- Download our Moving to Ghana Guide (PDF)
When it comes to education and schools in Ghana, most expats find the national curriculum to be limited, teaching methods outdated and the standard of facilities lower than what they might be used to back home. For these reasons, expats tend to bypass public schooling options in Ghana and instead send their children to an international school.
Public schools in Ghana
School is compulsory and free for children aged between 4 and 15, and free for senior secondary as well. Pre-tertiary school is divided into four phases:
- Preschool: ages 3 to 6
- Primary school: ages 6 to 12
- Junior secondary school: ages 12 to 15
- Senior secondary school: ages 15 to 18
As the language of instruction in Ghana's public schools is English, expat children with an English-speaking background are unlikely to face a language barrier.
The teaching focus in Ghanaian public schools is often on learning by memorisation and repetition. Although this can be effective for younger children, most expats will find the lack of focus on individual thinking and problem-solving somewhat limiting. Resources in public schooling are limited and may not meet the standards that new arrivals might expect.
Private schools in Ghana
Private schools in Ghana receive both governmental and private funds. There are public-private partnerships with international organisations, private institutions and individuals, and churches and NGOs contributing to funding, infrastructure maintenance, furniture and technical assistance. Communities and parents participate, paying tuition fees and organising food and transport for their children.
These schools tend to offer the same national curriculum but at a slightly higher standard because of the additional funding and support. There are also private international schools that offer either curricula from other countries or international curricula like the International Baccalaureate (IB).
International schools in Ghana
Due to the large expat community in Accra, the city has a range of private bilingual international schools with international accreditation. Most of these schools teach the American, British (English National Curriculum, Cambridge IGCSE and A-Levels) or International Baccalaureate curricula, and there are also Canadian, French and German schools. They can provide excellent opportunities for further study and career development.
Some schools are rooted in religion with a Christian-based academic environment, and there are also opportunities for Montessori education.
For their prestigious curricula, well-maintained campuses and expanded offering of extracurriculars, international schools charge hefty fees, and expats should take care to negotiate tuition allowances in their employment contracts or to negotiate their salaries accordingly.
Though fees are high, international schools ease the transition for expat children, allowing them to make friends with students from various cultures and nationalities but in similar situations to theirs, allowing a diverse environment to grow up in. Similarly, this provides opportunities for parents of comparable circumstances to expand their network.
For families in larger cities such as Accra and Kumasi, finding an international school is unlikely to be a problem. Those based further from these cities may need to settle for a boarding school option or homeschooling.
See International Schools in Ghana for more information on this option.
Special-needs education in Ghana
Ghana's Inclusive Education Policy envisions a path for all children to receive a fully supportive and inclusive educational experience. The government, private sector and NGOs are working towards inclusive education and providing teachers with assistive devices and training opportunities.
Despite the push for mainstream education, many children with special needs are placed in segregated special schools, but parents may prefer more inclusive options. Most often, these can be found in private schooling. International schools may provide varying levels of support for children with disabilities, and expats should get in contact for specific information.
- For more on special-needs education in Ghana, expats can visit the Special Education Division's website.
Homeschooling in Ghana
The law on homeschooling in Ghana is not explicit, but it is by and large considered legal, with a small but growing number of families opting for this. Expat parents may find homeschooling an ideal alternative to lower-quality public schools and extremely pricey international schools.
Numerous associations and parent groups can be found in Ghana. Parents should ideally connect with these networks to make use of resources and first-hand advice.
Tutors in Ghana
For parents who require extra tuition for their children, there is no shortage of tutors in Ghana. There are many private tutoring companies, especially in and around large cities. Schools can often suggest good tutors in the area, but tutor companies can be found with a quick look on a search engine, through social media or by word of mouth.
Tutoring can be centre- or home-based and can help students who struggle with particular subjects, build self-confidence or just assist in maintaining focus, and it can be a great benefit close to exam time. Tutors can also help expat children pick up a new language faster or to maintain their mother tongue.
- Superprof Ghana is an online platform that connects tutors in a variety of subjects to students. It has a presence in many countries, including Ghana.
- Chegg Tutors is a renowned global platform offering online tutoring services in a wide range of subjects and can be accessed by students from Ghana as well.
- Tutor.com is another well-known tutoring service that offers online tutoring across various subjects. They have experienced tutors to help students at different academic levels.
What do expats say about finding a school in Ghana?
"Finding the right school was key to our children settling in to their new lives. They initially attended a private Ghanaian school, and there were significant challenges in the style of teaching and social interactions. However, they also attended an international school with a wonderful welcoming community, where they were very happy and settled." Our interview with Australian expat Chris gives some fascinating insights into education and schooling in Ghana.
►See a listing of International Schools in Ghana
Are you an expat living in Ghana?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Ghana. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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