Ghana is located in West Africa and is surrounded by Cote d’Ivoire to the west, Burkino Faso to the north, and Togo to the East. The capitol of Ghana is Accra, and the entire country is slightly smaller than the state of Oregon. The official language is English, although there are over 50 ethnic groups, each with their own customs and language.
Due to the incredible hospitality and love of peace, Ghana has a claim to be the safest and friendliest country in Africa. Ghanaians are respectful of each other, strong followers of tradition and have deep family and communal values.
Senase is a small rural farming village in Ghana, West Africa. It is a ten hour drive from the port city of Tema, Accra. Senase’s population is 11,000, with approximately 5,000 of those being children. The average income for a family is 300-400 cedis, or about $120.00 USD per year. Most of the people who live in Senase are subsistence farmers and go to farm each day just to feed their families. The literacy rate is 30-35%, meaning that 65%-70% of the people cannot read or write. Only 15 to 20 children from Senase enter higher institutions each year.
Ghana’s Education System
Unequal access to quality education between the rural areas and urban centers has left the children in rural villages powerless and without hope. The advantage of the city education far outweighs those of the rural poor.
Just a few of the challenges children in rural areas face are long walks to school, (often two hours or more), teachers who don’t show up, class sizes of 100 or more, and no access to basic school materials or technology.
Even though Ghana’s constitution states equal access to education, it is not reality. With all of the disadvantages the rural pupils face, they still must sit for the same exams with the urban student who is already miles ahead.
At the end of Junior Secondary School (9th grade), all students in Ghana must sit for the Basic Education Certificate which covers English Language, Ghanaian Language and Culture, Social Studies, Science, Math, Basic Design and Technology, Information Communication Technology and Religious and Moral Education.
Those students who pass this exam can proceed to High School. Those who don’t are finished with their education at 15 years of age.
What Options Exist When Education Ends?
Those children in rural villages in Ghana, who for whatever reason cannot continue with their education, have very few options. Many will choose to stay in their villages and go to farm with their families. Others will choose to make their way to the city to find work where they are most often met with a horrible existence of living on the streets, (often by the age of 10 years old). These children end up working long hard days for pennies, for people who often mistreat them, and in the case of the young girls end up pregnant with more mouths to feed. Either way, the cycle of poverty continues for these young people.
There is HOPE!
On the bright side, there is hope for those who can get a quality education! Every time this happens, it affects not only the child, but their family and community as well. That is why it is so crucial to get these young children the right start from the beginning that will guide them to success and a future that is rich with possibility. This is how the cycle of poverty will end.