Inequity curtails efficient delivery of basic education in Ghana – World Bank

PupilsA new World Bank report has found that inequity is the central challenge facing basic education in Ghana.

According to the report, inequity in terms of education service delivery and resource allocations undercut the potential contribution of basic education to Ghana’s national development goals.

“Persistent disparities in education service delivery and inequitable allocation of resources in Ghana lead to highly inequitable educational outcomes,” said the report titled “Basic education beyond the Millennium Development Goals in Ghana: How equity in service delivery affects educational and learning outcomes”.

Authored by Peter Darvas and David Balwanz, the World Bank report noted that these inequities negatively affect system quality, efficiency and accountability and ultimately undermine broader national development.

It added, “Wide-spread inequity in education service delivery significantly depresses system learning outcomes.”

The report identifies a “missing middle” in terms of learning outcomes stating that “while a small number of children perform well, the majority of pupils (more than 60%) pass through primary school without becoming proficient in numeracy and literacy”.

Another report on education in Ghana by the UNESCO released October 16, 2012 shows that a large population in Ghana can’t read a sentence after leaving school the previous four years.

“In Ghana, for example, over half of women and over one-third of men aged 15 to 29 who had completed six years of school could not read a sentence at all in 2008. A further 28% of the young women and 33% of the young men could only read part of a sentence,” it says.

“New analysis of household surveys for this Report shows, however, that far more children than expected in low and lower middle income countries are completing primary school without becoming literate,” the UNESCO report adds.

Specifically, the World Bank report highlighted that children from Ghana’s northern regions and deprived districts, poor and rural households and ethnic and linguistic minorities – students who require the most support to meet learning outcomes – receive, on average, disproportionately fewer resources from the government than their peers. “Systemic inequities create this missing middle and drag down system performance,” it said.

The World Bank observed that following a decade of rapid change, as of 2013, more children are attending basic and senior high schools than at any time in the history of Ghana. In the past decade, Ghana has realized great growth, progress and change. Population growth, urbanization and significant GDP growth have changed the economic, political and social landscape of Ghana.

According to the report, the introduction of Free, Compulsory, Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) and kindergarten has supported a near doubling of basic education enrollment in the past 15 years.

Despite delivering basic education and ensuring equity has become more challenging, the report found out that recent experience has shown “accelerating progress toward equity and quality basic education for all is possible”. It said several recent initiatives in Ghana point to the possibility of improving equitable resource allocation, strengthening social protection and providing additional support to improve learning outcomes.

It cited children with below-average learning outcomes in poorly resourced environments are likely to show measurable gains when provided additional support (e.g. instructional support, learning resources, management support, demand-side incentives).

The report recommended that government should improve the equitable allocation and increase the number of qualified teachers to schools.

It also advised government to increase the expenditure on basic education and to foster a culture of innovation and collaborative learning across the country.

By Ekow Quandzie

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