“Achieving Universal Primary Education:” What Ghana is doing.
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The number of schools and enrollment rates has increased tremendously over the years due to various reforms and new policy measures instituted by government. The number of kindergartens (KG) has increased from 14,246 in 2006/07 to 15,449 in 2007/08 following government’s policy mandating each primary school to have a kindergarten attached to it. The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for KG has subsequently increased from 89.0 percent in 2006/07 to 89.9 percent in 2007/08. The number of primary schools rose from 16,903 in 2006/07 to 17,315 in 2007/08, while the GER increased from 93.7 percent to 95.2 percent over the same period.
The area where challenges exist is the survival rate, which has stagnated at 88 percent in 2007/08 from 85.4 percent in 2006/07. Also, another problem faced in Ghana for the achievement of Millenium Development Goal 2, is the situation of classrooms under trees which is not favorable to children-- whenever it rains then that would be the end of class. Thus children learn less on days when it rains.
Again, the problem of high population per class is a major headache in the education system here in Ghana as a class could contain over 60 pupils per teacher, which is so tiresome and also does not ensure that children receive the knowledge needed. This is because the government of the day has provided for free education where parents won’t have to bother to pay a penny for sending their wards to school, and so whatever happens is as a result of the free nature of the system which does not effectively impart knowledge to children.
The Government also introduced the school feeding programme on a pilot basis where children in certain communities of the country could receive two square meals a day as a motivation to the pupils to turn up in school and also relieve parents, who might not have enough money to feed their wards. Just recently, the government started with free distribution of exercise books, other educational materials and school uniforms to every school giving basic pupil the chance to enroll in school. But the challenge is that not every child gets the uniform, even if he or she gets access to the materials. Lack or inadequacy of teachers is a major problem in Ghana as they refuse postings to some areas of the country. Also, low infrastructural development is an issue as the government shirks its responsibilities to build classrooms for the children both at the central and district levels of the country.