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Ghana

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

The Ministry of Education and its implementation agency, the Ghana Education Service, have responsibility for policy and curriculum development for the nation's pre-university education. Regional and District Education Officers represent the ministry in the provinces and districts respectively. It is from these offices that education inspectors visit the schools. As it was mandated in the 1961 Education Act, local authorities (i.e., local government) had educational responsibilities. They approved the opening of new public schools, and, as a result of inadequate national funding, were responsible for maintaining school infrastructures. Teacher training remains the duty of the national government, but the religious denominations that have had long histories in the provision of schools also continue to maintain affiliations with their former institutions. They influence the selection of headmasters for these schools and colleges.

The legislation that established the nation's public universities also approved the creation of internal self-governing boards, or University Councils. Representatives from the institutions constituted the various university boards but others, including the council chairs, were appointed by the central government. The universities have broad powers in research and curriculum development.

In the first two decades following independence, a division within the Ministry of Education handled matters concerning higher education. This changed in 1969 when a government decree created the National Council for Higher Education as the advisory body on "the development of university institutions of Ghana." In performing its functions, the council—which included representatives from the universities, some members from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and others appointed by the central government—was to take into account "the total national resources, needs and development" programs. Following the educational reforms of 1987, the monitoring of higher education has come under the Ministry of Education agency called the National Council for Tertiary Education. The day-to-day administration of the universities rests with the various vice-chancellors while principals administer the nation's polytechnics.

Research that informs the educational system in Ghana takes place at different levels. The Curriculum Research and Development Division of the Ministry of Education, the National Advisory Committee on Curriculum for Pre-University Education (including representatives of the Ghana National Association of Teachers), and the Bureau of Ghana Languages have all contributed to educational improvements in the country. Also important are the various studies conducted on education at the institutes, centers, and university departments.

In the nation's long history, there has been periodic concern expressed about the adequacy and quality of schools. A consistent complaint, however, has been inadequate educational funding. Ever since the 1951 Accelerated Plan, central government expenditures on education have remained high. In the past 30 years, the average expenditure on education was equal to 25 percent of the total national budget. In 1985, when the government was preparing to introduce educational reforms, the amount of the national budget spent on education rose to as high as 31.5 percent. In 1996, approximately 24 percent of total national expenditures was on education. A considerable portion of this total spending on education has been spent on basic education. Between 1990 and 1998, for example, an average of 67 percent of the total expenditures on education went to support basic education. How much of national funding on education should continue to support primary and secondary education over tertiary institutions has been a subject of national debate. Some have called on tertiary institutions to improve their financial situations by considering commercialization—that is, by establishing consulting services. In the wake of limited government assistance, a number of "Educational Funds" have been created by private organizations—the most advertised is the Asanteman Fund organized by Asantehene Osei Tutu II to assist pre-university institutions. Such support notwithstanding, it should be noted that parents are increasingly called upon to assume more financial responsibility for their children's education in Ghanaian schools. The long-term ramifications of this change are unknown.

Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceGhana - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education