Education and Schools in Ghana
The majority of international schools in Ghana are located in the country's capital, Accra. The major advantage these schools have is that they follow various foreign curriculums which allow for an easier transition for expat students. The standard of teaching at international schools tend to be high and facilities are in line with those students would be accustomed to in Europe or North America. Expats considering sending their child to an international school in Accra should negotiate an allowance to cover the expense of school fees into their employment package whenever possible.
Public schools in Ghana
The local school system, which operates throughout the country, is modelled on a traditional British school system, and some textbooks are directly derived from British texts used in England years ago.
Although English is the official language in Ghana, the language of instruction at the primary level in many regions is the local vernacular; whereas in Accra, most schools teach in English with only the elective courses in local languages. The focus is on rote learning, or learning by memorisation and repetition. Although this can be effective for younger children, most expats will find the lack of focus on individual thinking and problem solving somewhat limiting.
Students begin their six-year primary education at the age of six. After primary school, students pass into a new junior secondary school system for three years of academic training combined with technical and vocational training. Senior secondary school follows for three additional years.
Primary and junior secondary education are supposedly tuition-free and mandatory. However, there is no way to enforce attendance since there are not enough teachers and facilities available to accommodate all students. Also, many families cannot afford the other levies and school uniforms, and as a result, there are still many local children seen working in the streets during school hours.
Most local schools condone and support corporal punishment for minor infractions, with the instrument of choice being a yard-long wooden cane. Students are commonly given the task of cleaning school compounds, which can involve cutting the lawn with machetes and shovelling out open gutters.
International schools in Ghana
Due to the large expatriate community in Accra, private schools have emerged that are modelled on the education systems in other countries.
There is a French school, a Swiss School (where the predominant language of instruction is German), and a few British and American Schools. The Delhi School of Ghana is situated in Tema, a 30-minute drive from Accra.
Outside Accra, it will be very difficult to find schools that offer international school curricula. Many expat parents, who live in other regions, decide to homeschool their children instead.
The international schools are all quite different in terms of tuition fees, standards and diplomas offered. Expats should definitely research well before coming to Ghana, and negotiate school fees as part of their package. Most international schools are quite costly; at times, costing as much or more than university education in the West.
Expats should take care to negotiate tuition allowances in their contract, or to negotiate their salary accordingly, if planning to send their child to a costly international school.
International Schools in Ghana listing
Lincoln Community School (LCS)
Curriculum: American and International Baccalaureate
Ghana International School (GIS)
American International School (AIS)
British International School (BIS)
Tema International College
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate