The government has prioritised education reform in recent years. Since 2017 it has passed several initiatives aimed at improving education availability and quality. The provision of free senior high school (SHS) in 2007 and a commitment to increase spending have enhanced access to education, as reflected in rising enrolment rates at all levels. There have also been advancements in Ghana’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) segment due to the establishment of a commission to oversee its expansion.

Structure & Oversight

The Ministry of Education (MoE) shapes national education policy and manages budget allocation. It partners with institutions like the Ghana Education Service (GES) for quality control in primary and secondary education, as well as pre-tertiary TVET. The GES oversees school monitoring, curriculum development, and teacher training standards. The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) supervises higher education, while the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET) and MoE jointly oversee the TVET sector. Private schools must register with the GES, and both private and public institutions must be accredited by the National Accreditation Board.

The Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2018-30 was developed under the leadership of the MoE and set a vision and policies aimed at enhancing the provision of education. It assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the education system and developed strategies to address the challenges. It replaced the previous ESP 2010-30 and was accompanied by the Education Sector Medium-Term Development Plan 2018-21. The MoE developed the more recent ESP in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which was adopted in 2015.

The ESP 2018-30 is meant to address three main policy objectives: improved equitable access to and participation in inclusive education at all levels; enhanced quality of teaching, learning and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels; and efficient management, financing and accountability of education service delivery.

Sector Breakdown

Policy reform has enhanced access to education in recent years, evident in key indicators. Net primary school enrolment grew from 72% in 2009 to 86% in 2019. Meanwhile, the adult literacy rate rose from 71% in 2010 to 80% in 2020. For women, the rate climbed from 65% to 75% over this period, while for men the increase was 78% to 84%.

However, the sector contends with ongoing challenges including inadequate equipment, poor sanitation facilities, crowded classrooms, a dearth of textbooks, and a shortage of trained teachers in certain subjects. In addition, a significant portion of the education budget — approximately 82% in 2022 — went towards employee compensation, according to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), thereby limiting funds available for infrastructure and educational materials.

School System

Education in Ghana is compulsory for children between the ages of four and 15. The sector is organised into four levels: six years of primary education, three years of junior high school (JHS), three years of SHS and an optional tertiary level covering four years. In 2020 there were 18,530 primary-level institutions, 8850 in JHS, 700 in SHS and 191 universities.

Enrolment rates have improved in recent years, with net enrolment at the primary level increasing from 72% in 2009 to 86% in 2019 according to the most recent data from the World Bank. At the secondary level, this rose from 43% in 2009 to 58.3% in 2022.


The education budget increased by 21.5% from 2022 to 2023 in nominal terms, however, when adjusted for inflation, it declined by 6.1% in real terms. Under the 2023-26 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, the MoE budget is projected to continue falling in real terms in the years ahead.

Education’s share of total government spending is below the global benchmark of 15% to 20% or the government’s own commitment of 23%. Having almost met the global benchmark in 2019, when education spending reached 17.9%, the total education budget has declined as a share of total government spending and is 10.9% for 2023. As a proportion of GDP education spending has declined from 4.3% in 2020 to 3.1% in 2023, compared to the UNESCO target of at least 4% to 6%. Under current MoF projections, education spending will continue to trend downwards through to 2026 when it is projected to amount to 8.6% of total government spending and 2.3% of GDP.

The share of the MoE budget allocated to basic education, which covers primary and JHS has declined from 39.2% in 2019 to 20% in 2023. Despite providing higher returns on investment and catering to the broader population, basic education has received a reduced share of the budget in recent years. In 2023 it received a lower allocation than tertiary education, which was allotted 30.5%, but higher than secondary education at 9.8%. Other budgetary challenges are the difference between the planned budget allocations and actual spending, which is characterised by overspending in areas such as compensation and social benefits and under expenditure in goods and services.

Funding sources primarily stem from the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETF und) and Internally Generated Funds (IGF). Domestic sources covered 93% of the 2023 budget allocation, with 80% coming from the government, the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) and the GETF und, compared to 83% in 2022. The ABFA is part of petroleum revenue that can augment the government’s annual budget on specific infrastructure and public goods and services, while the IGF is derived from internal fees, fines, investment and other money paid to the government by its citizens. The proportion of IGF has remained roughly constant at 14% and 13% for 2022 and 2023, respectively, while the share of development partner funding has more than doubled from 3% to 7% in the same period.


In 2019 a UN University study assessing indicators that measured access, quality and the state of inclusive education gave Ghana a score of 76.6, lower than the benchmark score of 90.6. Contributing factors included gender disparities at the secondary and tertiary levels, with a parity of 0.67 in favour of males. In addition, Ghana’s teacher-pupil ratio was 1:30, according to a 2022 report from UNICEF, far higher than the average ratio of 1:13 in higher-performing countries.

Teacher training and allocation remains an issue. As of November 2022 approximately 31% of primary teachers are certified in early childhood education, and around 51% of primary school teachers have received training, compared to 66% of teachers at the JHS level. Disparities in teacher distribution also persist, particularly in rural areas. According to Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, in 2021 around 90% of urban areas had access to basic education facilities at the pre-primary, primary and junior high level. In rural areas, this figure was 29%, 64% and 40%, respectively.

In terms of infrastructure, several schools, particularly in rural areas, do not have sufficient water and sanitation facilities. There is also a need for greater investment in school infrastructure due to the lack of classrooms for the growing population and increased enrolment at all education levels.

Private Education

In 2020, 49% of basic schools and 30% of secondary schools in Ghana were private. Many high-income families favour private schools, expecting higher-quality education. The proportion of students enroled in private schools has climbed in recent years, rising from 27% in 2019 to 30% in 2020 at the primary level and 15% to 19% at the tertiary level.

Low-fee private schools, including for-profit, philanthropic and faith-based institutions serve low-income areas, providing an alternative for parents seeking quality education. However, the poorest families in Ghana still struggle to afford these options. Higher fees needed to invest in these schools become a barrier for lower-income parents, resulting in inadequate infrastructure and an inability to upgrade these institutions.

International schools are concentrated in Accra and other major cities. As of June 2023 Ghana had 12 International Baccalaureate schools that offered one or more of four IB programmes.

Universities & Higher Education

As of May 2023 there were 97 accredited private universities and 122 accredited public universities in Ghana. The net enrolment rate at the tertiary level rose from 16.2% in 2019 to 19% in 2020. There were 264,994 students registered at public universities, 64,870 at private institutions, 50,386 at polytechnics and 46,825 at public colleges as of 2019. Post-graduate enrolment stood at 24,564 students at public universities and 3064 at private institutions during the same period. In 2020, 18,200 Ghanaian tertiary students, or around 8%, were studying abroad. In 2020, 5304 out of 5718 foreign students were from other African countries, studying at Ghanaian tertiary institutions.

In 2020 business and law led in tertiary graduation rates at 32%, followed by education at 26%, and arts and humanities at 12%. The percentage of graduates from STEM tracks that year was 7% in engineering, and 5% in science and mathematics. The number of digital jobs in Ghana alone is expected to reach 9m by 2030, according to a 2019 report by the International Finance Corporation. Consequently, the current number of university graduates with STEM capabilities will likely fall short of meeting the demands of the job market.

The expansion of tertiary institutions and enrolment presents an opportunity for international investors to aid in the development of areas facing high demand but limited capacity. This assistance could potentially be reinforced by government policies aimed at promoting gender equality in admissions to public universities.

Professional & Vocational Training

The CTVET worked with several state and educational institutions to produce the inaugural “TVET Report 2021” in September of that year to provide insight into the education sector and underscore the demand for a skilled workforce across different sectors of the economy.

In November 2022 the government launched the second iteration of an Agenda for Jobs programme, aiming to transform the country through a series of economic, social and governance policies and initiatives. In the same period, the government initiated construction on 32 TVET centres across the country to be completed in 24 months. Additionally, the government announced plans to build two technical institutes, seven technical colleges, and establish nine TVET in 2023, with another 12 in the works in the following years.

TVET in Ghana is delivered in both formal and informal streams. Formal TVET is typically studied in training institutions, while informal training is provided through apprenticeships and other types of informal sector skills development programmes. In 2020 the government passed the Education Regulatory Bodies Act, which established the CTVET to regulate, promote and administer TVET in Ghana. This legislation has helped to standardise national policies and coordinate efforts in a sector of education that had been previously fragmented across different ministries and public agencies.

The commission announced in February 2023 that it will oversee the implementation of the second phase of the Strategic Plan for TVET Transformation (2023-27). This phase will emphasise TVET digitalisation, graduate licensing and the establishment of the Ghana Skills Development Fund. Launched in July 2023, this fund is a collaboration between the CTVET, the government of Ghana and development partners aimed at supporting skills development. In 2021, 25% of 575 pre-tertiary TVET institutions were accredited by the CTVET. During the 2019/20 academic school year, 52,765 students were enroled in TVET, of which 39.4% were female. Between 2017 and 2021, 18,048 informal sector students graduated as master crafts persons and apprentices, with 73% being female.


In Ghana, education technology (edtech) is being developed to improve learning outcomes and support improvements in teaching. While many formal educational institutions in urban areas have successfully included ICT in their curricula and ensured access for students, implementation in rural regions has proven more challenging.

These limitations include gaps in teacher knowledge and skills in ICT, inadequate technological infrastructure, a lack of access to computers and other digital technologies due to high costs, poor internet connections and unreliable power supplies. However, edtech entrepreneurs are offering solutions that aim to align with learner needs and the learning context of the country. One such initiative is Making Ghanaian Girls Great! which uses solar-powered and satellite-enabled distance learning infrastructure to deliver interactive learning sessions. The project has impacted over 36,000 pupils between 2020 and 2023.

Additionally, the objective of implementing the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers is to equip educators with the necessary skills and knowledge to incorporate technology into educational practices. The framework was launched in June 2023 as the result of a collaboration between the MoE, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the National Teaching Council, the Centre for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling, and the GES with input from teacher representatives and guidance by UNESCO technical experts. The model offers a structured roadmap for teachers to enhance their ICT proficiency, which is expected to facilitate increased ICT adoption and engagement by students on a national scale.


The country’s commitment to education is reflected in rising enrolment rates across all levels, alongside greater access to technology in schools, as well as a broader array of educational options, including TVET. With a series of reforms already introduced in the sector, the government is working to deliver on its promise to allocate at least 23% of the state budget to education through to 2025. To effectively address the challenges inherent in implementing these educational reforms, it will be important for the government to emphasise areas such as teacher training, gender and income disparity in education, and lack of access to education in rural areas to ensure it achieves its goals.