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close this bookGhana: A Baseline Study of the Teacher Education System (CIE, 2000, 67 p.)
close this folderChapter 1: Basic Education in Ghana: An Overview
View the document1.1 Introduction
View the document1.2 National Indicators
View the document1.3 Recent History of the Basic Education System
View the document1.4 Structure and Characteristics of Basic Education
View the document1.5 Participation in Basic Education
View the document1.6 Pupil-Teacher Ratios
View the document1.7 The Quality of Basic Education
View the document1.8 Education Expenditure
View the document1.9 Teachers
View the document1.10 Conclusion

1.5 Participation in Basic Education

Total enrolments in basic education have increased since the announcement of the 1987 reforms. In 1996 there were 11,765 public primary schools, and 1,249 private primary schools; at the junior secondary level, the figures were 5,597, and 283, respectively. Between 1988 and 1996, public primary enrolments grew by over 26 per cent from 1,598,443 to 2,027,183, at an average annual rate of 2.5 per cent. Over the same period total enrolment in private primary schools increased much more rapidly, by over 125 per cent, from about 134,000 to over 306,000 (World Bank, 1996; MOE, 1998). Primary enrolments in private primary schools comprise 11 per cent of all primary enrolments. Between 1988 and 1996 total enrolments in public junior secondary schools grew by about 14 per cent, from 608,690 to 695,468. In 1996 total enrolment in private JSS was 42,589, about 6 per cent of total JSS enrolments. The pattern of total enrolments in public primary and middle/JSS schools between 1981 and 1996 is shown in Figure 1, and actual total enrolment figures are presented in Appendix 2, Tables A2a and A2b.


Figure 1: Enrolment in Primary and Middle/JSS Schools (Public), 1981-1996

Source: Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation Division, MOE, Republic of Ghana, 1998

Despite an absolute increase in primary enrolments since the late 1980s, the rate of increase has failed to keep pace with the growth of the school age population. Population growth averaged 3.3 per cent between 1980 and 1990, and 2.7 per cent between 1990 and 1997 (World Bank, 1998). This has resulted in a gradual decline in the participation rate such that nationally one child in three is not attending primary school (DFID, 1998:69). Participation rates for primary and JSS schools are presented in Table 1.2.

Table 1.2: Participation as Percentage of Eligible Population, Primary and JSS, 1992-1996


1992/93

1993/94

1994/95

1995/96

1996/97

Primary

70

70

68

66

66

Junior Secondary

57

56

56

56

57

Source: MOE Education Strategic Plan 1998-2003, 1998: Annex 1

The primary participation figures presented in Table 1.2 are very close to the average for sub-Saharan Africa which has an average primary gross enrolment ratio of 67 per cent. The national figures, however, hide regional and urban-rural disparities. For example, primary gross enrolments in Upper East and Upper West regions in 1992 were 46 and 54 per cent, respectively. In these regions there is little indication of recent improvement (DFID, 1998:69).

The average dropout rate for primary pupils across all grades in 1996/97 was 3.6 per cent, and highest in the first grade at 7.1 per cent. In the same year, repetition at the primary level averaged 4 per cent. As with dropout, repetition in primary school is most common in the first grade at 7.2 per cent, and the percentage of primary pupils repeating has increased steadily since 1991 (see Appendix 3, Tables A3a and A3b). Primary school completion figures for 1994 estimate that of those who enrol in the first grade of primary school about 25 per cent fail to complete the primary cycle (World Bank, 1996:2). See Table 1.3.

Table 1.3: Basic Education System Outcome Indicators, 1991-1994

Year

Completion rate for 6 year primary education (%)

Completion rate for 3-year junior secondary education (%)

Completion rate for 9-year basic education (%)

Transitional (pass) rate of primary school graduates to JSS (%)

Transitional (pass) rate of JSS graduates to SSS (%)

1991

70.0

82.8

50.5

96.8

35.3

1992

70.1

82.8

51.0

93.9

33.8

1993

72.1

82.6

54.3

95.0

34.8

1994

75.4

82.4

56.8

94.5

-

Source: MOE 1995 in World Bank 1996

In 1994 the transition rate from primary to junior secondary was 94.5 per cent for those pupils completing primary school. Although the percentage of pupils completing basic education steadily improved between 1991 and 1994, by 1994 only 57 per cent of students completed basic education.

Girls’ enrolment as a proportion of total enrolments improved at the primary level from 44.6 to 46.3 per cent between 1987 and 1996, and at the JSS level from 41.3 to 43.7 per cent over the same period (Table 1.4).

Table 1.4: Girls’ Enrolment as Percentage of Total, Primary and JSS, 1987-1996


1987/88

1988/89

1989/90

1990/91

1991/92

1992/93

1993/94

1994/95

1995/96

1996/97

primary

44.6

44.5

44.9

45.0

45.5

45.7

45.9

46.1

46.2

46.3

JSS

41.3

41.3

41.3

40.8

41.1

41.8

42.2

42.8

43.2

43.7

Source: Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PBME), MOE, Republic of Ghana, October 1998

These national statistics, however, mask the existence of much greater differences in some parts of the country, particularly in the north, where in 1992 (the latest year for which regional gender disaggregated data are available) girls comprised only 35 per cent of primary enrolments and as little as 25 per cent of junior secondary (World Bank, 1996:9). There is also a clear pattern of girls’ enrolment as a proportion of total enrolments falling with successive grades of primary and junior secondary schooling (Table 1.5).

Table 1.5: Basic Enrolment by Grade and Gender, 1994/95

Grade

Boys

Girls

Total

Girls as % of total

P1

199,995

179,705

379,700

47.3%

P2

179,855

158,211

338,066

46.8%

P3

174,092

151,360

325,452

46.5%

P4

169,090

143,843

312,933

46.0%

P5

158,,800

131,547

290,347

45.3%

P6

153,516

120,789

274,305

44.0%

Primary Total

1,035,348

885,455

1,920,803

46.6%

JSS1

137,913

107,607

245,520

43.8%

JSS2

126,319

94,557

220,876

42.8%

JSS3

113,085

80,370

193,455

41.5%

JSS Total

377,317

282,534

659,851

42.8%

Basic Total

1,412,665

1,177,989

2,590,654

45.5%

Source: PBME, MOE (1996)

The direct and indirect costs of schooling discourage poor families from sending their children, particularly girls, to school. In 1993, the MOE sanctioned the charging of fees by schools for textbooks. In addition to these charges, district authorities and parent teacher associations, which now have more responsibility for education, levy their own fees. Parents/guardians are asked to pay for exercise books, stationery, school uniforms, lunch, transportation, and other furniture and equipment. The direct costs of schooling are perceived as having risen rapidly in comparison to capacity to pay. The majority of Ghana’s population lives in rural areas where generally families are poorer, and school-age children contribute to family income through productive and domestic activities. For a family to send all its children to school may constitute a loss in family revenue. The opportunity cost of education for girls, in particular, may be high where they are needed for household and child-care responsibilities. Also, parents’ perceptions of boys’ superior returns to education, and traditional early marriages in some parts of the country contribute to the incidence of lower enrolment among girls (Norton et. al, 1995; World Bank, 1996).