5.6.4 Secondary School Level
According to the Ministry of Education Report for the years 1958 to 1960 secondary education has usefulness not only in promoting the culture of a nation, but is also serves as a factor for economic, social and political development. On the ground however, secondary schools were regarded as preparatory for higher education. The curriculum of secondary schools was dominated by entrance requirements of universities. At the time, the university requirement of the University of Ghana was based on the external examination of the University of London because they had a special relationship. It follows then that the curriculum was indirectly being influenced by a foreign body. To tackle this problem and to ensure that final exams promoted rather than hindered education, local examinations were introduced to replace the final examinations given by the Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. The examinations taken were the School Certificate (at the 5th form) and Higher School Certificate Examinations (at the upper 6th form) conducted by the West African Examinations Council. This did not change the fact that secondary school education was traditionally focused on providing students with knowledge to pass their exams and that students chose subjects in accordance with university entrance requirements.
The lack of qualified teachers due to the rapid expansion of primary and secondary schools proved to be a major problem and did affect the quality of education being given.
The Ministry of Education Report for the years 1958 to 1960 states that
“Secondary education has usefulness not only in promoting the culture of a nation, but is also serves as a factor for economic, social and political development”.
Looking at the actual developments however, not much of these ideals (cultural, economic, social and political development) were promoted since the curriculum was focused on entrance into the universities.
Parents and student expectations would have been let down. Since the main aim of secondary schooling became to enter the universities, it was a disappointment that not all students were able to gain access into the university.
Altogether, secondary school education did not fulfil the reason for which it had been created.
Though it did have an intrinsic value, this would be quite low if they could not enter the university or workforce. The university had limited space and unemployment was high.
On the whole, the increase in educational reach at the lower levels should ensure an increase in productivity to some degree. This effect would be little felt because of the overall state of the economy at the time. Public offices were overstaffed and industries were built to create jobs and pacify political supporters without much regard for the factors of production, therefore industries soon collapsed.
The ‘Cocktail’ Regime (1966 – 1981)
All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.
- Aristotle (384–322 BC) Greek philosopher, studied under Plato
This chapter describes the trend of events that ensued during a period of extreme political turbulence, from 1966 to 1981. Within this period there were number of coup d'états and each government had barely enough time to make a full educational reform. Each government did affect educational system in some way considering the fact that students were a strong political force at the time. Support from students was often a necessary ingredient for assuming political office and retaining office. This chapter does not go in-depth to analyse the contributions of the various levels of education but instead examines substantial policies and actions that had long term effects on Ghana’s educational system. The chapter does not consider every political change within the period because some changes in government were for extremely short periods. There is, however a brief description of the educational background of the main leader and the political climate at the time and a description of changes in the educational system. At the very end there is an overview of the major trend of educational developments. The table below shows the timeline of the various governments.
Table 6.1: Summary of Ghana Government Leadership from 1966 to 1992
Leaders Governments Other comments Years No. of
He became the chairman of the NLC and Head of Government in 1969 in place of the first chairman Lt. Gen.
In 1975 the NRC was reorganized to become the Supreme Military Council I (SMC I).
(1972- 1975) 3 years
4. Colonel Ignatius
In 1992 he retired from the army and stood for democratic elections on the
68 Flt. Jeremiah John Rawlings had given up his Military title
6.1 Economic Trend of the period
Table 6.2: Ghana’s GDP per capita from 1967 to 1980
GDP Per Capita (1967-1980)
1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980
GDP Per Capita
After the Nkrumah government the country had over US$ 500 million in medium- and long-term debts, as well as, US$72 million in interest accrued on these debts. There were also millions of dollars in short-term commercial credits. Within the country, an even larger internal debt also fueled inflation.
Ghana's economy remained largely dependent upon the export of cocoa. Revenue from cocoa provided about half of the country's foreign currency earnings. Beginning in the 1960s, however, foreign competition (particularly from neighboring Côte d'Ivoire), a lack of understanding of free-market forces (by the government in setting prices paid to farmers), accusations of bureaucratic incompetence in the Cocoa Marketing Board, and the smuggling of crops into Côte d'Ivoire caused income from cocoa to fall considerably.
In the wake of these economic conditions the Busia government expelled a large number of non citizens from the country and limited foreign involvement in small businesses. The moves were aimed at relieving the unemployment created by the country's precarious economic situation. The
policies were popular because they forced out of the retail sector of the economy foreigners (especially Lebanese, Asians, and Nigerians), who were perceived as unfairly monopolizing trade to the disadvantage of Ghanaians. The cedi was devalued by over 40% to encourage foreign investment in the industrial sector of the economy. This move unfortunately was not supported by the public.
In its first years, the National Redemption Council reversed some of the policies of the previous government. The Ghanaian currency was revalued upward. The government brought debt relief by simply refusing to pay debts to British companies owed by the Nkrumah regime, and unilaterally rescheduled of the rest of the country's debts for payment over fifty years. Later, the NRC nationalized all large foreign-owned companies.
To foster self reliance, the Operation Feed Yourself program was introduced. All Ghanaians were encouraged to undertake some form of food production, with the goal of eventual food self-sufficiency for the country. In the short term these measures were hailed but they were unable to solve the underlining problems.
By1974, the economy had taken a down turn due to many overriding factors. Industry and transportation suffered greatly as world oil prices rose, and the lack of foreign exchange and credit left the country without fuel. Basic food production continued to decline even as the population grew. World cocoa prices rose again in the late 1970s but Ghana was unable to take advantage of the price rise because of the low productivity of its old orchards. In addition to this, the low prices paid to cocoa farmers caused some growers along the nation's borders to smuggle their produce to Togo or Côte d'Ivoire.
The Supreme Military Council II (SMC II) was faced with an estimated inflation of 300%. There were shortages of basic commodities, and cocoa production fell by half.
The Limann government inherited these problems and estimated the Ghanaian inflation rate at 70 percent for that year, with a budget deficit equal to 30 percent of the gross national product. To compound this there were a number of strikes organized by the Trade Union Congress because it
claimed that its workers were no longer earning enough to pay for food. Each strike lowered productivity and therefore national income.
In 1983 the first phase of an Economic Recovery Program (ERP) was launched by the PNDC. Its goal was economic stability. The government wanted to reduce inflation and to create confidence in the nation's ability to recover. By 1987 the rate of inflation had dropped to 20 percent and between 1983 and 1987, Ghana's economy reportedly grew at 6 percent per year. Official assistance from donor countries to Ghana's recovery program was on the increase. The government also made a remarkable payment of more than US$500 million in loan arrears dating to before 1966. In recognition of these achievements, international agencies had pledged more than US$575 million to the country's future programs by May 1987.
Despite the successes of Phase One of the ERP, many problems remained including a high rate of Ghanaian unemployment as a result of the belt-tightening policies.
The PNDC inaugurated Phase Two of the ERP, which envisioned privatization of state-owned assets, currency devaluation, and increased savings and investment, and which was to continue until 1990.