Happy 64th Independence Day Ghana!
In the spirit of Independence day and all things History, let’s find out three historical facts about education in Ghana.
FACT #1: Did you know that before the European settlers arrived in the Gold Coast education among Gold Coasters was very much informal?
The ‘first school’ for every child was the home. Then when he/she was of a certain age they were moved into apprenticeship. Knowledge was passed down orally from a master of the craft to an apprentice or learner. For example, among the Gas, it was common for a father to choose what trade his son should be taught. Then the father would find a person engaged in this trade, they would agree on rules and the day his son would begin working. This form of informal education happened in various trades like fishing, farming and smith’s work. Later, in the 1850s with increased presence of European factories across the West African region many more apprentices opted to be carpenters, coopers, bricklayers, masons, washermen and stone plasterers.
FACT #2: Did you know the first formal Ghanaian elementary school in Ghana was the Philip Quaque School in Cape Coast?
Philip Quaque, was a native of the Gold Coast, who received his education in England from just when he was 13 years old. He was also the first African to be ordained as a clergyman by the Church of England. He returned to the Gold Coast after graduation and started his own school, in 1765, in his house in Cape Coast initially to train ‘mulatto’ children of both sexes. Later the school began to take children of African descent and much later became a boys’ school.
During the post-independence era, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s government initiated the 1961 Act, (Act 87) that made Education compulsory and free for every child at the school-going age of 6 years. Parents were not to pay for any costs except for required books or stationary. Under this system, students went to primary school for six years, then spent four years in secondary school and then a two-year sixth form course. They would top that off with a 3-year university education or a two-year pre-vocational class!
What historical facts do you know too? Share with us in the comments!