Public Action and Policies

Adult literacy, non-formal education
Public action against illiteracy started more than 50 years ago in Ghana. Initiated in the 1940s by the British rulers, its eradication was raised to top-priority at the independence in 1957. Political unrests however limited political actions to sporadic short-term programmes, until 1987 and the creation of the Non-Formal Education Division (NFED), whose goal was to eliminate illiteracy by 2000. After a convincing try in 2 regions, the Functional Literacy Skills Project (FLSP) was expanded to the whole country in 1992. In 2000, the programme was taken over by the National Functional Literacy Programme (FNLP), which is still active nowadays. Those programmes focus on gender and geographical inequalities. Women and people living in rural area are their main targets. In 2004, there were 1238 "Literacy centers", situated mostly in non-urban area.

The successive projects led to statistical progresses. In 1997, 64% of women were illiterate for 38% of men, for a global literacy rate of 54%. In 2010, women literacy was of 65% and the global literacy rate had increased to 71.5%. Academics however pointed out the insufficient progress of women literacy and the difficulty for graduated to upkeep their new skills.

Evolution of literacy rate over time x Adult literacy(15+) Youth literacy (15-24)
Av M F Av M F
2000 57.9 66.4 49.8 70.7 75.9 65.4
2010 71.5 78.3 65.3 85.7 88.3 83.2
2015(projection) 76.3 81.5 71.0 90.6 91.3 89.9

Other forms of non-formal education are also conducted by the NFED: "Life-skills training" (Family planning, hygiene, prevention on AIDS) targeting adolescent and young mother, "Occupational skills training" for unemployed adults or "civil awareness" seminars (on civil rights and duties) addressed to illiterate adults.

Development of technical and vocational education
Developing technical and vocational education and training(TVET) is considered a priority by central authorities in order to tackle poverty and unemployment.

TVET in Ghana face numerous problems: low completion rate (in 2011, 1.6% of the population got a TVET degree whereas 11% of the population followed a TVET programme), « poorly trained instructor » and lack of infrastructure. The Ghanaian industry also criticizes the lack of practical experience of the formal graduates and the lack of basic skills(reading, writing) of informal apprentices. In 2008, the OECD reproached the opacity of the qualifications framework and the multiplication of worthless TVET certificates. The official council for TVET observed that informal or graduated TVET students struggle to find a job, and then have to deal with income volatility or low wages. TVET therefore suffer of a poor reputation among students, parents and employers.

In 2005, a micro-credit system in favor of low-skilled unemployed youth was implemented(STEP programme). In 2006, the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training(COTVET) was created and entrusted with the mission of coordination "TVET policies" in Ghana. The council introduced a National Youth Found in 2006, and proposed a TVET qualifications framework in 2010. It tries besides to frame the informal sector through a National Apprenticeship Programme(NAP) and to strengthen guidance and counselling at basic education level.

Impacts are, however, difficult to assess : TVET in Ghana is still hard to grasp. 90% is informal and both the public and private sectors are highly segmented. The ministry of Education itself admits its incapacity to provide a global statistic view of the TVET sector in Ghana.

Equity in access to tertiary education
With the rise of enrollment in secondary education, competition for joining higher education institution has globally increased: In 2001, the university of Ghana had admitted 96% of the relevant applications it had received. In 2011, this acceptance rate had fallen to 52%. This increasing selectivity highlights inequalities in Ghana regarding Education: Being a woman or living in a rural area can reduce the chance of reaching tertiary Education.

Socioeconomic status is also a factor of exclusion, as studying at the highest level is expensive: Public universities have no tuition fee but usually demand payment for other charges: registration fee, technology fee, examination fee, academic facility user fee, medical services fee. These charges can lead to self-censorship behaviors, some students choosing, for instance, Teacher Training Colleges (where students can receive stipends) instead of joining a university.

Policies has been developed to limit those inequalities: Some universities have, for instance, lowered their minimum entry requirement or created scholarship for students from the "less-endowed secondary school". A "Girls Education unit" has been created by the government within the Ghana Education Service, in order to reduce gender-biased disparities: The unit tries to tackle the problem at its source, focusing on the "basic Education" to avoid high female school drop-out from JHS to SHS. Progresses have been made: The proportion of girls in Higher Education has increased from 25%(1999) to 32%(2005).Yet gender still generates inequality, for numerous reasons: Hostile school environment, priority given to the boys in poor families, perpetuation of "gender roles" ("a woman belongs to the household"), early customary marriages, teenage pregnancy...

The higher Education is still mostly occupied by a small male elite:
HE in Ghana is disproportionately 'consumed' by the richest 20% of the population. Male students from the highest income quintile (Q5) are more than seven times more likely to enter and successfully complete HE than those from the poorest quintile (Q1). The situation is even more precarious for the female category where students come from only the richest 40% of the population.
-- World Bank 2011, " Education in Ghana: Improving equity, efficiency and accountability of Education service delivery

ICT in education
Computer technology used for teaching and learning began to receive governments' attention in the past decade. The ICT in Education Policy of Ghana requires the use of ICT for teaching and learning at all levels of the education system. Attempts have been made by the Ministry of Education to support institutions in teaching of ICT literacy. Most secondary, and some basic, schools have computer laboratories. Despite the interest in ICT, computers are very limited and are often carried around to insure that they do not get stolen.

A recent study on Pedagogical integration of ICTs from 2009-2011 in 10 Ghanaian schools indicates that there is a gap between the policy directives and actual practices in schools. The emphasis of the official curricula is on the development of students' skills in operating ICTs but not necessarily using the technology as a means of learning subjects other than ICTs. The study also found that the ministry of Education is currently at the stage of deployment of ICT resources for developing the needed ICT literacy required for integration into teaching/learning.