More people attend university in Ghana as global number increases – UNESCO

The number of people enrolling in higher education in Ghana has increased dramatically in nine years, just as the number around the world has gone up, a new UNESCO report has found.

According to the Global Education Monitoring Report, a policy paper of UNESCO, copied to, in 2005, 41,783 students were enrolled in higher education in Ghana, but latest data shows that the number has risen to 157,626 in 2014 – more than double the number in under a decade.

The report also notes that 20 per cent of the richest, compared to less than one per cent of the poorest enroll in higher education.

The report indicates that worldwide, enrolment in higher education has been growing steadily: Between 2000 and 2014, the number of students in higher education institutions more than doubled, rising from 100 million to 207 million.

“In the same period, the global higher education gross enrolment ratio increased from 19 per cent to 34 per cent. This ratio expresses enrolment as a percentage of the population who are in the five-year age group immediately following secondary school graduation (typically ages 19 to 23),” it said.

The report however notes that the global figures obscure major differences between regions: Indicating that the higher education gross enrolment ratio ranges from an average of eight per cent in sub-Saharan Africa to 75 per cent in Europe and Northern America.

It adds, “Nonetheless, over the last two decades, higher education participation has been on the rise in less well-off regions, which is reflected in the fact that since 1995, average global higher education participation rates have increased by about four percent per year.”

The report further states that students in high income countries began to go to university and college at increased rates in the decades after the Second World War. But about 20 years ago, enrolment in middle income countries started to increase and has outpaced the rest; over the last 20 years, enrolment rates have risen by seven per cent per year in upper middle income countries and five per cent in lower middle income countries. Even low income countries are picking up speed, matching the global average growth rate of four per cent.

“By contrast, high income country participation growth has slowed to two per cent a year,” it says.

Ghana was also cited as having an effective instrument of collecting student loans. The country has established the Students Loans Trust, which enables students from poor households to access some funding for higher education, but often there are no effective collection mechanisms of these loans in some countries.

“Loan boards and education trust funds in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania have been able to address some of these administrative challenges by instructing employers to deduct repayment from wages,” it added.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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