Early Care and Education in Ghana.The present level of care and education offered to young children in Ghana is a direct consequences of many events from the nation's past.
In 1957, Ghana was the first West African West Africa
A region of western Africa between the Sahara Desert and the Gulf of Guinea. It was largely controlled by colonial powers until the 20th century.
West African adj. & n. country to gain its independence from colonial rule. During the infancy period of the new republic, the government was proactive in recognizing the importance of the early years in the lives of Ghanaian children. In 1989, Ghana became the first country to ratify ratify v. to confirm and adopt the act of another even though it was not approved beforehand. Example: An employee for Holsinger's Hardware orders carpentry equipment from Phillips Screws and Nails although the employee was not authorized to buy anything. the United Nations' Rights of the Child. Then, in 1998, the government passed The Children's Act (Act 560), which strengthened existing laws on children's rights The opportunity for children to participate in political and legal decisions that affect them; in a broad sense, the rights of children to live free from hunger, abuse, neglect, and other inhumane conditions. , justice, and welfare.
Nearly half of Ghana's 19.5 million citizens are younger than 15 (Ardayfio, 1999). The most recent census data reported that about 16.5 percent of the population is under the age of 6 (Statistical Service, 1987). Unfortunately, only about 12 percent of the nation's very young children have access to early care and education; this lack of access is acute in rural areas.
In 1999, I spent four months in Accra (the capital), at the University of Ghana The University of Ghana is the oldest and largest of the five Ghanaian public universities. It was founded in 1948 as the University College of the Gold Coast, and was originally an affiliate college of the University of London , on research leave. My research focus was on the history of early care and education in Ghana Ghana has 12,630 primary schools, 5,450 junior secondary schools, 503 senior secondary schools, 21 training colleges, 18 technical institutions, two diploma-awarding institutions and five universities serving a population of 18 million; this means that most Ghanaians have relatively easy ; I gathered survey data on early childhood teachers' and parents' beliefs about how children learn and develop. In order to garner key information on the present state of early care and education, I conducted extensive interviews with, and collected data from, child care officials and staff in both the public and private sectors.
All policies and directives regarding early care and education in Ghana emanate em·a·nate
intr. & tr.v. em·a·nat·ed, em·a·nat·ing, em·a·nates
To come or send forth, as from a source: light that emanated from a lamp; a stove that emanated a steady heat. from Accra. Therefore, I was able to make contact with the majority of the individuals who influence early care and education in the country. The sense I gained from these discussions is that various early childhood personnel (government and non-government) are working arduously ar·du·ous
1. Demanding great effort or labor; difficult: "the arduous work of preparing a Dictionary of the English Language" Thomas Macaulay.
2. to improve the care and education experiences of children in Ghana. A look at the present state of early care and education in Ghana (known as the Gold Coast Colony until 1957) is best served by first gaining a sense of its history. The present level of care and education offered to young children in Ghana is a direct consequence of many events from the nation's past.
A Historical Look at Early Care and Education
The long defunct DEFUNCT. A term used for one that is deceased or dead. In some acts of assembly in Pennsylvania, such deceased person is called a decedent. (q.v.) Elmina Castle Elmina Castle was erected by the Portuguese in 1482 as São Jorge da Mina (St. George of the Mine Castle, also known simply as Mina or Feitoria da Mina) in present-day Elmina, Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast). School, founded in 1745, is the first recorded education program for very young children in Ghana (Wise, 1956). Starting in 1823, a number of missions from abroad were established to convert the native population to Christianity. The colonial Ghanaian government, lacking money, ceded the responsibility of education to the missions. The missions readily accepted this task, believing that schools were the best means of spreading Christianity (McWilliam, 1959). The first mission, Basel Mission The Basel Mission is a Christian missionary society that operates around the world. Members of the society come from many different Protestant denominations.
The mission was founded as the German Missionary Society in 1815. Society, was reported to have attached some kindergartens to their primary one classes (the Ghanaian equivalent to 1st grade in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. ) by 1843. The term "attached" refers to the inclusion of children within the group who are younger than the typical age for the identified class. Several missions followed the Basel Mission Society, and they reportedly attached some kindergartens and even a few nurseries (classes with children younger than 5 years old) to their primary one classes (Opong, 1993).
In the early part of the 20th century, G. H. Morrison (1920), as Director of Education in Ghana, objected to the inadequacy of education grants in the country, without which it proved difficult to staff schools with the best-trained teachers and adequate supplies. He also stressed the need for staff working with infants and kindergarten kindergarten [Ger.,=garden of children], system of preschool education. Friedrich Froebel designed (1837) the kindergarten to provide an educational situation less formal than that of the elementary school but one in which children's creative play instincts would be students to be trained in Froebelian methods.
The Gold Coast Colony Education Department Schedule of 1930 included a syllabus A headnote; a short note preceding the text of a reported case that briefly summarizes the rulings of the court on the points decided in the case.
The syllabus appears before the text of the opinion. for infant classes as part of the primary schedule. Instruction was to be in the vernacular ver·nac·u·lar
1. The standard native language of a country or locality.
a. The everyday language spoken by a people as distinguished from the literary language. See Synonyms at dialect.
b. and kindergarten methods of instruction were to be used. The subjects of instruction listed included games and physical exercises, spoken English (vocabulary of 200-300 words), singing, and arithmetic.
Before the middle of the 20th century, caregiving for infants and toddlers was provided by family members. By the 1940s and 1950s, however, day nurseries were reported in Ghana (Acquah, 1958). The government provided grants to some of these nurseries. Voluntary associations ran the government-supported nurseries under the supervision of the Department of Social Welfare. Government also paid the salaries for teachers, attendants, and other staff. Privately run day nurseries, which enrolled children as young as 2, were established to offer working mothers a safe and healthy environment for the children. Records indicate that some mothers not in the workforce also used the day nurseries. All nurseries charged a fee; those that did not receive government grants (the majority) relied solely on such fees for support. The programs that received federal grants charged a nominal fee, which is still the case today. The accommodations and amenities of non-government-supported programs often did not meet the high standards required of government-supported facilities (Acquah, 1958). The programs at the nurseries primarily consisted of organized games, singing, stories, and alphabet alphabet [Gr. alpha-beta, like Eng. ABC], system of writing, theoretically having a one-for-one relation between character (or letter) and phoneme (see phonetics). Few alphabets have achieved the ideal exactness. and number activities.
In 1957, Ghana gained independence from Britain. Through the passage of the Education Act of 1961, the new Republic of Ghana made preschools the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. Any facility that offered an educational program for young children (with or without fees) was required to register with the Ministry. This Act also instituted free basic compulsory education An editor has expressed concern that this article or section is .
Please help improve the article by adding information and sources on neglected viewpoints, or by summarizing and for children beginning with primary 1 (age 6) and through to primary 6.
Registration and Supervision of Early Childhood Programs
In 1965, the Ministry of Education established the Nursery and Kindergarten Unit in the Ghana Education Service (GES GES GTN (Global Transportation Network) Exercise System
GES General Estimates System (NHTSA)
GES Ghana Education Service
GES Government Economic Service (UK) ) to develop preschool institutions, in addition to facilitating registration, control, and evaluation of nurseries and kindergartens (Antwi, 1992; Opong, 1993). The National Nursery Teachers' Training Center and a model nursery and kindergarten opened in Accra in 1969. The Nursery and Kindergarten Unit trains staff for government nursery and kindergarten classes nationwide. The Training Center provides training for any early childhood personnel upon request (Afenya, 1999). Although training centers were to be established in each of the 10 regions of the country, only three have been incorporated to date, and only one remains fully functional.
While the government has continued to fund staff positions at the Nursery and Kindergarten Unit and the National Nursery Teachers' Training Center, it has often been the case that little or no funding has been allotted al·lot
tr.v. al·lot·ted, al·lot·ting, al·lots
1. To parcel out; distribute or apportion: allotting land to homesteaders; allot blame.
2. for operations. Instead, personnel have secured funding from other sources, including UNICEF UNICEF (y`nĭsĕf'), the United Nations Children's Fund, an affiliated agency of the United Nations. ; Save the Children, USA; and the Bernard van Leer Foundation The Bernard van Leer Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation that funds and shares knowledge internationally about work in early childhood development and child rights. It was established in 1949 and is based in the Netherlands. (Afenya, 1999).
The Department of Social Welfare (within the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare) is responsible for supervising programs that provide children with custodial care--called creches and day care centers. A creche typically enrolls children from birth up to 3 years old. In 1970, the department established the National Day Care Training Center and a demonstration model day care center in Accra. The center provides training for day care staff. Like the National Training Center for GES, government funding (other than for staff salaries) has not been consistent. Given that the center does not charge fees for the training provided to day care caregivers (E. Amua-Sekji and M. Amadu, personal communication, October 27, 1999), alternate funding sources are necessary.
As a result of the Dzobo Report (Ministry of Education, 1974) on the state of education in the nation, the Ghana Commissioners of Education mandated the presence of kindergarten classes in primary schools. This move was the impetus for the establishment of nursery classes as well. From 1977 to 1989, many kindergartens were attached to primary one classes in a valiant VALIANT Valsartan in Acute Myocardial Infarction Trial Cardiology A series of multinational M&M trials to determine the effects of valsartan–Diovan® , although ultimately futile, effort by the government to improve the educational lot of Ghanaian children. The financial strain of supporting cost-free basic education and tertiary education Tertiary education, also referred to as third-stage, third level education, or higher education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education, such as a high school, secondary school, or gymnasium. (university, teacher training, and professional) left the government with limited resources to focus on education before the age of 6. As a result, kindergarten teachers were often pulled into primary classes (Afenya, 1999).
In the late 1990s, a grassroots movement revived interest in providing out-of-home care for Ghana's very young, since the Ghanaian government did not have the financial means to fully provide such care. Efforts came primarily from a number of nongovernmental organizations Transnational organizations of private citizens that maintain a consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Nongovernmental organizations may be professional associations, foundations, multinational businesses, or simply groups with a common interest in (NGOs), principally the 31st December Women's Movement women's movement: see feminism; woman suffrage.
Diverse social movement, largely based in the U.S., seeking equal rights and opportunities for women in their economic activities, personal lives, and politics. and Plan International Ghana. These entities have set up child care centers throughout the nation. In addition to the efforts of NGOs, private early care facilities of all types were being opened as entrepreneurial ventures, particularly in urban areas.
Types of Preschool Programs
Four different types of facilities provide early care and education in Ghana: creche (for children 0-2 years old); day care (2-3 years old); nursery (3-4 years old); and kindergarten (4-6 years old). Day care centers and privately operated nurseries might serve children from birth to 6 (Afenya, 1999).
Any preschool designed to give regular instruction to children below the age of 6 is under the supervision of the Nursery and Kindergarten Unit of GES. In Ghana, nurseries and kindergartens are considered to be providing an educational (pre-academic) program; therefore, they are expected to register under GES (Antwi, 1999). The National Early Childhood Training Center has produced a curriculum guide for government-supported nursery and kindergarten programs. The guide is available to any preschool program, however. Registered programs are strongly encouraged to include activities related to music, movement, numbers, nature and the environment, health, English, and current events. Government-supported programs are expected to include these activities (Y. Tiwaa, personal communication, December 15, 1999).
Any facility providing custodial care Custodial Care
Non-medical care that helps individuals with his or her activities of daily living, preparation of special diets and self-administration of medication not requiring constant attention of medical personnel. to young children is required to register with the Department of Social Welfare. The Children's Act of 1998, which outlined guidelines guidelines,
n.pl a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks. for day care centers, contained a clause in which centers in operation prior to the Act had to apply for a permit within six months Of the Act's enactment. District Assemblies issue bylaws The rules and regulations enacted by an association or a corporation to provide a framework for its operation and management.
Bylaws may specify the qualifications, rights, and liabilities of membership, and the powers, duties, and grounds for the dissolution of an and guidelines for the operation of day care centers within their districts, and the Department of Social Welfare inspects each center at least once every six months. The inspection report is submitted to the Social Services social services
welfare services provided by local authorities or a state agency for people with particular social needs
social services npl → servicios mpl sociales Subcommittee sub·com·mit·tee
A subordinate committee composed of members appointed from a main committee.
Noun of a District Assembly. When a center does not meet specified standards, the owner has a stipulated amount of time in which to make improvements. If a center fails to meet the required standards, the permit is cancelled.
The department has established a curriculum guide available that emphasizes creative activities, cultural experiences, music, movement, story reading, and storytelling Storytelling
semi-legendary fabulist of ancient Greece. [Gk. Lit.: Harvey, 10]
Baron traveler grossly embellishes his experiences. [Ger. Lit. . Play, rather than academic work, is the hallmark of the children's day Children's Day is a holiday in many countries around the world. International Children's Day
The International Children's Day (ICD) is celebrated in numerous countries, usually (but not always) on June 1 each year. (M. Sankara, personal communication, December 1, 1999). A number of government supervisors, directors, and supervisors of early care programs have expressed concern about teaching academic skills to 3- and 4-year-olds. One center director said that she feared the children would experience learner burnout Burnout
Depletion of a tax shelter's benefits. In the context of mortgage backed securities it refers to the percentage of the pool that has prepaid their mortgage. as they continued their schooling; the Ghanaian schooling process is very arduous ar·du·ous
1. Demanding great effort or labor; difficult: "the arduous work of preparing a Dictionary of the English Language" Thomas Macaulay.
2. and competitive. She believed that very young children should be given time to develop the social, physical, and emotional skills needed for later school experiences (E. Ankrah, personal communication, November 18, 1999). Others agreed that teaching 3- and 4-year-olds to read and write was inappropriate.
Future Plans for Early Childhood Development
The most recent statistics available (Afenya, 1999) indicate that a little more than half a million Ghanaian children were enrolled in an early care and development program in 1995, with more than twice as many enrolled in public programs than in private ones. Many early childhood facilities throughout Ghana are in need of more trained teachers, materials and equipment, and space. In addition, programs exist that enroll children but are not registered with the supervision entities. The government does not have the staff or resources to identify such facilities (Afenya, 1999): A group of influential persons representing the various entities have been working diligently dil·i·gent
Marked by persevering, painstaking effort. See Synonyms at busy.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin d over the last decade to improve early care for children in Ghana (Opong, personal communication, September 19, 1999). They have identified several areas that will affect future quality and availability of early childhood programs.
This group believes that citizens, particularly parents, are likely to be more supportive of governmental efforts to improve early childhood education if they are made aware of the importance of a child's early years. Personnel of the Ministry of Education (Nursery and Kindergarten Unit) and the Department of Social Welfare, in conjunction with other government entities, NGOs, associations, and agencies that serve children and their families, could be most helpful in making this information widespread. Such information may persuade parents having access to affordable out-of-home care to allow their girl children, who often care for younger siblings siblings npl (formal) → frères et sœurs mpl (de mêmes parents) at the neglect of schooling, to attend school.
Since the late 1980s, the government has passed no legislation that increases its financial support for early care and education in the country. Early childhood development advocates would like Ghana's Parliament to mandate a national policy on Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD ECCD Early Child Care and Development
ECCD Electron Cyclotron Current Drive
ECCD Exciton-Coupled Circular Dichroism
ECCD Eastern College Career Days
ECCD Eastern Connecticut Conservation District
ECCD Energy Conversion and Conservation Division ). During the 1990s, the Ghana National Commission on Children, a government entity, worked with several national and international early childhood organizations and government departments to assess the status of early care and development and formulate a national policy. An immediate goal is to help programs move away from the traditional preschool model that only deals with custodial care and/or early education. The preschool program would become an integrated system of education that would also make community services (e.g., adequate food, health and nutrition services, protection) available to all children (B. Akuffo-Amoabeng, personal communication, October 26, 1999; Pagano, 1999). At this time, the Commission has taken the lead in preparing the ECCD document. In addition, the Commission is working to secure funding that will ensure a smooth transition when this national policy is ultimately approved by Parliament (B. Akuffo-Amoabeng, personal communication, October 26, 1999).
Another concern is the supervision of various early childhood development programs, which are currently under the auspices aus·pi·ces 1
Plural of auspex.
under the auspices of with the support and approval of [Latin auspicium augury from birds]
Noun of different ministries and organizations (Opong, 1993). The Department of Social Welfare, for example, is responsible for registering and supervising creches and day care centers. The 31st December Women's Movement also supervises (in addition to supervision from Social Welfare) its day care centers. GES registers and supervises nurseries and kindergartens. In addition, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development help promote early childhood development (Opong, 1993).
Many education professionals would like to see these groups collaborate (see Table 1), which would make for more efficient use of available resources. Such collaboration would necessitate ne·ces·si·tate
tr.v. ne·ces·si·tat·ed, ne·ces·si·tat·ing, ne·ces·si·tates
1. To make necessary or unavoidable.
2. To require or compel. input from the various District Assemblies (10 in all) and their communities, which would establish systems that meet the particular needs of their localities. Government agencies would work in concert with the multitude of child-related agencies, NGOs, service providers, and associations to establish District Assembly-implemented, community-based ECCD programs (B. Akuffo-Amoabeng, personal communication, October 26, 1999)
Table 1 GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES PROVIDING FUNDING TO EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION Organization Funding for Ministry of Education Salaries, the teacher training center, curriculum that conforms with national goals, technical input in early implementation and development for all ECCD programs, expanding training facilities via Teachers Training Colleges, ensuring smooth transitions from preschool programs to formal schooling Ministry of Health Health and nutrition technical input, immunization and other child care services, parent education programs Ministry of Employment Child protection and care services, and Social Welfare registration, and regulation of ECCD centers Ministry of Local Programs to ensure that District Government and Assemblies establish child Rural Development care centers
Concerns about the training of early childhood personnel still need to be addressed. The early childhood training centers of GES and the Department of Social Welfare do as much training as their budgets allow. GES has adopted the "train the trainer" method so that adequate training is widely available; still, not all early childhood personnel receive sufficient training. As a result of inadequate funding, more than 80 percent of the teachers and attendants in nurseries and kindergartens have received no training for the positions they fill (Opong, 1993).
The Institute for Caregivers, a very recent Ghanaian initiative, has provided training to early childhood personnel. Funding comes from CRA See Community Reinvestment Act. Limited, a Ghana-based business, and from the Danish government. It is hoped that within three years the Institute will be fully supported with Ghanaian funds and personnel. The sessions run for six weeks, on Saturdays only. Presently, training occurs only in Accra, but the Institute hopes to eventually make its training available in all regions of the country. Personnel from Denmark's Jelling College serve as the senior management and trainers for the Institute (M. Dogoe, personal communication, December 21, 1999).
Some of the nation's trainers (government entities, principally) are seeking to create a specialized area for early childhood within college and university teacher training courses (S. Opong, personal communication, November 6, 1999, and July 17, 2000). The majority of teachers in government-supported early childhood programs are trained as primary level teachers. Each program has at least one teacher (head teacher) who has received teacher training. Early childhood personnel receive training on methods and curriculum. Teachers in non-government-supported programs often have no formal education in teacher training; many have not had any early childhood inservice training, either (Afenya, 1999; Opong, 1993). The proprietors of these private facilities are frequently former primary school teachers. The guidelines outlined by GES for establishing an early childhood center require that either the proprietor proprietor n. the owner of anything, but particularly the owner of a business operated by that individual.
PROPRIETOR. The owner. (q.v.) be a certified teacher A certified teacher is a teacher who has earned credentials from an authoritative source, such as the government, a higher education institution or a private source. These certifications allow teachers to teach in schools which require authorization in general, as well as allowing (the certificate would be in primary [elementary] education from a teachers training college or university), or one should be employed to head or manage the school. To help address these concerns, it is hoped that a specialization A career option pursued by some attorneys that entails the acquisition of detailed knowledge of, and proficiency in, a particular area of law.
As the law in the United States becomes increasingly complex and covers a greater number of subjects, more and more attorneys are in early childhood education will be offered as well as the present Bachelor's of Arts degree in primary education.
Collaboration among state and private programs, agencies, and organizations shows great promise for providing all Ghanaian children access to early care and development. The efforts of early childhood personnel to secure the ratification The confirmation or adoption of an act that has already been performed.
A principal can, for example, ratify something that has been done on his or her behalf by another individual who assumed the authority to act in the capacity of an agent. of a national Early Childhood Care and Development Policy demonstrate a commitment to young children's holistic development. The next steps are to garner national support and funding for early care and development, to ensure that all children have a chance to reach their full potential.
Acquah, I. (1958). Accra survey. London: University of London For most practical purposes, ranging from admission of students to negotiating funding from the government, the 19 constituent colleges are treated as individual universities. Within the university federation they are known as Recognised Bodies Press, LTD LTD 1 Laron-type dwarfism 2 Leukotriene D 3 Long-term depression, see there 4. Long-term disability .
Afenya, M. (1999). Brief on early childhood development in Ghana. Unpublished manuscript.
Antwi, M. (1992). Education, society and development in Ghana. Accra, Ghana: Unimax Publishers Limited.
Ardayfio, R. (September 9, 1999). A world of six billion implications for Ghana. Daily Graphic Newspaper, p. 9.
Education Department. (1930). Education department schedules. Accra, Ghana: Government Printing Office.
Hilliard, F. H. (1957). A short history of education in British West Africa British West Africa, former inclusive term for the British colonies of Cameroons, Gambia, Gold Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togoland. . London: Thomas Nelson Thomas Nelson may refer to:
McWilliam, H. O. A. (1959). The development of education in Ghana. London: Longmans, Green & Co.
Ministry of Education. (1974). The new structure and content of education for Ghana. Accra, Ghana: Author.
Morrison, G.W. (1920). A memoir memoir
History or record composed from personal observation and experience. Closely related to autobiography, a memoir differs chiefly in the degree of emphasis on external events. on the state of education in the Gold Coast Colony. Accra, Ghana: Government Press.
Opong, S. (1993, November). Towards a first start for children. Paper presented at the meeting of the National Seminar of Early Childhood Development, Accra, Ghana, West Africa West Africa
A region of western Africa between the Sahara Desert and the Gulf of Guinea. It was largely controlled by colonial powers until the 20th century.
West African adj. & n. .
Pagano, A. (1999). Strategies to strengthen early childhood development programs in Ghana, West Africa. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 20, 121-124.
Statistical Service. (1987). 1984 population census of Ghana. Accra, Ghana: Author.
Wise, C. (1956). History of education in British West Africa. London: Longmans, Green and Company.
Johnetta Wade Morrison is Associate Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri, Columbia.