Since the government of Ghana introduced two years of compulsory kindergarten education in 2007, enrolment levels hugely increased, but the quality of the education the children received and the facilities available continued to suffer.
Nationally the 2015 Early Grade Literacy and Mathematics Assessment (Ghana Education Service 2015) showed that by the second year of primary school most pupils in Ghana were not yet able to read with fluency and accuracy and that the rote-based approach to maths instruction did not adequately prepare pupils for more complex maths in the higher grades. After four years of compulsory education (two years of kindergarten and two years of primary) only 2% of pupils are attaining the desired standards for literacy.
- A quarter of teachers have never received any formal training.
- Learning is often delivered through a rote-based ‘chalk & talk’ method.
- There are not enough learning materials, with one workbook for every three children.
- Kindergarten classrooms are often overcrowded with an average of 52 pupils per class.
(Source: Ministry of Education EMIS 2017/18)
Kindergarten school infrastructure is grossly inadequate:
- 5,280 existing kindergarten classrooms are in need of major repair, and best estimates suggest that at the very least a further 7,270 kindergarten classrooms are needed to meet the government’s target of 40 pupils per class.
Those children lucky enough to be in school experience a rote-based style of teaching that only succeeds in drilling them to repeat words without understanding their meaning, and does little to promote independent thought and self-confidence.
However, it does not have to remain this way. The Ghanaian Ministry of Education’s 2012 Operational Plan to Scale up Quality Kindergarten Education Nationwide offers a strategy to introduce a new approach to teaching and learning, which is child-centred, activity-based and recognises the value of play in early years.
Sabre Education is firmly committed to supporting the Ghana Education Service in delivering this Operational Plan, and changing the way that the youngest Ghanaians begin their education. It will be at least a decade before the fruits of these labours are seen in improved exam results and school completion rates, but like the Ghana Education Service, we believe that this change must begin in the early years.