrolment of 232,095.
To help lay a solid foundation for science education, 110 Science Resource Centres have been established through out the country to enable secondary schools without well equipped science laboratory to have access to science practicals. The supply of text books in senior secondary schools has also improved considerably, as part of the Ministry’s plan to ensure that students have adequate text books for their studies. Another segment of secondary education is Technical/Vocational Education. It is provided in Secondary/Technical Schools, Technical Institutes, Vocational Schools /Training Centres and other post-basic education training institutions. Basically, the purpose of technical and vocational education is to equip young men and women with the technical and professional skills needed for the rapid socio-economic development of the country. The emphasis is on training people for self-employment.
Technical and vocational education has been given a boost with the ongoing establishment of 20 Technical/Vocational Resource Centres throughout the country (2 in each region).
At the moment Ghana can boast of 23 public technical institutes and several private ones including Vocational Institutions. The private sector is contributing a lot in providing quality education at the secondary level. The private second cycle schools have a total enrolment of 90,000.
3.1 INFORMATION COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY (ICT) EDUCATION
The ICT revolution is having tremendous impact on the rapid development of world economies and making national economies more interdependent than they were some years ago. The Ministry is therefore committed to making Ghana a key player in today’s digital age. To this end, the Ministry has embarked upon a programme to streamline computer studies in secondary schools. Already, a draft ICT policy has been prepared and submitted to Cabinet for approval. A curriculum has also been developed for ICT training and examination at the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE) Level. In addition, every effort is being made to provide telephone facilities to all senior secondary schools and training colleges to enable them have access to the Internet.
4.0 TEACHER TRAINING EDUCATION
Under the Education Reform Programme, the 4-year Post-Middle School Teacher Training Programme was phased out in 1991, giving way to only a 3-year Post Secondary Programme.
Quality teacher education is crucial for effective education outcomes. To this end, facilities in all the 38 Teacher Training Colleges have been rehabilitated under the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and K F W assistance programme. Entry requirements into Teacher Training Colleges have been streamlined to ensure the recruitment of students with good grades and who also have a passion for the teaching profession. Also, under a new programme known as In-In-Out, teacher trainees are expected to spend two years at school and use the third year for practical training in the classroom. The Ministry is vigorously pursuing a programme to turn all the 38 Teacher Training Colleges into diploma awarding institutions.
4.1 DISTRICT SPONSORSHIP SCHEME
The scheme is aimed at ensuring the constant supply of trained teachers to rural/deprived areas. Districts experiencing difficulties in meeting their needs for qualified teachers are allowed to sponsor candidates for training. It is incumbent upon such students to teach in Districts that sponsor them for at least 3 years. Most rural areas have benefited greatly from the scheme.
5.0 GIRL-CHILD EDUCATION
In 1997, the Ministry of Education established the Girls Education Unit of the GES to increase girl’s enrolment in schools to equal that of boys by the year 2005. It was also tasked to reduce the dropout rate for girls from 30% to 20% in the primary schools and in the JSS from 29% to 15%.
Considerable progress has been made in this area. For example while in 1990/91 girls enrolment at the Primary level was 45%, the percentage in 2000/2001 was 47.2%. That of the JSS went up to 45.3% in 2000/2001 from 40.8% in
1990/91 while at the secondary education level it improved considerably from 33.0% in 1990/91 to 41% in 2000/2001. The Science Technology, Mathematics Education (STME) clinic for girls was instituted in 1987 to promote the interest of girls in Science Technology and Mathematics education and also, enable them to interact with women scientists and technologists. The clinics were decentralised to the district level in 1997 and has resulted in an increase in the number of girls pursuing science and technology related courses in our secondary schools as well as the universities. The Ministry will soon launch a Girl Child Education programme under which infrastructure in selected female institutions will be rehabilitated and expanded in order to improve access. In addition, the Girl Child Scholarship programme began last year (2001) by the Ghana Education Service and will continue to enjoy support from the GET Fund. With the appointment of a Minister of State for Primary, Secondary and Girl-Child Education, sufficient awareness has been created among parents on the need to educate their girl-child.
6.0 TERTIARY EDUCATION
Tertiary Education Reforms were launched in 1991 with the publication of a Government White Paper on the University Rationalisation Committee Report. The White Paper on Tertiary Education redefined higher education to include Universities, Polytechnics, and Teacher Training Colleges etc., indeed all-formal education beyond the SSS.
The major objective of the Tertiary Education Reforms was to expand access, improve quality teaching and learning and provide the much-needed infrastructural base for accelerated technical manpower delivery for sustainable economic development.
At the moment, there are 38 public Post Secondary Teacher Training colleges, 10 Polytechnics (one in each region) and
6 Universities. The universities are: the University of Ghana, Legon, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, the University of Cape Coast, the University for Development Studies, the University College of Education, Winneba and the Western University College, Tarkwa.
In addition to these, the National Accreditation Board has accredited ten (10) private universities and university type institutions that are offering quality programmes for the benefits of students. The Board has also accredited nine (9) tutorial professional colleges (which prepare students to take examination of accredited (recognized) professional bodies within and outside Ghana); and two (2) distance education-learning centres that represent accredited universities outside Ghana.
Enrolment in all tertiary institutions has improved considerably. For example enrolment in the 38 Teacher Training College increased from 18,955 in 1993/94 to 21, 410 in 2000/2001. In the case of the Polytechnics the enrolment figure of 1,299 for 1993/94 increased to 18,474 in 2000/2001 while that of five public universities went up from 15,365 1993/94 to 40,673 in 2000/2001.
The Ministry is determined to assist the Polytechnics to develop highly skilled middle-level manpower for the nation’s socio economic development. To this end Polytechnics are being encouraged to introduced Post HND and Bachelor of Technology programmes. Already the Takoradi Polytechnic has concluded plans to start a Bachelor of Technology Degree in commercial arts and marketing, purchasing and supply in the 2003/2004 academic year.
To improve the capacity and qualifications of teaching staff, arrangements are being worked out with local and foreign universities to give special consideration to staff of polytechnics for special grants. Physical infrastructure namely in the area of office, residential and classroom accommodation ,libraries, laboratory facilities as well as tools and equipment supply in all tertiary institutions have shown considerable improvement.
7.0 FUNCTIONAL LITERACY PROGRAMME
The non-formal Education Division of the Ministry was established in 1991 and tasked to carry out the eradication of illiteracy in Ghana by the year 2011. The first phase of the Functional Literacy Programme has reduced national illiteracy rate from 69% to 52%. Government with support of the World Bank is committed to reducing the rate further to below 40% under the second phase (2000-2005).
8.0 THE WAY FORWARD
Quality education delivery remains Ghana’s hope of reducing the high level of poverty in the society as well as becoming competitive in today’s knowledge driven globalized economy.
In spite of the fact that Ghana’s education system has come far and made the nation what it is today, the increasing challenges of the twenty-first century demand that we reengineer our education system to make it more responsive to national goals and aspirations as well as global demands.
This is the task before the Education Sector Review Committee and the Presidential Review Committee on Education.
8.1 EDUCATION SECTOR REVIEW COMMITTEE
The Education Sector Review Committee is a Ministry of Education/GES initiative aimed at addressing the weak management capacity within the education sector (resulting in inefficient utilization of resources, inadequate provision of infrastructure facilities and requisite teaching and learning materials due to poor national economic climate) and unsatisfactory conditions of service for teachers and other personnel of the sector.
The terms of Reference of the Committee are:
Consider modification of existing policy and strategy
Examine the subsystems in education sector and their linkages
Analyse education outcomes (Access/Efficiency, Quality/Relevance and Equity)
Determine how best to improve Community/School Relationship
Examine management and financing (within the context of decentralization)
8.2 PRESIDENTIAL REVIEW COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
The Terms of Reference of this committee on the other hand are:
Examining the goals and philosophy of the present education system with a view to ensuring their relevance to the development of human resources for the nation in the light of new challenges facing the nation
Determine how best to mainstream pre-school education into the formal education system
Re-examine the basic school system
Determine the restructuring of post basic education.
Examine the emphases given to vocational and technical education and the links to polytechnics and the world of work
Examine the role of polytechnics in the production of middle and high level human capital for the country.
Examine tertiary education including alternative ways of increasing access to tertiary education.
Examine distance learning using ICT as a mode of instruction at the basic and secondary levels.
Determine strategies for the introduction of information technology in all schools and colleges.
Consider strategies for the professional development of all actors in education (teachers, instructors, lectures and administrators etc)
Government’s determination to adopt a holistic approach to the development of education within the framework of mobilizing all available resources – human, material and financial is gradually yielding positive result. Poverty, which has been identified as a major barrier to education, is being addressed through the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy. (GPRS) which seeks to provide and enable environment that empower all Ghanaians to participate in wealth creation.
Ghana, in spite of severe economic constraints will continue to remain committed to efforts aimed at putting in place an efficient, credible and sustainable education system that will make the nation competitive in today’s globalised economy which is increasingly becoming knowledge-driven.
Schools and Universities
Ghana has 12, 130 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 17 million; 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 and primary schools. In the past decade, Ghanaís spending on education has been between 28 percent and 40 percent of its annual budget.
Primary and middle school education is tuition-free. It will be mandatory when enough teachers and facilities are available to accommodate all the students. Students begin their 6-year primary education at age six. Under the educational reforms implemented in 1987, they go through a three-year Junior Secondary School System.
This system prepares them to sit for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) at the end of the 3rd year.
Those continuing move into the 3-year senior secondary school program. Entrance to universities is by examination following completion of senior secondary school. School enrolment totals almost 2 million: 1.3 million primary; 107.600 secondary; 489,00 middle; 21,280 technical; 11,300 teacher training; and 5, 600 university.
Education is mainly in English
1. University of Ghana, Legon – Accra
2. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi 3. University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast 4. University of Development Studies, Tamale 5. Methodist University College of Ghana, Dansoman – Accra 6. Islamic University College of Ghana, East Legon – Accra 7. Catholic University, Fiapre – Sunyani 8. University College of Winneba, Winneba 9. Central University, Mataheko – Accra 10. Ashesi University College, Labone – Accra 11. Valley View University, Dodowa – Gt. Accra
The President’s Special Initiative On Distance Learning At A Glance
Government’s policy statement places emphasis on the creation of an enabling environment for all Ghanaians, irrespective of their socio-economic status, or geographical location, to have access to basic social services such as health-care, quality education, potable water, among others.
Ghana’s Constitution also places an obligation on the state (in Article 25 of the 1992 Constitution) to meet the educational needs of its youth.
It is in the light of these, coupled with the falling standards in education, and the nation’s inability to produce skilled work-force that can compete effectively in a globalized knowledge-based economy, that government thought of developing an alternative education for children and the youth out of school and those in hard-to-reach areas.
By developing an alternative education, government aims at addressing problems associated with school enrolment, quality and relevance of studies – all of which combine to produce skill and entrepreneurial gaps in the labour market affecting various youth groups.
On April 30, 2002, a national planning committee was inaugurated by the Honourable Minister for Information and Presidential Affairs, Mr. Jake O. Obetsebi-Lamptey.
The Committee was tasked to plant the establishment of a distance education and open learning system to enhance in a significant and cost effective manner the provision of education in the country.
The project, which is under the President’s Special Initiative, is a collaboration between the Ministry of Information and Presidential Affairs and the Ministry of Education..
The eleven-member planning committee has as its chairman, Mr. Alex T. Quarmyne, a communication specialist and Managing Director of African Communication TRUST limited.
Members include, Ms Abena Agyakom Kwarteng, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. H.K. Ofori-Awuah, Deputy Director-General, Ghana Education Service, and Prof. J.
Ananmuah-Mensah, Principal, University College of Education, Winnneba.
Others are Ms. Eva Lokko, Director-General, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Roger Oppong-Koranteng, IT Consultant/Lecturer, GIMPA – Distance Learning Centre, and Prof. J.S. Djangmah, Education Policy and Planning Expert.
The rest are Mr. Jacob Anderson, Ghana National Association of Teachers (gnat), Prof. Samuel N. Woode, Director, Institute of Local Government Studies and Mrs. Agartha Gaisie-Nketia, PUFMARP Secretariat, Ministry of Finance.
The Scope of the committee’s work includes the following;
The Planning of a JSS/SSS programme in Mathematics and English to be aligned with the JSS and SSS curricula. This will be broadcast on TV during School term and School hours, but to stand-alone from classroom schedules.
Teacher Education Programme, targeted at teachers in Mathematics and English to be broadcast on TV.
And an open college programme targeted at students in entrepreneurship, Information Technology training and also JSS and SSS students who would be following the Mathematics and English lessons of the JSS/SSS programme in preparation to sit or resist relevant examinations.
The Committee has its secretariat located in the Ministry of Information and Presidential affairs and has in place an Administration Officer and a Secretary.
Best Teachers in the various disciplines have been recruited to write and review scripts. Some completed scripts have been sent to selected Media Production Houses for filming.
Some schools have been identified nation-wide as pilot schools where programme impact would be assessed.
TV has been proposed as the main delivery medium for cost effectiveness due to the current low level of computer literacy, limited access to Internet and computers. CD Rom production of the television lesions has been recommended for the JSS/SSS series. Radio programmes will be introduced later on, for only English.
Come January 2003 the pilot project would be launched for the programme to start rolling on the national television network.