Tag: Caroline_Mensah

Education in Ghana: Part 2

Basic education
Primary- and middle-school education is tuition-free and will be mandatory when enough teachers and facilities are available to accommodate all the students. Students begin their 6-year primary education at the age of six. Under educational reforms implemented in 1987, they pass into a new Junior Secondary School system (JSS) for 3 years of academic training combined with technical and vocational training.

Senior Secondary education
After basic school, pupils may enter senior secondary (or technical/vocational) schools for a three-year course, which prepare them for university education. Students usually study a combination of three (in some cases, four) ‘elective’ subjects and a number of core subjects. For example, a science student could study Additional Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and Physics as his or her elective subjects.

An arts student might study Geography, Economics and Literature as his or her elective subjects.

In addition to the elective subjects, there are ‘core’ subjects, which are those studied by all students in addition to their elective. The core subjects include Mathematics, English and Science.

school_kids_marching_in_Me_FiRi_GHANAAt the end of the three year senior secondary course, students are required to sit for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE). Students who obtain aggregate 18 or better (six is best) can go onto further education in the form of university. Usually, the score is determined by aggregating the student’s grades in his or her elective subjects. The aggregate score is then added to the aggregate score of his or her best core subjects, with scores in English and Mathematics considered first. So if an arts student scores an ‘A’ in Geography, ‘B’ in Literature and ‘C’ in Economics, the student would obtain an aggregate score of 6 for their electives.

 Please refer to the example given (i.e. A=1; B=2 & C=3…F (fail) =6).

Their best electives are then added. If they obtain a ‘B’ in English, ‘C’ in Mathematics and an ‘A’ in Social Studies, their best core aggregate will be six. Therefore, their overall aggregate score will be 12 and one would qualify for admission into a university. Once again, an overall aggregate score of six is best.

Tertiary education
Entrance to universities is by examination following completion of senior secondary school.

Useful Facts & Figures
School enrolment totals almost 2 million: 1.3 million primaries; 107,600 secondary; 489,000 middle; 21,280 technical; 11,300 teachers training and 5,600 universities.

Ghana has over ten languages some typical examples are: Dagaare, Dagbani, Dangme, Ewe, Ga, Gonja, Kasem, Nzema, Twi & Fante.

However, the principle language mainly used within the classrooms; lecture halls is English.

Caroline N. Mensah

Education in Ghana: Part 1

The notion of Education is strongly upheld within Ghanaian families.

To date Ghana has 12,130 primary schools, 5,450 junior secondary schools, 503 senior secondary schools, 21 training colleges, 18 technical institutions, two diploma-awarding institutions and five universities serving a population of 17 million; this means that most Ghanaians have relatively easy access to good education.

ghana-merry-go-round-Me-FiRi_GHANAIn contrast, at the time of independence in 1957, Ghana had only one university and a handful of secondary and primary schools. In the past decade, Ghana’s spending on education has been between 28 percent and 40 percent of its annual budget. For the primary care takers of children whether it be a parent, grandparent or guardian the payment of school fees is expensive so Ghanaian children are encouraged to ‘study hard’ in order to pass. It is a common trend for parents living in Ghana to sometimes send their children to the UK to commence their university studies in the hope that they will obtain a good degree get a good job & then start sending money home to help out the family. Parents living in the Diaspora sometimes send their children as young as seven to Ghana to study there.

In the Ghanaian culture children are taught to revere their elders (this includes teachers) the likelihood of a child talking back to their teacher would result in punishment.

Ghanaian_Girls_Ghana_School_education_Me_FiRi_GHANAOne could argue that the sense of discipline is far greater in Ghanaian classrooms compared to classrooms within the UK. Within a British classroom it is not uncommon for children to back chat their teachers sometimes without consequence. Ghanaian school girls are expected to adhere to the rule of cutting their hair short. This rule is upheld by schools across Ghana.  This instils a sense of discipline within the girls as they do not have to spend laborious hours in front of a mirror getting ready for school. When what they should be doing is focusing on the day ahead and making sure that they have all the correct books in their bags for their day.

Something their counterparts in the UK do not experience, they have the freedom to wear their hair in a variety of fashionable styles…

Ghana_School_Girl_Me_FiRi_GHANADoes having/not having a bold hair style make a difference for female students…?

By Caroline Mesnah

Ghanaian Wedding Procedure

“Da bi meye wo me yere”

Simply put “One day I’ll make you my wife”


So the day finally arrives when a Ghanaian man comes to the realisation that the woman he is dating is the one that he wants to spend the rest of his life with.

He proposes to his sweetheart & the lucky lady says “Yes
Before the happy couple even get to the altar, the elders within the family will advise them that they are required to perform the traditional wedding rites.

The traditional ceremony is a necessary common rite of marriage for all Ghanaian couples. In Ghana today, some couples perform this alone as a marriage ceremony, however, most couples also go on to perform the western wedding in a church in addition to the traditional marriage ceremony.

“Sounds simple enough, but Ghanaian’s will attest to the fact that if the lucky lady in question has said “yes” that this is only the start.”


Traditional_Ghanaian_Engagementing_The_KnockingFirst comes “The knocking” (kokooko) on the door ceremony, this is the process of the groom visits the home of his bride to be (with the purpose of formally announcing their wedding plans) with representatives from his family. This could be anyone from his parents to a senior uncle within the family.

Often times this ceremony is performed a week or two before the actual marriage ceremony. The knocking (“kookooko”) is derived from the Ghanaian tradition of knocking at the entrance of a house before entering as a visitor.

For the knocking ceremony the groom’s family brings along two bottles of Schnapps (alcoholic drinks), some money and cola to the house to present to the bride’s family. In the past, and to date, the drinks are used to pour libation. (Libation is a traditional form of prayer to the ancestral spirits and God).

Bottles_of_SchnappsWhen the drinks are presented, a designated spokesman from the groom’s delegation formally asks the bride’s family for permission to enter the house and announce their intentions. If the drinks are accepted then it means permission has been granted to the visitors to state their intentions. The spokesperson will then explain in the most lyrical language, that the groom, has seen a “beautiful flower” in the house of the bride’s family that he desires and would like to “uproot” that flower, not steal, from its keeper, hence they are here to ask for the brides hand in marriage and inquire about what is required in order to make that flower his own.

Once the intentions are announced, the bride’s family may ask the groom and his family to come back at a later date during which the bride’s family will investigate the grooms family background further to see:

a) If the family has no chronic illness or genetic disabilities in the family
b) If the family has a good reputation, that there are no immediate family members such as a sibling, an aunt or uncle who is known to be a thief, prostitute or murderer
c) If the groom has any illegitimate children or is already married to someone else etc.

d) If the groom is of good character and well matched to the bride


Come back Saturday at 09:00am GMT to read PART 3…

By Caroline Mensah