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Juggling school and work: Challenges to attaining basic education in Ghana. Cynthia A. Sottie , MSW, Ph.D. Department of Social Work. Outline. Brief overview of Ghana’s Education Policies (Basic Education) Challenges of attaining Basic Education in Ghana
Cynthia A. Sottie, MSW, Ph.D.
Department of Social Work
“Only with a population so educated can we hope to face the tremendous problems which confront any country attempting to raise the standard of life in a tropical zone” – Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
We are aware that only if the vast majority of Ghanaian boys and girls receive a quality basic education will we be able to accelerate our economic growth. We are also aware that only with a strong and effective universal primary education system can this government’s equity objectives be fulfilled… (MOE, 1994, p. 7)
1. Extend universal access to quality basic education to every school-age child in Ghana by the year 2005.
2. Promote efficient teaching and learning;
3. Promote prompt and adequate supply of teaching and learning materials to schools;
4. Improve teacher morale and motivation
5. Free textbooks for Primary 1 to 6. Those in year 7 to 9 were to pay user-fees not to exceed 10 % of cost.
6. Equipment and tools were free.
7. Parents were responsible for supplying meals and transport to their wards.
8. Communities and Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) could impose levies subject to approval by District Assemblies (Local Authorities) (MOE, 1996)
People bring books around, today it is integrated science at GH¢1.80, tomorrow it is another book at GH¢1.50 and we have to buy them because teacher says he will use it in teaching.- Jackie (High Risk, Grade 6)
They say free education but we paid GH¢4.50 for a PE kit… we buy books as well…if your mother doesn’t have the money, you won’t get a copy…it surprises me when I hear free education, because everything [school authorities] bring we pay for. – Jackie (High Risk, Grade 6)
Today for instance, [teacher] said we should bring a broom…out of my pocket money of 50Gp I had to give 20Gp to him. I will also have to pay studies fee of 10Gp and because I haven’t eaten since morning I’ll have to buy food with the rest of the money... – Esther (Grade 6, High Risk)
...our teacher for instance you can’t worry him with your financial problems. Even if you don’t have money, he’ll tell you to go look for some because he’s collecting it….– Musa (Grade 6, Low Risk)
“About 45 per cent of the children in our district do not go to school on Fridays because it is Asesewa market day,” -MrJoseph Angmor, District Chief Executive of Upper ManyaKrobo. Spectator, May 26, 2013 http://www.spectatorgh.com/no-school-on-fridays/
I sold firewood every day before going to school; sometimes I had to do 5 trips to get enough money for school. I was always late for school, and was always caned for being late, yet still I had to sell before school otherwise we won’t survive… I would have dropped out of school.– Nancy (Grade 8, Low Risk)
We were sacked for not having books. We didn’t have money, because my grandmother had travelled… my parents had separated, she (mother) left. We don’t live with her and no one knew where she was … I started washing dishes for someone who sold beans close by and for that I was being given 50Gp a day and I started saving. I saved for a long time and when I gathered enough, we came back to school. That whole period, we didn’t know where our mother was and as for our father, we had been to his place just once - Musa (Grade 6, Low Risk).
There were times I went to school hungry and ate only when I returned home. After a while I got the opportunity to help a woman, who sold yams, I carried her load from the market to her house at the end of each day. She gave me 20Gp each time I helped her. I used 10Gp to pay studies fees, and used the rest for food the following morning. When my mother could afford, she added some to my pocket money. I worked with the woman for about 3 years. – Fred (Grade 8, Low Risk)
I sell ripe plantain at the Kaneshie Market… when I come for the morning shift and close at 12:00, I go to sell for a while, till about 3:00 then I come home to cook...by the time I’m done with all the house work, it will be late but I still have to learn so I learn a little and I fall asleep. I wake up again between 3a.m. and 4a.m. to continue. At 5 a.m. I go and do house work then I go to school…where I come from is far and with the 50Gp (pocket money). I pay transport fare of 20Gp otherwise if I walk I’ll be late. Then when I come to school I pay studies fee of 10p leaving 20Gp. In the mornings, I don’t eat because the 50Gp is for the whole day. – Bernice (Grade 6, Low Risk)
I can’t go to school without money, I need money to buy my school needs –Loretta (Grade 8, Low Risk).
…if I don’t have money I won’t be able to buy the things that I will need to go to school - Esther (Grade 6, High Risk)
… without money you can’t go to school even if you want to. I would have completed school by now if I had money – Joe (Grade 8, High Risk)
Questions and Comments
Education For All. (2009). Overcoming inequality: Why governance matters. GlobalMonitoringReport. France: UNESCO Publishing.
National Development Planning Commission. (2006). Implementation of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy 2003-2005. 2005 Annual Progress Report. NDPC,Governmentof Ghana: Accra
Ghana Education Service (2005) Guidelines for the distribution and utilization of Capitation Grants to basic schools. GES: Accra.
Ministry of Education Science and Sports. (2006). Preliminary Education Sector
Performance Report 2006. Accra: MOESS, Ghana
Ministry of Education. (1994). Towards learning for all: Basic Education in Ghana by the year 2000. Education Sector Paper as a Follow-up to the National Program of Action. Government of Ghana
UNICEF (2007). Achieving universal primary education in Ghana by 2015: A reality ora dream? UNICEF: Division of Policy and Planning.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP). (2006). Human development report 2006. UNDP