Ghana Children and School

By | June 17, 2021

School in Ghana

School attendance is compulsory in Ghana. It is therefore regulated by law that children have to go to school, from six to 16 years of age. But not all children go to school. Why is that?

There are children who don’t go to school because they work. In the country, they work in the fields or help with fishing and thus provide for their families. Your parents may not be able to read or write themselves and may not feel it necessary for their children to learn. In the cities there are also children who live on the streets. They don’t go to school either. They’re trying to make money somehow in order to survive. They sleep in parking lots or in driveways. You can find out more about this under “Children in Ghana”.

Children who go to school attend elementary school for six years. This is followed by secondary school for three years. It’s called Junior Secondary School. After a further three years at the Senior Secondary School, you can obtain authorization to study. The Senior Secondary School, however, costs school fees, the equivalent of around 350 euros per year. Many families cannot afford that.

A school uniform is (mostly) worn in school. Before school starts, all children sing the national anthem together. Classes are either in English or in the language that is predominantly spoken in the region, for example the Akan languages.

Children in Ghana

Not all children in Ghana are doing well. There are many children in the cities who live on the streets. Some estimates say that in the capital Accra alone, 12,000 or even up to 30,000 children and young people live without a home.

The number of children who do not have enough to eat has been falling for years. Nevertheless, there are still children who have too little to eat. There are children who live in orphanages.

Ghana Schools

Child labor

Child labor is a very serious problem. Children from poor families or children in which father or mother or both have died try to earn or contribute to their livelihood. In addition, it is an old tradition in Ghana that children support their parents. Children work on cocoa or palm plantations, in markets, in fishing and in quarries. They stand on the streets to sell bread, apples or chewing gum.

Gold is a valuable mineral resource that can also be found in Ghana and that makes money for the country. Where one Gold has found and now large mines operated by large companies, this large mines occur within then many small mines. One just hopes to find gold there too. But everything is only provisional and therefore dangerous.

Deep shafts are dug into the earth and there the rubble has to be laboriously hewn out of the earth and brought up. Sometimes such shafts collapse. Although it is forbidden, sometimes children work down there too.

Other children work where the gold is then extracted from the rubble. The ore is first crushed and ground up. The stone dust that is created damages the lungs. Then the rubble is washed. Sometimes the children stand in cold water for hours. Or they drag heavy rubble through the area. After washing, the gold is loosened from the rubble with mercury. But mercury is a very toxic heavy metal that can make you sick. The children often just pick up the mercury because they don’t know.

Some children are also sold like slaves. Usually it is the plantation owners who buy children in order to get cheap labor. The law prohibits child labor, but it is done anyway. The children have to work hard, haul heavy loads and handle dangerous things like sharp machetes. Girls are also forced to work as housemaids in wealthy households.

For friends of numbers

84 percent of the children attend primary school, that is 84 out of 100 children. So 16 out of 100 children do not. Only 66 out of 100 children finish primary school. And only half of all children go to school any longer.

20 percent of children between the ages of five and 14 work.

Malnourished newborns: 14 percent.

A kid named Friday

The naming in Ghana is something very special. Traditionally, when a baby is born, it is first named after the day of the week it was born. Girls are then called Adwoa (Monday), Abena (Tuesday), Akua (Wednesday), Yaa (Thursday), Afua or Efia (Friday), Amma (Saturday) or Akousa (Sunday). Boys are called Kwadwo (Monday), Kwabena (Tuesday), Kwaku (Wednesday), Kwao or Yao (Thursday), Kwafi or Kofi (Friday), Kwame or Kwamena (Saturday), Kwasi or Kwesi (Sunday).

According to the position in which the baby is born in the family, it is given another name. The first-born child is called Piesie (for boys and girls), the second-born child is called Maanu as a girl and Manu as a boy. The third-born child is called Mansa (girl) or Mensa (boy), the fourth-born Anane (girl) or Annan (boy). In this way you can differentiate between children in a family who, for example, were both born on a Monday.

Names in Ghana

Maybe you’ve heard the name Kofi Annan before? He is from Ghana and was Secretary General of the United Nations, which is something like its President. With what you know, you can now say on which day of the week he was born and where in the family. By the way, his real name is Kofi Atta Annan. “Atta” is added when you are a twin! Do you know what day of the week you were born? Find out and think about what your name would be in Ghana, a country located in Africa according to!

Incidentally, the weekday name is usually followed by a second name, which sometimes also reflects which religion you belong to. For example, a Christian girl is called Grace. Often the child also has a given name that is not in the birth certificate. That can be pretty confusing! And a surname is also added. Typical surnames in Ghana often end in -ah, for example Asamoah, Amissah, Nkrumah or Yeboah, but Kuffuor is also a typical surname, for example.