In 1993, the Republic of Ghana established the Ministry of Education to provide easier educational access to Ghanaian citizens. The ministry focuses on academic, technical and vocational programs. The Ministry of Education also concentrates on infrastructure, the refurbishing of schools and bringing in newly trained teachers and academic scholars.
Seven years later, in 2000, Ghana incorporated a new educational reform program, called the Ghana Education Trust Fund. The fund was installed to provide quality education from basic (elementary) schooling to tertiary (college; trade schools).
Educational reform in Ghana finally began with Ghana’s Vision 2020 Act, which started in 1996. The plan was broken down into four parts: The First Step (1996-2000), Ghana Poverty and Reduction Strategy (2003-2005), Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (2006-2009) and the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (2010-2013).
The 2020 date was set to give the Ghanaian government enough time to accomplish all of its goals, with hopes that the government will go above and beyond to exceed all of its expectations in time. Ghana finished the project in 2015, accomplishing a great deal five years before the deadline.
Education has been free for primary school (elementary) and middle school. However, high school was optional, with most high schools being privately owned, making it difficult for many families to afford higher education for their children and causing students to drop out at a young age.
In 2014, Ghana’s president partnered with the World Bank to announce a new project called the Ghana Secondary Education Improvement Project, which launched free public education at the high school level in 2017, giving children a chance to stay in school to further their education in the hope that free education will lower the dropout rate in Ghana.
The financing provides $156 million over five years, between 2014 and 2019. The plan will help the Ghanaian government improve its educational reform plan, provide educational access to underserved children, improve the quality of education and provide technical assistance. Students and teenagers are welcoming educational reform in Ghana and the chance to attend free higher-level educational institutions, and are hopeful that this program will give them the opportunity for a better life not only for themselves, but for their families too.
Promoting educational reform in Ghana will not only provide children with better academic opportunities and skills, but will also help fight against child labor. Although Ghana has set up many laws and acts against child labor, such as the Child Protection Compact and the Worst Forms of Labor acts, many children still find themselves forced into harsh labor conditions rather than attending school and receiving a proper education.
The Child Labor Coalition website tells a story of a young boy whose father sold him to human traffickers because there was no money for his education. Lake Volta, the area the child was sold into, is known for forced child labor and actively ignoring Ghana’s current laws against such dreadful circumstances. The children are usually made to work anywhere between 10-20 hours per day, are terribly abused and fed very little.
As terrifying as this is, educational reform in Ghana is the key to a brighter future for these children. It is the answer to ending child labor and lowering dropout rates. Ensuring that Ghanaian children are provided with more opportunities and prospects will allow the country of Ghana to flourish, keeping children and their families happier and healthier while providing a safer environment for all of Ghana.
– Rebecca Lee