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World > Africa > Ghana > People (Notes)

Ghana - People (Notes)


PEOPLE
Ghana's population is concentrated along the coast and in the principal cities of Accra and Kumasi. Most Ghanaians descended from migrating tribes that probably came down the Volta River valley at the beginning of the 13th century. Ethnically, Ghana is divided into small groups speaking more than 50 languages and dialects. Among the more important linguistic groups are the Akans, which include the Fantis along the coast and the Ashantis in the forest region north of the coast; the Guans, on the plains of the Volta River; the Ga- and Ewe-speaking peoples of the south and southeast; and the Moshi-Dagomba-speaking tribes of the northern and upper regions. English, the official and commercial language, is taught in all the schools.

Education
Primary and junior secondary school education is tuition-free and mandatory. The Government of Ghana's support for basic education is unequivocal. Article 39 of the constitution mandates the major tenets of the free, compulsory, universal basic education (FCUBE) initiative. Launched in 1996, it is one of the most ambitious pre-tertiary education programs in West Africa. Since the early 1980s, Government of Ghana expenditures on education have risen from 1.5% to over 5% of GDP. Since 1987, the share of basic education in total education spending has averaged around 67%. The units of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MOEYS) responsible for education are: the Ghana Education Service (GES), which administers pre-university education; the National Council on Tertiary Education; the National Accreditation Board; and the National Board for Professional and Technician Examinations (NABPTEX). The West African Examinations Council (WAEC), a consortium of five Anglophone West African Countries (Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Gambia, and Liberia) is responsible for developing, administering, and grading school-leaving examinations at the secondary level.

Since 1986, pre-tertiary education in Ghana includes six years of primary education, three years at the junior secondary school level and three years at the senior secondary school level. Successful completion of senior secondary school leads to admission eligibility at training colleges, polytechnics, and universities. In 2002 there were approximately 3.7 million students attending schools at these three levels: 70% at the primary level, 24% at the junior secondary level and 6% at the senior secondary level. There are over five hundred public senior secondary schools in Ghana that graduated a total of 90,000 students in 2004, representing a huge expansion over the old system (which was transformed in 1987), which consisted of three hundred institutions graduating 27,000 students a year. However, access to each successive level of education remains severely limited by lack of facilities. Only about 30% of junior secondary school graduates are able to gain admission to senior secondary schools, and only about 35% of senior secondary school graduates are able to gain admission to universities and polytechnics, plus another 10-20% to diploma-level postsecondary education. Private secondary schools play a very small role in Ghana, with only a handful of institutions offering international curricula such as the British-based A-levels, International Baccalaureate, and U.S. high school. Combined, they graduate fewer than 200 students a year.

Entrance to one of the five Ghanaian public universities is by examination following completion of senior secondary school. There are now five public and nine private degree-granting universities in Ghana, along with ten public polytechnics offering the British Higher National Diploma (HND), a three-year tertiary system in applied fields of study. Ghana?s first private Catholic university opened in 2003 in Sunyani. The polytechnics also offer vocational, non-tertiary diploma programs. In addition, there are approximately forty teacher-training colleges and fifteen nurses? training colleges. Private tertiary education is a recent but rapid development in Ghana, meticulously regulated by the National Accreditation Board. Over 5,000 undergraduates are now enrolled in secular degree-granting programs in nine private institutions.

In 2003-2004, new enrollments in public universities totaled 18,149; new enrollments in private universities totaled 1,380; and new enrollments in polytechnics totaled 8,688, representing an increase of 30% over theprevious five years. Total enrollment in tertiary education surpassed 100,000 for the first time in Ghana's history.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Ghanaian Cedi Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Ghanaian Cedi Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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