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.
At 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.
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