Higher Education in Ghana

Tertiary education in Ghana has been notably growing during the last twenty years, both in terms of enrollment and infrastructures. A substantial part of this development come from the private sector.

Universities(6 public and 49 private institutions) offer an academic education, from bachelor to Phd. Students are admitted based on their performance at the W.A.S.S.C.E (West African Senior School Certificate Examination"): A maximum of 24 points is generally required in order to apply to a Bachelor degree program(see Grading system in Ghana). A bachelor degree is usually completed after four years of majoring in a specific field of interest. Master degrees are of two sorts: A one year program, concluded with a final paper based on a literature study, or a two-year program, concluded with a final paper based on one year of independent research. Both can lead to a Ph.D., usually achieved in 3 years within a doctoral programme.

Polytechnics (10 institutions) offer a vocational education. They propose 3-year curricula, leading to a Higher National Diploma(HND). The students have then the possibility to follow a special 18-month program to achieve a Bachelor of Technology degree.

Ghana also possesses many "colleges of education", public or private. They are usually specialized in one field (colleges of agriculture p.e) or in one work-training (Nursing training colleges, teacher training colleges, p.e).

New tertiary education graduates have to serve one year within the National Service. Participants can serve in one of the eight following sectors: Agriculture, Health, Education, Local Government, Rural Development, Military and Youth Programmes

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...

Higher education is more heavily male than female and more wealthy than poor:

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