- Education, Poverty, and Pro Poor Policy
How equitable and sustainable is secondary school fee abolition in sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence from Ghana, University of Cambridge (February 2021- present)
Many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have made progress towards increasing enrolment in primary education. Most of these governments see secondary education as the next frontier. Fee abolition is an increasingly popular policy to improve access to secondary schooling, and Ghana is one of the pioneers in this regard. The Government of Ghana abolished all fees for Senior High School (SHS) as of the 2017-18 school year, in line with the ruling party’s campaign promise. This major policy initiative provides a unique opportunity to study the impact and implementation of secondary school fee abolition in real-time and draw lessons for policymakers in Ghana and other countries that are considering the abolition of secondary school fees. This research will conduct a rigorous, mixed-method evaluation of Ghana’s Free SHS Policy, focussing on equitable access, maintaining quality, and sustainable implementation.
Energy Efficiency Pre-Tertiary School Curriculum Updates - Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) (2018 – 2021).
Associates for Change (AfC), in association with Development Environergy Services Limited (DESL) of India managed a two-and-a-half-year project for the Millennium Development Authority. The project sought to integrate energy efficiency and conservation into the pre-tertiary curriculum of Ghanaian schools. This involves a KAP survey and a needs assessment across intervention and non-intervention schools, which will guide the development of a curriculum, intended to integrate energy efficiency and conservation into selected school subjects. Refer to Complementary Basic Education and Outcome to Education (RECOUP)
Research on Trained and Untrained teachers in Northern Ghana: What Value Addition does Volunteerism bring in terms of Systemic Change to Education Quality particularly in relation to Volunteer Teachers and Support Agents under the Tackling Education Needs Inclusively (TENI/VSO) Project (2013):
Associates for Change was contracted by Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) to conduct a one year research programme across the three northern regions of Ghana under the Tackling Educational Needs Inclusively (TENI) Project dubbed “The Second Learning Question”. The study focused more on the impact voluntarism in the teaching field is making across the school and district levels in northern Ghana and further assessed the value addition volunteerism brings in terms of systemic change to education quality particularly in relation to volunteer teachers and support agents”. The study also looked at how effective the services of volunteers have been (international, national and local community volunteers) in improving quality education and inclusive practices at basic public school level in Ghana (compared to trained permanent teachers, community based and external volunteers). Findings from the study showed that the key motivation for volunteers to join the teaching profession was the desire to help educate their siblings because of the trained teacher shortage in local community schools and the potential of volunteering as preparation to enter teaching as a career. The study also found that the greatest additional value volunteer teachers were making in the primary schools in northern Ghana was their ability to provide a regular and dependable body of teachers to prevent schools from being closed down owing to the absence of other teachers. The research recommends a professional development and training plan for “untrained teachers” who are serving in public basic schools across the country, including “untrained teachers” such as NYEP teachers, NSS and CSVs so as to improve their instructional training in literacy, numeracy and child-friendly approaches to instruction.
Executive Summary, Policy Brief ,Full Report ,Synthesis
Research on The Quality and Inclusivity of Basic Education across Ghana's three northern regions: a look at change, learning effectiveness and efficiency under the Tackling Education Needs Inclusively (TENI/VSO) Project (2012 -2013):
Associates for Change has completed a one year research programme across the three northern regions of Ghana which explored the promoting and inhibiting factors to quality education. The study focused on teacher preparedness, classroom methods, language of instruction, and learning context in 54 schools and 86 classrooms across the three northern regions. The study also explored the child readiness and community demand factors which shape and influence the quality of education in Ghana and the key drivers of change that promote or inhibit the achievement of inclusive education, with emphasis on the education needs of girls and children with disability. Classroom observations were conducted in over 86 schools in which a well-tested instrument was used by researchers and developed to assess the levels of competency of the teacher across a range of criteria. The study found that despite significant resources being placed into the public education system by central government and donor agencies in order to improve direct teaching and learning processes, instructional practice, and increase access to relevant materials and teaching learning aids, these were not always adopted or sustained in schools which were poorly managed (e.g. NALAP, EQUALL, etc). The research recommends that behaviour and attitudinal change processes should be investigated: teacher location to the communities they serve, the affiliation they have with the children and people they serve, the influence that professional development (pre and in-service training) has on their commitment levels, their professional status as teachers and the influences that school leadership and the culture of teaching has on the change in their behaviour.
Documentation of Parliament's Work to Promote Access to Quality Basic Education for All Children, Particularly Girls and Children from Excluded Social Groups. STAR Ghana Parliamentary Legacy Document for the Education Committee. (June to July, 2012):
The purpose of the Fifth Parliament Education Select Committee Legacy Document was to record the Education Select Committees’ achievements, completed work, challenges and recommendations in relation to improving access to quality basic education, particularly for girls and children from excluded social groups. This legacy document records several of their key achievements over the last four years and also highlights some of the major gaps in relation to basic education for the most marginalised in the education sector. The document serves as a hand over report from members of the outgoing Parliamentary Select Committee on Education and is a key resource for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other stakeholders working in the sector seeking to increase their engagement with Parliament. The legacy document was also designed as a tool to help document the action taken and key policies developed as part of the institution building process of parliament and as a vital part of strengthening their role as a key oversight institution in Ghana and as a representative body for constituency groups and CSOs.
The USAID Education Sector Coordination Strategy Retreat:
The Ministry of Education and USAID sponsored Education Partner Retreat at Akosombo, Ghana (April 6 and 7th, 2010) was designed and facilitated by AfC staff and consultants. The retreat was to openly consult on key areas to improve aid effectiveness within the education sector and looked specifically at the sectors’: coordination, ownership, alignment, harmonization, managing results and mutual accountability. The retreat’s objective was to take key steps to improve vertical and horizontal coordination within Ghana’s education sector, across various ministries and departments outside of education and among DPs working at national and decentralized levels. The programme was also designed to formulate and agree on a set of working principles to achieve better coordination, ownership and alignment within the education sector. The retreat enabled development partners to review the key strengths and weaknesses related to better coordination and harmonization. A process tool to identify donor and civil society comparative advantage was used to assess development partner work and involved a feedback mechanism. Consultation was held on prioritization across the basic and post basic educational levels using the Education Strategic Plan (ESP) and Annual Education Operational Plan (AESOP). Discussions were held on ways to strengthen monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems and capacity building processes within the education sector focused on results and performance. The retreat report outlines the key findings from this strategic planning exercise.
Assessment of the Implementation of the National Accelerated Literacy Programme (NALAP) (2010):
AfC in collaboration with USAID’s EQUALL programme conducted an assessment of the National Accelerated Literacy Programme (NALAP) which was a collaborative programme between the Ministry of Education and USAID. The study primarily investigated the effectiveness of NALAP in relation to: its relevance, accuracy, and coverage of the materials; the appropriateness, applicability and coverage of the training for both education managers and teachers; and the impact of the NALAP public advocacy campaign. The NALAP implementation study took a critical look at the NALAP design, development, implementation and support to assess what was working, what gaps existed, and what strategies might be best employed to address the gaps, both in the long and short term. The study was conducted across 11 language groupings, in two phases and involved over 32 researchers. AfC used survey instruments and conducted in-depth interviews with the district directors, teachers and community members in 13 districts across the seven regions of Ghana implementing NALAP.
The Status of French Language Teaching and Learning across Ghana's Public Education System. (2010):
AfC conducted a study of French language education in Ghana which explores its scale and spread. The study also identified the factors that promote or impede the teaching of French at all levels of education from primary to tertiary levels. The study also assessed the overall effectiveness of the French language promotion policy and French language teacher education provision in Ghana. The study employed a mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches, using secondary data from the Ministry of Education, enrolment data from the Education Management Information System (EMIS) and West African Examination Council (WAEC) as well as quantitative data collected through questionnaires by the Regional French Education Centres (CREFs) and in-depth focal group discussions with key stakeholders including French teachers, students, teacher trainers and the Directors of Education at regional and district levels. The Northern and Ashanti Regions were selected for field work along with the pilot study which was conducted in the Greater Accra Region.
A Social Appraisal of the Education Strategic Plan for Ghana by Dr. Leslie Casely-Hayford, unpublished, November 2004. Associates for Change Working Document #1
Despite positive efforts within Ghana’s educational sector over the last five to ten years, educational trends remain modest, particularly when considering the net enrolment rates across the country. Through statistical and situational analysis of the socio-economic and socio-cultural context as well as an in depth discussion of the ongoing gender disparities within the system, this paper elucidates a number of factors that continue to pose challenges to participation in and provision of quality education across Ghana . It is argued that in order for the poor and marginalized to increasingly get a fair share of the national educational budget, the Ghana Government’s Education Strategic Plan will need to sustain and increase efforts at resource targeting particularly at the district level.
Reaching Underserved Populations with Basic Education in Deprived Areas of Ghana : Emerging Good Practices. CARE International Ghana ; Research Team: Leslie Casely-Hayford et al. (funded by USAID/Ghana) January 2003
Ghana ‘s efforts to attain Education for All in the coming five to ten years will largely depend on her commitment to support educational services for 50% of the children currently out of school in northern Ghana (mainly girls). Extensive research in a variety of countries has revealed that formalized systems, which work on fixed timetables, a loaded curriculum, and depend mostly on trained teachers, are often not performing in rural environments with respect to providing basic literacy, numeracy and other skills/competencies that are relevant to the local environment.
Reaching Educational Quality Goals in Sub Saharan Africa : A look at Complementary Education Systems by Dr. Leslie Casely-Hayford. Presented to the Oxford International Conference on Education and Development, "The State of Education : Quantity, Quality and Outcomes" at Oxford , United Kingdom , 9-11 September 2003.
Over a decade after the Education for All Conference (EFA) in Jomtien and now, reaching the mid term point since the 2000 EFA Conference in Senegal, Governments in sub Saharan Africa are far from achieving the goals set, despite higher investments of GNP and increases in donor assistance to the Education Sector. This paper explores issues of context, poverty and cultural practices, which continue to limit the attainment of global goals for universal basic education, particularly in Africa . The paper also considers complementary educational approaches, which have improved basic literacy, access and quality standards in deprived areas in India , Bangladesh , Mali , and Ghana . The study highlights approaches for reaching “under-served children” in rural deprived areas and argues for support of complementary education systems in order to close the widening access and quality gap between rural Africa and the rest of the world.
Conference Paper Oxford 2003
Education Sector Review (ESR): Final Team Synthesis Report. ESR Team: Professor Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh, Dr Leslie Casely-Hayford, Professor Djangmah and Dr Nti. Submitted to the Ministry of Education, Accra , Ghana , October 2002.
This report presents the findings and outcomes of the Education Sector Review (ESR), an analysis of the state of education in Ghana commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Donor Community. The ESR was aimed at assisting the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ghana Educational Services (GES) design a comprehensive programme for improving the education system based on an up to date analysis of the sector. The ESR set out to assess the performance of Ghana ‘s education delivery system in the context of changes in the sector since the 1987 educational reforms, the FCUBE implementation, the Education for All initiatives (EFA), and the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS). The findings of the ESR assist the education sector to identify key challenges and present recommendations to enable the Ministry of Education and its development partners to plan towards a sector wide approach.
The report reviews the thematic areas investigated as part of the overall study including: a) Educational Outcomes and Linkages b) Management, c) Finance, d) Community/School Relations, e) General Education, Gender and the Disadvantaged.
Education Sector Review: Consultancy Area Report on General Education, Gender and the Disadvantaged by Dr. Leslie Casely-Hayford. Education Sector Review Team Member. Submitted to the Ministry of Education, Accra , Ghana , October 2002.
This Consultancy Area Report presents seven major themes, which were examined as part of the 2002 Education Sector Review (ESR) in Ghana . These include poverty and educational attainment, gender, early child hood education, special needs education, school health, HIV/AIDS and child rights. The report reviews the issues of inequality from a regional, gender and socio-economic perspective. It also examines the programme needs, challenges and key recommendations for addressing cross cutting issues such as special needs education, health, HIV/AIDS and child rights. The findings are based on interviews, stakeholder meetings and a documentation review within the various sub sectors. The report reveals that improving equity is inseparable from improving quality of education in Ghana . A much stronger pro poor emphasis is needed in directing resources within the Education sector towards deprived areas, girl’s education, special needs and early childhood education.
The first section examines the issues related to poverty and the disadvantaged; the second section considers key gender issues in education while the third section examines early childhood education, school health and HIV/AIDS while the final section contains an analysis of child rights and protection within the education sector in Ghana .
Leslie Area report gender.
Area report gender
A Situational Analysis of Early Childhood Education in Ghana By Dr. Leslie Casely-Hayford, prepared for the Ministry of Education as part of the Education Sector Review, Ghana , August 2002.
The educational needs of young children are by far one of the Government of Ghana’s most pressing challenges, particularly within a context of high rates of poverty, infant and child mortality and female illiteracy. This situational analysis provides an up-to-date review of the Early Childhood Education sub sector, highlighting the most urgent challenges facing policymakers and practitioners in enhancing the learning paths of children, particularly those between the ages of 4-6 years within a formal education context. Analysis is based on a literature review covering international and national studies on early childhood education, fieldwork and interviews with key stakeholders involved in the sub-sector. The paper attempts to focus on early childhood development and learning and considers the need for a holistic and multi-sectoral approach to programming.
(a ) The Social Impact of Poverty on Educational Attainment: A National Perspective Part I by Dr. Leslie Casely Hayford; Published in the Social Policy Journal of the Centre for Social Policy Studies Vol 2. No. 2 Faculty of Social Studies, University of Ghana , Legon July, 2002.
This two-part paper develops a framework for exploring the issues of child poverty and education for policy interventions as Ghana and its partners strive toward equitable educational development. The first paper begins with discussion of the definitions, indicators and impact of poverty on the educational attainment by highlighting the regional, gendered and socio-economic inequalities throughout the country; the paper demonstrates that high levels of student underachievement, dropout and low levels of educational performance are linked to high levels of poverty across the country, and that closing the enrolment and gender gap within these areas will require special intervention strategies which take account of the context. It recommends that improving educational quality is a key step towards transforming human resources and reducing poverty within deprived rural areas of Ghana and suggests that alternative/complementary educational approaches be incorporated alongside the formal education system in areas of endemic poverty.
(b) The Social Impact of Poverty on Educational Attainment: Lessons from the North, Part II by Dr. Leslie Casely-Hayford prepared for the 5 th International Conference on "Children and Poverty: the Impact of Economic, Social and Political Choices" May 23-25, Montreal Canada , 2002.
This article explores the social dimensions of child poverty and educational attainment based on fieldwork conducted in Northern Ghana between 1996 and 2000. It probes deeper into the community, family and child perspectives concerning education, revealing a consistent pattern of poor educational quality, underdevelopment and intergenerational poverty in rural communities across the savannah regions of Ghana . The paper explores some of the approaches parents from resource-deprived areas of Ghana use to make educational investment decisions, the reasons why poor quality education persists and the lower educational achievement levels among rural children compared to their urban counterparts. The research employs an in-depth case study approach to investigate the challenges facing children from deprived rural communities in order to inform policy and the educational change processes. The research presents the challenges of ensuring formal education acts as a vehicle for human development in areas where there are high levels of poverty.
Pamphlet Abridged Version Final Report
Education for All in Ghana : A Cultural Inquiry By Dr Leslie Casely-Hayford. Presented at the British Education Research Association Conference at the University of Sussex , United Kingdom , September 1999
This paper explores the current status of EFA in Ghana, first on a macroscopic level through analysis of the progress made towards three specific EFA objectives, secondly through an in-depth ethnographic case study in the northern region of Ghana, and thirdly, through discussion of the implications of these findings on policy making and external agency programming in Ghana. The paper argues a deeper understanding of the process of cultural change through ethnographic approaches to research are needed in order to address the complex issues of educational performance and school effectiveness in rural Ghana taking into consideration the perspectives of poor rural stakeholders. The basic learning needs of young children and their opportunity for educational participation is shaped by culture, context and community values. These elements should be fully integrated and strongly considered for any Education for All (EFA) strategy to succeed in meeting the basic learning needs for all children. Ethnographic research is therefore be essential in order to illuminate the child, family and community perspectives of the socio-cultural barriers and possibilities faced in meeting the goals of EFA.