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Education in Ghana - statistics & facts

Formal education up to the secondary level is free in Ghana. As of March 2020, a total of 404,856 students were enrolled under the free Senior High School (SHS) policy. The latter was launched by the government in September 2017, taking effect from the 2017/2018 academic year.

Educational policy and enrollment

It is mandatory for children in Ghana between the ages of four and fourteen to be enrolled in school for a period of 11 years, and this has been the case since 2007. Nonetheless, in 2019, the government announced plans for new legislation that would extend basic and compulsory education up to the secondary school level. English is the language of instruction in the country as it is the language of the state, except at the initial stages of education, where local languages may be used. Furthermore, the 1996 Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education Program (fCUBE) of the Ministry of Education in Ghana was aimed at providing quality and universal primary education for citizens. Despite this, 6.5 percent of children of primary school age were out of school in 2018. To this effect, over 110,000 girls and nearly 155,000 boys were not enrolled in primary school in 2020. Comparatively, for people between the ages of 15 and 24 years in 2018, the literacy rate was higher among males than females. In general, the country spent about 3.99 percent of its GDP on education in 2018.

The educational system

Ghana‘s formal education system comprises primary, junior and senior secondary schools, and tertiary education. In 2020, the gross enrollment ratio stood at 103.44 for primary education, 77.67 for secondary education, and as of the same year, there were nearly 550 thousand tertiary students in the country.
Moreover, in 2018, the school completion rate among pre-primary and primary-age children was higher for females than males, while the opposite was true from the junior high school level onwards.
At the tertiary education level, the country boasted of nine private and public institution ownership types as of 2019, with more students enrolled in public universities than in other public and private-owned tertiary institutions and colleges of education. Consequently, in the said year, nearly 265 thousand students were registered in public universities in the country, which was more than half the number of students at this educational level. Programs offered by these institutions range from business, applied science, arts and social science to education and engineering but also nursing, among others. They were offered as regular, sandwich, or distance learning programs taught by over 15 thousand teaching staff, who held titles such as professor, lecturer and tutor.

International student mobility

On the international tertiary education market in 2019, there were more outbound students in Ghana than there were inbound. This recorded a negative foreign student mobility net flow of 10,307. Although foreign students in the country were mainly from Africa as of 2020, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, many students have come from other parts of the world to study in Ghana over the years. On the other hand, more than 17 thousand Ghanaian students studied abroad in 2019.
Overall at the national level, the per capita consumer spending on education is expected to amount to over 160 U.S. dollars in 2025, while the total consumer spending on education is estimated to reach approximately 5.5 billion U.S. dollars by the end of the same year.


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