Friday, February 10, 2017

Problems Facing Education Development in Ghana

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The West African nation of Ghana, while rich in history and culture has been wrought with political strife and instability in recent years.

Some facts

Even though Ghana has one of the highest enrollment rates in Africa (95%) it still sees a great disparity between the number of females attending school, versus the males.

· Only 48% of age appropriate children are enrolled in secondary school
· 33% of the population is illiterate
· 28%of primary school children drop-out before completion of all levels and forms.

These are disturbing facts, especially for an education-rich country such as Ghana.

Ghana has eight national universities with very high international student enrollment numbers. In fact, former UN Secretary Dr. Kofi Annan has been a Chancellor of the University of Ghana since 2008. 

This all very encouraging, yet the statistics speak for themselves.

Children and their ability to receive a full and robust education is heavily influenced by poverty, political instability and by the reining governments’ initiatives regarding education. This is especially true for women and girls, who often bear the greatest burden from all these influences.

Adult literacy has been an active program for many years – the though being, that by educating adults, they in turn will see the value of an education for their children, and keep them in school longer.

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The ten major issues facing education in Ghana today

1. Teachers often see their role as a “spring board” to better opportunities. There is a very high turnover of young teachers in Ghana. Especially in the primary and secondary schools. The education they receive to become a teacher, often qualifies them for other disciplines and industries. This hinders the ability of education leaders to introduce consistent practices and standards as well as test the success of the newer curriculums in play.

2. This greatly affects the poorer, more rural regions of the country where it is difficult to entice teachers to go live and work. They want the excitement and convenience of the cities.

3. Keeping the curriculum intact across the country. Even though a nation-wide curriculum has been deployed to all schools, many teachers who have recently graduated from

4. University will have newer and more radical ideas on how to teach their student and what subject matter is relevant. This “rogue-ness” impacts the ability for the student to have a lateral and fair education. It will affect their ability to compete for University slots and eventually for jobs in the field of their choice (if they are missing key components from their education).

5. Funding and equitable supplies to all schools. Funds are not applied to all schools evenly. Nor is equipment upon which the children learn. This obviously presents problems for children in the lesser funder schools, often in the rural areas. They will not have the same knowledge or experience as their city-dwelling peers and will be at a serious disadvantage when entering university or the workplace.

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This also applies to the procurement and retention of good teachers at all schools. Some regions have a smaller budget and cannot pay the teachers the rates they expect, and thus resulting in fewer quality teachers and impoverished, ill-equipped schools.

6. Availability of books at a reasonable cost (and to print them in-country)
A majority of education books are imported from other countries. There are import restriction on many books and this makes it not only expensive, but also cumbersome to procure the appropriate studying materials for the students.

The next 2 issues are similar and interconnected:

7. There is a call for concessions for educational institutions to be able to import educational nooks and materials without impediment or excessive taxes and tariffs.

8. As well, local publishers and publishing businesses should be able to import the paper and book binding equipment at a reasonable cost, free of duties and tariffs.

The frequent changes to the book contents also presents challenges for schools lacking the funds to update their supplies on a regular basis. A more regulated, organized versioning solution must be developed to ensure all student have access to the most current and relevant learning materials at a reasonable cost. 

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9. Educate girls as aggressively as you do the boys. There is a huge gender gap in the Ghana education system. Little data is available to answer the question, “Why aren’t the girls encouraged to go to school?’

Even though it does happening the urban areas, it is more prevalent in the rural areas. Girls are not encouraged to complete their education and are often left illiterate and unable to tend to their own affairs as adults.

International programs are bringing attention to this problem not only in Ghana, but also in many countries around the world. “Because I am a Girl” is making major inroads in the more remote regions, bringing to light the fact that women in any community are the gluye that holds it together. The smarter and more educated the women are in a village, the more successful it will be.

As per educators in Ghana are addressing this issue, albeit slowly.

10. Major commitment to a fair and quality education for all people.
The government and its education advisors must step up and commit to a robust and high quality education system. It must reach all people of all economic situations and of all genders. This also includes ensuring as many youth as possible reach a tertiary education level or at least have the opportunity available to them, should they wish to pursue it.

Ghana is country of great wealth; not only in its industries, but also in its people and its youth. Invest in them and they will invest in Ghana.

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