Education in Accra

School system in Accra

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Ghana has both a public and private school system. The national school system is modeled after the British education system and runs from August to May. Officially, all classes are taught in English though some more rural schools may make use of local languages as well. Some schools will offer other language options as well. It includes the following grades and levels of schooling:

  1. Pre-school (ages 2 - 4)
  2. Kindergarten (2 years, ages 4 - 6)
  3. Primary school (grades 1 - 6, ages 6 - 11)
  4. Junior Secondary School (grades 7 - 9, ages 12 - 15)
  5. Senior Secondary School (grades 10 - 12, ages 16 - 18)
  6. Tertiary education (University, College, Technical Institute).

The ages associated with each level are approximate. It is common to have a range of ages as a result of students starting and stopping their studies because of external influences.

In 1996, Ghana instituted free and compulsory primary education for all children between the ages of 4 and 15. However, in practice the country has far from universal attendance. Costs associated with textbooks and uniforms keep many students out of primary and secondary school.

Standardized Examinations

In order to graduate from Junior High School, students must pass the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). In order to graduate from high school, students must pass the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in each of their chosen subjects. This is a standardized exam used in many English-speaking West African countries. The exams are written in May - June and students receive their results in October. Graduates from secondary school receive a high school diploma.

In Ghana, the private school system is widely regarded to be superior to the public school system - particularly during the lower grades. Often, public schools are over-attended and under-supported. Those who can afford it will likely send their children to private school.

Private School

There is an enormous range of private schools located throughout Ghana. Schools vary in terms of courses offered, quality of the education and the cost of tuition. Private schools are located throughout the country, but are most centralized in Accra.

Generally, people prefer to send their children to private school if they can afford it. Here, you find lower class sizes, more qualified teachers and better resources for teaching.


There is an enormous range in the tuition fees charged by private schools (USD 100 - 2000+/semester). Most private schools do not publish their rates online. Rather, you will need to contact them directly. It is not uncommon for them to charge a fee for you to receive the full fee information.


Ghana has several universities, some of which maintain partnerships with international universities. They offer everything from undergraduates through to doctorates, and include a number of specialized courses in medicine and education. 75% of universities in the country are privately run.

In order to apply to university, local students must present their WASSCE scores. In theory, admission will be granted based on these test scores and other factors. However, in practice, it is perhaps more a question of which students are able to pay tuition fees.

Among the country's growing number of universities, the following are the most highly regarded. The University of Ghana in Legon and the University of Cape Coast both host international students fairly frequently.

  • The University of Ghana in Legon
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi
  • University of Education in Winneba
  • Asheshi University College in Berekuso
  • University of Cape Coast in Cape Coast

A full list of accredited universities, colleges and polytechnics can be found on the National Accreditation Board website.


Accra has a selection of libraries that cater to children, adults, academics and professionals. The Accra Central Library is the country's main library, and was refurbished in 2014. Other libraries, like the Street Library, promote literacy and reading within lower income populations. There is also the Balme Library at the University of Accra.

Update 9/05/2015


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