Author: Ministry of Education
Publication Type: report
Date of publication: 2019
Context of Ghana
A country of just under 30 million people, Ghana recently made the transition to lower middleincome status and has achieved many of the same education successes as other countries in this bracket, such as considerably expanding access to basic education.
The country achieved independence in 1957 and is now a multi-party democracy, with 10 administrative regions. Between 2008 and 2012, Ghana was heralded as the pearl of West Africa in terms of economic growth, averaging rates of 8.7%.
Since then, the economy has slowed substantially, to an estimated growth rate of 3.6% in 2017, due to a combination of various macroeconomic factors, including commodity prices, inflation, energy rationing, and fiscal consolidation. Meanwhile, expenditure has steadily increased, even while revenue has remained stagnant, thereby increasing the fiscal deficit.
Part of this increasing expenditure can be explained by an increasing wage bill, which, in 2013, made up two-thirds of tax revenue. While total government spending as a proportion of GDP peaked in 2014 at 34.3%, this has since been curbed and in 2016 declined to nearly 16%. In terms of inequality, the Gini coefficient has remained unchanged between 2006 and 2010 at 0.41.
The number of school-age Education Strategic Plan 2018–2030 4 children 4–18-years-old are projected to grow at just over 2% per year for the next four years, dropping to a 1.9% growth rate in 2025 and a 1.7% growth rate in 2030
The incidence of poverty is highest in the northwest of Ghana and lowest in the southeast; these trends are strongly correlated with the regional distribution of the proportion of the population living in urban areas and the proportion of educationally deprived districts.
The Ghanaian population is made up of various ethnic groups, with the Akans constituting the largest group (48%), followed by the Mole-Dagbani (17%), Ewe (14%), and others. The most widely practised religion is Christianity, with Christians making up just over 70% of the population, followed by Muslims, who make up 18%, followers of traditional religions at 5%, and others. While English is the official language in Ghana, there are a number of other language groups, with at least 69 individual languages.
The Ashanti, Eastern, and Greater Accra regions make up 50% of the population, while Upper East is the least populated region, with just 2% of the total population. As at 2015, 40% of the population was under 14 years old, 55% were between 15 and 64 years old, and just 1.9% were over 65 years.
The number of school-age Education Strategic Plan 2018–2030 4 children 4–18-years-old are projected to grow at just over 2% per year for the next four years, dropping to a 1.9% growth rate in 2025 and a 1.7% growth rate in 2030.
Ghana has devoted substantial resources to the education sector in recent years and has exceeded associated international benchmarks when including internally generated funds, outperforming all other West African countries.
Education expenditure has been growing at a faster rate, in both nominal and real terms, than the total government expenditure. The vast majority of funding to the education sector comes from the government budget, with government contributing 87% in 2012 and 78% in 2015.
The Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) (an earmarked proportion of VAT) and Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) (an earmarked proportion of oil revenue) have contributed increasing amounts to overall education expenditure since 2012 – predominantly funding government expenditure on goods and services and capital.
The proportion of education spending from internally generated funds (IGF) has increased in recent years, reaching 17% in 2015, but this is likely to decrease as free SHS is rolled out over the next two years.
Ghana has devoted substantial resources to the education sector in recent years and has exceeded associated international benchmarks when including internally generated funds, outperforming all other West African countries
A large part of the discretionary Government of Ghana (GoG) budget (as opposed to statutory funds) is spent on the wage bill, which accounted for nearly 100% of GoG expenditure in 2015.
It may appear therefore that little is left for goods and services and capital but as the GETFund and ABFA have grown they have become the source of funding for goods and services and capital.
As they are earmarked for education and cannot be used for salaries, the division of revenue is a purely pragmatic one. Primary education consistently accounted for the largest share of education expenditures until 2015, when it was overtaken by JHS, SHS, and tertiary education. Growth in expenditure in the JHS sector is primarily due to a rapid increase in the number of teachers employed in the sector.
This was before the introduction of the free SHS policy, the growth of which will also affect the division of government spending between the sectors. Both NFE, special education, and TVET have consistently attracted the least educational expenditure, often below 3% of the total education budget.
Per student spending at the school level varies significantly by region and strongly correlates with regional distributions of poverty in Ghana. Efforts by the government to bring about equity in education spending have met with some success but equity and quality still remain priorities for government spending.
Management can be thought of as being divided into two broad categories, teacher management and system management, although the two are clearly linked. In terms of teacher management, absenteeism, attrition, and time-on-task have been widely recognised as a problem, with overall teacher absenteeism as high as 14% in 2014/15 and varying considerab by region. Furthermore, teacher attrition increased to 4% in 2016, from 2% in 2009.
There are various policy actions planned and ongoing in response to these issues, including the Pre-Tertiary Teacher Professional Development and Management (PTPDM) policy, to ensure the proper licensing and registration of teachers
Deployment of teachers is also a concern, with large regional disparities in pupil–teacher ratios and weak correlation between the number of students and teachers within a district, especially within the KG and SHS sub-sectors.
There are various policy actions planned and ongoing in response to these issues, including the Pre-Tertiary Teacher Professional Development and Management (PTPDM) policy, to ensure the proper licensing and registration of teachers.
Oversight of system accountability is the responsibility of three autonomous bodies: the National Inspectorate Board (NIB), the National Teaching Council (NTC), and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA).
While the regulatory agencies are responsible for designing and enforcing accountability structures, the implementation of these structures spans the entire system.
Within the Ghana Education Service (GES), for example, the network of regional and district offices down to the school level must play their part in a fully functioning and accountable system.
However, the regulatory agencies have hitherto not performed effectively due to inadequate funding, lack of staff, and lack of powers of enforcement, and the education sector as a whole lacks a clear accountability framework.
Work is ongoing to strengthen accountability mechanisms, as well as data collection systems and research capabilities at the basic, secondary, and tertiary levels. Initiatives to harmonise various data collection systems are also in progress.
In addition, while the private sector accounts for over 20% of enrolment at the basic level, over one-third of technical and vocational institutions, and nearly half of all tertiary institutions, there is little monitoring, collaboration, or regulation across the system.
A significantly lower proportion of teachers in the private sector are trained compared to the public sector, and little research has been done on learning outcomes for the private sector.
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