|Costs and Financing of Teacher Education in Ghana (CIE, 2000, 50 p.)|
Ghana is located in tropical West Africa and has a population of 18.7 million. Its GNP per capita is US$390. Between 1990 and 1997 GNP grew at 1.7% annually1. Over one-third of its people have incomes below the Ghanaian poverty line defined as two-thirds of average income. Population growth average 3% over the last decade. The 0-14 year old dependency rate is 84%2 and 44% of the population are under 15 years old. About 36% of the people live in urban areas, two-thirds are primarily dependent on agriculture for livelihoods and income. Life expectancy is around 60 years. About one-third of adults are illiterate and the primary gross enrolment rate is currently 72%.
1 This is a UNESCO estimate (World Education report 2000). Other estimates suggest growth may have been somewhat higher.
2 0-14 year olds as a percentage of 15-65 year olds
Ghana gained independence from British colonial rule in 1957 and inherited an academically orientated formal educational system which provided schooling to a minority of the population. Development in the first period after independence was rapid and by 1970 Ghana had consolidated what was recognised as one of the most highly developed education systems in West Africa (EIU 1996: 16). Recurrent government expenditure on education averaged 24% of the total recurrent budget in the early 1970s, substantially higher than the average of 17% for other West African countries (World Bank, 1985 in Glewwe & IIias, 1996:397). Gross enrolment ratios were increasing, 60% of teachers in primary schools were trained, and the Ministry of Education (MOE) projected that all untrained teachers would be eliminated from the education system by 1975 (Konadu, 1994: 12).
The late 1970s saw a sharp economic decline. GNP per capita fell by 23% between 1975 and 1983. As a result, the real value of government financing for education fell sharply. It also fell as a proportion of GDP from 6.4% in 1976 to 1.4% by 1983. The educational gains since independence were jeopardised and the education system was near collapse (MOE, 1994). Teachers were not paid promptly, there was little supervision or inspection, school buildings fell into disrepair, and the supply of textbooks and instructional materials virtually ceased (Nti, 1997:5, World Bank, 1996:2). The deteriorating working conditions prompted the exodus of trained teachers to find better paid work in other countries, especially Nigeria.
Untrained teachers were employed as an emergency measure to fill the gaps with the consequence that by 1982 the percentage of trained primary school teachers had fallen to less than 50%. Despite a steady rise in the number of primary schools, enrolments and teachers between 1974 and 1982, the quality of the education system declined.3
3 Using data from the Ghana Living Standards Survey 1988-89, Glewwe & Iiias (1996) find that after controlling for years of schooling, older Ghanaians score higher on Mathematics and English tests than younger Ghanaians. They suggest that this is due to the deterioration in the educational quality in the early 1980s
The severity of Ghanas economic problems peaked in 1983 at which time the Government of Ghana launched the Economic Recovery Programme with financial assistance from the World Bank and other development agencies. As an integral part of its plan for economic recovery, the government initiated the 1987 Education Reform Programme (ERP) to reverse the decline in the education system. Its major goals were to expand access to basic education, improve quality and relevance to Ghanas socio-economic needs, and ensure sustainability of the reform programme after the economic adjustment period (MOE, 1994: 13). An Education Reform Review Committee (ERRC) was set up in 1994 to review the achievements of the 1987 ERP. It found that although the ERP had resulted in increases in enrolments and improvements in school facilities, teaching and learning outcomes remained poor.
The overarching message of the 1994 ERRC was that the expansion of access to basic education and increases in physical inputs could not be sustained unless accompanied by improvements in teaching and learning in schools. The Government of Ghana sought to address this issue by launching a new programme - Free, Compulsory and Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) - designed to universalise basic education. Key FCUBE elements include improvements to access through the rehabilitation and construction of school facilities, the fostering of full-scale community ownership and management of schools, and measures to increase education participation by girls and disadvantaged children. Measures to improve the quality of teaching and learning included redesigning of pre-service and in-service training programs to ensure well-qualified teachers, curriculum review and development, and the more adequate provision of instructional materials. The management efficiency component of the programme involved decentralisation and district capacity building, more effective monitoring, supervision and evaluation of education sector activities, and more efficient financial and personnel management.
Specific targets were set under FCUBE to improve the quality of teaching and learning in basic education (primary 1-6 and JSS 1-3). It was intended that the pass rate for admission into the second cycle schools (senior secondary and technical/vocational schools) would reach 80% by the year 2005 and that at least 70% of primary 6 pupils would meet the minimum acceptable standards of performance on a national criterion referenced tests. Repetition and dropout rates were targeted for annual reductions of 1% at each grade level. By 2005 the gender balance in the number of entrants to primary 1 was to be equalised and the gender differential in P6 completion, and JSS 1 entry reduced by 50 percent of its level in 1995. FCUBE intended that universal entry to grade 1 would be achieved by 2000, 95 percent of pupils would complete P6 by 2005 and enter JSS and 85% of those entering would complete JSS3 successfully.