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close this bookLearning to Teach in Ghana: An Evaluation of Curriculum Delivery (CIE, 2000, 51 p.)
close this folderChapter 3: Profile of Exiting Teacher Trainees
View the document3.1 Who is doing the learning?
View the document3.2 Prior Teaching Experience
View the document3.3 Family and Socio-economic background
View the document3.4 Discussion

3.3 Family and Socio-economic background

30% of the students' family members are teachers, with the breakdown as follows: 28% of uncles, 27% cousins, 23% of fathers and 22% of mothers. 18% and 17% of their brothers and sisters respectively were teachers. 54% of student teachers' mothers had no education at all or were educated up to elementary school level only. 29% of their fathers are also within this category. About 43% and 45%, of mothers and fathers respectively have second cycle level education, that is: secondary school, O/A levels, teacher training, vocational technical and nursing schools.

The survey results reveal that more than half of the students' mothers are semi-literates and only a small percentage of the mothers (3%) and fathers (27%) have either first or second university degrees. The student teachers' parents' occupations are revealing and support the evidence of their educational background. About 61% of their mothers are engaged in various low-paying entrepreneurial jobs like petty trading and various forms of tradesmanship - baking, seamstressing, farming and fishing activities. Fewer of the fathers fall within this category, representing 35%. About 30% and 38% of the mothers and fathers respectively are in the civil service, which includes teachers, nurses and the security services. Bankers, accountants, managers, lecturers, doctors and surveyors were classified under one category as "other professions". Only 1% of mothers and 11% of fathers fell under this level of occupation. On the items relating to family assets the most difficult to possess is that of the car and perhaps a video deck. The two are therefore good indicators of the economic status of the student teachers' parents. The survey revealed that 28% of parents own cars and 45% owned video decks.

A World Bank report points out that poverty in Ghana is ‘concentrated among two socio-economic groups - food crop farmers and self-employed (World Bank, 1995: 45). With about 61% of mothers' and 35% of fathers' occupation within this socio-economic classification, many student teachers can be described as coming from a relatively poor socio-economic background. The other evidence that about 43% and 45% of fathers and mothers respectively have second cycle education level, 30%-40% of parents have civil service jobs, and that about 28% own cars, also indicate a significant number of parents of a lower middle class background. Though they are relatively privileged if one compares them to the national figures, these parents, by Ghanaian living standards, could still be considered to be in a weak socio-economic position. Given the above figures, it is clear that only a small proportion of student teachers, would have parents with strong financial and economic backgrounds. This means that for many student teachers their immediate families may be unable to provide financial support at the early stages of their career, where such support may be most needed. In Ghana, the early stages of a teacher's career can be financially the most challenging since salaries are often delayed for up to a year due mainly to bureaucratic and administrative bottlenecks. When viewed against the backdrop of most early teaching postings being to economically deprived areas of the country this must be a big source of concern for the beginning teacher.