Education & Jobs

Education is the key

Investing in education

Education is seen as the key to developing the country into a middle-income nation. In recent years the government has dedicated over a fifth of the national budget to the education sector. And a significant portion of the country's new oil wealth – see Economy & Industry – will go to priority sectors such as education.

The school system in Ghana consists of two years of nursery, six years of primary education (starting aged six), three years of junior secondary and three years of senior secondary.

Primary school

Junior schoolIn this video…see what it's like at the SOS Children’s Village in Tema, Ghana.

School tuition fees were abolished in 1995. A decade later, a grant programme was introduced to remove other school costs.This means that families should only have to pay fees related to exams or parent-teacher assocations.

In 2007/8, Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to make two years of pre-primary/ nursery education (starting age 4 years) compulsory.

Further improvements

Literacy is high for the region, with most young people able to read and write. But Ghana’s authorities recognise there is still much work to do to improve education.

UNESCO found that over half of young women (aged 15-29) and over one-third of young men who had completed six years of primary school were not able to read a full sentence in 2008.

Part of the problem is a shortage of teachers, especially in rural regions. It is not unheard of for one teacher to handle as many as 100 pupils and some children are taught by unqualified staff.

The government has invested in special training geared towards rural teachers. Distance learning programmes were begun in 2007 and around 25,000 teachers had been given training by 2010.

Vocational and further education

Competition for places

Only one in nine school graduates finds a place at a technical/training college or university because of limited spaces.

Ghana’s secondary education provides a mixture of vocational and academic courses, though there is a shortage of technical/vocational teachers in rural areas.

There is a lot of competition at further education level. Over the last few years, some of Ghana’s colleges and universities have been expanding to try to meet demand.

The University of Winneba is one of the fastest-growing. Because of the importance of agriculture to Ghana’s economy (over half of jobs are related to this sector), like many further-education establishments, the university offers courses in agricultural studies. More unusually, its agriculture department specialises in new methods of livestock rearing. This includes training in specialised breeds and the farming of animals such as the Greater Cane Rat (known as grasscutters in Ghana), a species of rodent prized for its meat.