Implementation of initiatives to reform the quality of education in rural Ghanaian junior high schools

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Inkoom, Agatha
Africa; school curriculum; school administration; teacher training; leadership; Junior high schools; Education and state; Educational change; Ghana; Education; Educational Leadership
thesis / dissertation description
Despite Ghana's record investment in education, in 2008, only 40% of students passed the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) at the end of junior high school and gained admission into senior high school. Urban schools continue to outperform rural schools and the gap between Ghana‟s best and worst performing schools continues to widen. This study investigated the effectiveness of education policy implementation and how this has impacted on education reform in one rural district of Ghana‟s Upper West Region. The research investigated the status of education in Junior High Schools, the impact of Reform 2007 and the factors that influenced the implementation of the reform initiatives. Following analysis of Ministry of Education policy documents, a questionnaire elicited detailed background information from head teachers about junior high schools and the impact of the reform on their schools. Interviews and focus group discussions with key stakeholders were used to assess the extent of coherence in purpose, policy and program implementation at district, regional and national levels. It is evident from research data that the low academic standards and low pass rate at BECE is the result of inexperienced head teachers, the lack of qualified teachers, low teacher professionalism, low community support for education and inadequate resources. Reform 2007 refocused attention on curriculum, teacher education and supervision initiatives. However, the hierarchical structure and values of Ghana Education Service, poor communication especially at District level, lack of professional learning opportunities to interpret the policies, inadequate human and material resources to implement programs were factors that limited the implementation of the reform initiatives. The current study has added to existing knowledge on implementing education policy to support reform initiatives. This study addresses the gap in the literature on the implementation of education policy through programs and its impact on performance in JHSs in a rural district of Ghana. Recommendations have been developed for reform of program implementation that will lead to enhanced educational outcomes for JHSs.