Ghana is a country with an incredible distinctive artistic heritage, from culture, music to the visual arts to architecture. Strong education is definitely a key factor in what makes Ghanaian culture so beautiful, relevant, and long-lasting.
The school system in Ghana starts from the Pre-School level (Crèche, Nursery Kindergarten) where students start from as young as 6 months till 5 years. In their 6th year, children enroll to the basic school which is for six years. The basic school system has two divisions i.e. the lower primary school (3 years) and upper primary school (3years). When students enter into the adolescent age, they graduate into the Junior High school which is also 3 years from Junior High 1 to Junior High 3. To complete their first stage in Ghanaian school system, students in Ghana sit for the Compulsory West African Examination Council Test called Basic Examination Certificate Examination (BECE), which their performance qualify them to the various Senior High schools in Ghana. Some of the general subjects at the first educational level include Mathematics, English Language, Science, Vocational skills, Technical Skills, French language, ICT etc.
Ghana has a higher number of senior High school which is made up of the boarding system and day school. At the boarding, students live in school dormitories on campus and attend classes and other school activities under the supervision of teachers whiles with the day school system, students attend classes and leave for their various homes after session ends. The length of study at the secondary level is 3 years and at the end of the period students in Ghana and other four West African countries (Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia) sit for the West African Examination Council’s Senior High school Examination for 2 months period. The courses in the secondary level include General Arts (Geography, History, Economics, Literature, Governments, French, Religious studies, Elective Mathematics), General Science (Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Agric. Science), Business(Business Management, Accounting, Costing), Visual Arts(Graphic design, craft making, Publishing works, painting, sculpture). Every student who enrolls is allowed to major in one field and do the electives courses under it alongside these four major core subjects (English Language, Mathematics, Social Studies, General Science).
Education from the basic level to the secondary level is organized in the formal way in a classroom system, where a teacher leads a class and teach students, student ask and deliberate on class questions, do assignments and other home task, do mid-term and end of term exams and participate in student seminars and conferences both within and outside their campus. It takes approximately 12 years to complete the basic and secondary level of schooling in Ghana.
After the final results are released by the WAEC, students who passed with good grades enroll in programmes in the tertiary level in Ghana. Ghana has 5 main government Universities and other private universities. Also, there are a host of other tertiary institutions including Polytechnics, Nursing and Teacher training schools, professional training schools, Vocational institutions etc. All these schools accept candidates who sit in the exams depending on the students overall performance and grades obtained and the requirements of the school. Since the exams is written by other West African nationals, students from these countries are able to use their results to enroll in tertiary institutions in Ghana with no further difficult requirements of education.
University system in Ghana is practiced equally to the British system of schooling where Bachelor system takes four years and Masters (taught and research) last for a maximum of 3 years and doctoral course takes 3-4 years. Other tertiary educations last for a maximum of 3 years. After tertiary education, all graduate students in Ghana enroll on a volunteer work with monthly allowance called National Service Scheme. It is a compulsory duty for everyone under the Educational pursuit of the country where students are placed into organizations and institution with the sole purpose of serving the country for one year as well as gaining job experience for their future.
In Russia (Higher School of Economics) and Ghana, where I am from, are both highly educated countries, where more than 70% of undergraduate students choose to continue their studies in graduate programs. In Ghana, most students finish their undergraduate and postgraduate studies before entering the workplace. In Russia, roughly 80% of Master’s students work while studying. Students in Russia must write a thesis in order to graduate (bachelor) and often this paper is connected with their future careers whiles in Ghana is optional for some particular schools.
Russia and Ghana have different grading system; Russia uses a five-point scale, with five being the highest and three being a pass. HSE, however, follows a more European system, using the 10-point scale, where 10 is the highest score and four is a passing grade. In Ghana, the system is flexible in terms of grading. Some schools use the Cumulated weighted Average system (CWA, 0-100%) whiles others use the Grade Point Average (GPA 0-4.0).
Unlike Ghana, Russian universities have their academic year divided into two semester, but separated into 2 modules per semester. After enrolling at HSE, less than 7 courses in a semester which makes concentration very good unlike Ghana where students can do up to ten courses per semester. Also, usually class activities in HSE involves presentation for each course where students have to present on some topics given whiles in Ghana the teaching has less presentation but more about the lecturer explaining and students just writing final exams at the end of each semester. In addition, in order to graduate, most schools in Russia have a compulsory system where graduate students must intern at a company or organization, a requirement that does not exist for Ghanaian graduate programs.
The student- teacher relationship in Ghanaian universities is very strict, where meeting, talking or channeling your grievances to lectures are very difficult. Lectures and Professors command a lot of power and authority and is hardly for student interaction to happen unless class schedules. Interestingly, I noticed that Russian graduate students love to have discussions with their professors in classroom, something that is not the case for Ghanaian educational system. In Russia, professors are always ready to hear different opinions, meet and interact, further explain situations which make me look okay and feel that my comments and contributions are valued.