Ghanaian education system is divided in three parts: “Basic Education”, secondary cycle and tertiary education. “Basic Education” lasts 11 years.
It is divided into Kindergarten, Primary School and Junior High. Junior High School ends with the Basic Education Certificate Examination. Once the BECE achieved, the pupil can pursue into secondary cycle.
Hence, the pupil has the choice between general education (assumed by Senior High School) and vocational education (assumed by technical Senior High School, Technical and Vocational Institutes, completed by a massive private and informal offer).
Senior High School lasts three years and ends on the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). The WASSCE is needed to join a university bachelor’s degree programme. Polytechnics are opened to vocational students, from SHS or from TVI.
A Bachelor’s degree usually lasts 4 years, can be followed by a 1- or 2-year master’s degree, which can be concluded in 3 years by a Ph.D.
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.
The academic year usually goes from August to May inclusive. The school year in primary education lasts 40 weeks in Primary School and SHS, and 45 weeks in JHS.
With over 95% of its children in school, Ghana currently has one of the highest school enrollment rates in all of Africa. The ratio of females to males in the total education system was 0.98, in 2014.
Ghana’s education system annually attracts a large number of foreign students particularly in the university sector.
One noted product of the Ghana education system is Robert Mugabe who completed both his elementary school education and high school education at the prestigious Achimota School.
Funding of education
The government largely funds basic education comprising public primary schools and public junior high schools. Senior high schools are highly subsidised by the government.
At the higher education level, the government funds more than 80% of resources provided to public universities, polytechnics and teacher training colleges.
Provision of educational material
As part of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education, Fcube, the government supplies all basic education schools with all their textbooks and other educational supplies like exercise books.
Senior high schools are also provided with textbooks requirement by the government. Private schools acquire their educational material from private suppliers.
Ghana has the largest bookshop in Africa, EPP Books Services located at the University of Ghana.
Kindergarten and education structure
Education structure of Ghana
The female and male ages 15–24 years literacy rate in Ghana was 81% in 2010, with males at 82% and females at 80%.
Ghanaian children begin their education at the age of three or four starting from kindergarten (nursery school and preschool), then to elementary school (primary school), high school (junior high school and senior high school) and finally university.
The average age at which a Ghanaian child enters primary school is 6 years.
Ghana has a free education 6-year primary school education system beginning at age six and, under the educational reforms implemented in 1988 and reformed in 2007, they pass on to a 3-year junior high school system.
At the end of the third year of junior high, there is a mandatory “Basic Education Certificate Examination”. Those continuing must complete the 4-year senior high school programme (which has been changed to three years) and take an admission exam to enter any university or tertiary programme.
The Ghanaian education system from nursery school up to an undergraduate degree level takes 20 years.
In 2005, Ghana had 12,130 primary schools, 5,450 junior secondary schools, 503 senior secondary schools, 21 public training colleges, 18 technical institutions, two diploma-awarding institutions and 6 universities.
In 2010, there were relatively more females (53.0%) than males (40.5%) with primary school and JSS (junior secondary school) / JHS (junior high school) as their highest level of education.
The Ghanaian Ministry of Education and the Ghanaian National Accreditation Board provide free education at the elementary school (primary school) level, and most Ghanaians have relatively easy access to high school education (junior high school and senior high school).
These numbers can be contrasted with the single university and handful of secondary and primary schools that existed at the time of independence in 1957.
Ghana’s spending on education has varied between 28–40% of its annual budget in the past decade. All teaching is done in English, mostly by qualified Ghanaian educators.
The courses taught at the primary or basic school level include English, Ghanaian language and culture, mathematics, environmental studies, social studies, Mandarin and French as an OIF associated member, 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.
List of senior secondary schools in Ghana
The senior high level school curriculum has core subjects and elective subjects of which students must take four the core subjects of English language, mathematics, integrated science (including science, agriculture and environmental studies) and social studies (economics, geography, history and government).
High school students also choose four elective subjects from five available programmes: agriculture programme, general programme (arts or science option), business programme, vocational programme and technical programme.
Apart from most primary and secondary schools which choose the Ghanaian system of schooling, 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, Alpha Beta Christian College, Association International School, New Nation School, SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College, Vilac International School, Akosombo International School (which offers Cambridge O level certificate), North Legon Little Campus and International Community School, which offer the International Baccalaureat, Advanced Level General Certificate of Education and the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
List of universities in Ghana
There are eight national public universities in Ghana: the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Cape Coast, University of Education, University for Development Studies, University of Mines and Technology, University of Professional Studies, Accra, University of Energy and Natural Resources, and University of Health and Allied Sciences.
Ghana has a growing number of accredited private universities including Lancaster University, Ghana, Ghana Technology University College, Ashesi University College, Methodist University College Ghana, Central University College, Accra Institute of Technology, Regent University College of Science and Technology, Valley View University, Catholic University College, Presbyterian University College and Zenith University College.
The oldest university in Ghana, the University of Ghana, was founded in 1948. It had 29,754 students in 2008. Its programmes in the arts, humanities, business, and the social sciences, as well as medicine, are among the best in the country.
Many universities including Harvard University, Cornell University, and Oxford University have special study abroad programmes with Ghanaian schools and provide their students the opportunity to study abroad at Ghanaian universities. New York University has a campus in Accra.
The University of Ghana has seen a shift of its traditionally best students to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
Since Ghana’s independence, the country has been one of the most educational in sub-Saharan Africa. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has been chancellor of the University of Ghana since 2008.
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the second university to be established in the country, is the premier university of science and technology in Ghana and West Africa.