Ghana Education Partnership
The Big Win:
With 40% of Ghana’s population under 15 years old, investment in education and skills training is essential for equipping the next generation for the world of work and setting the foundations for sustainable economic development. But, despite successive governments’ investments in education, as well as attaining universal access to primary education, Ghana still battles with low learning outcomes.
The 2013, Ghana’s National Educational Assessment (NEA) found that approximately two-thirds of students who complete primary education were doing so without proficiency in mathematics and English. Recognizing that remedial education and repetition are expensive, Ghana is revising its curriculum, targeting foundational education where the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) proficiency at the end of the second year of primary school (P2) is now 2%. The Minister of Education has set a goal of ensuring that 70% of children at the P2 level are proficient in literacy and numeracy by 2030.
With the potential to reach 600,000 – 1 million students entering the education system each year, the effort is poised to radically change the prospects of children in Ghana, and of the country as a whole. The impact of improved cognitive skills on economic growth is significant. Countries with higher average scores on cognitive tests have experienced on average a full 1% higher growth rate annually1.
The Ghana – Big Win PartnershipUnder the leadership of Minister Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Ghana has developed a visionary plan to overhaul its education system and launch a modern curriculum that prepares students to succeed in a rapidly changing workforce.
As laid out in the Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2018-2030, the government of Ghana is driving education reform in recognition of its positive impact on cross-sector national development and economic prosperity.
Big Win has supported Minister Prempeh and the government of Ghana with the implementation of a new curriculum that is relevant, efficient, effective and sustainable. The goal is to make the education experience more dynamic—in delivery, child learning, and constant proactive interventions—to ensure all children master literacy and numeracy.
Big Win's SupportBig Win is supporting the Minister and four agencies within the Ministry—with oversight on teachers, school management and administration, curriculum and school inspections—to coalesce around one discrete critical set of factors that undergird the ultimate success of the curriculum reform effort. These will be monitored on a regular basis, ensuring that each division can quickly develop interventions if delivery goes off track. Big Win is also supporting the Ministry to deliver a significant mindset shift in behaviors, culture, and practices within the education sector, establishing a system that promotes quality service provision.
The Big Win investment will help the Ministry catalyze the broader investments received from its education development partners and position the Ministry to effectively drive learning outcomes. Specific activities have included establishing a baseline for the rollout of the new curriculum in schools, institutionalizing an integrated monitoring system to track performance, developing a dashboard to manage and visualize data to guide program improvement, in schools, and deploying a comprehensive strategic communications plan that supports the change management process informed by the education reforms.
Baseline study: Big Win worked with the government to complete a baseline survey at the beginning of the curriculum’s implementation, with four key objectives:
- Establish literacy and numeracy baselines at the outset of implementing the new curriculum.
- Assess the fidelity of adopting and integrating the new curriculum in schools and gather data to inform additional support and remediation.
- Gather comparator data to enable future tracking of progress and impact of the new curriculum.
- Establish key indicators that will be used for routine tracking and monitoring to determine the efficacy of the new curriculum.
The results are enabling the Ministry of Education to identify potential challenges in successfully implementing the reforms and allocate resources efficiently and effectively.
Program management and coordination: Big Win has worked closely with key agencies and departments across the Ministry of Education to encourage effective collaboration, ensure progress is monitored, and create the infrastructure to allow stakeholders to act when problems arise.
Big Win is supporting the government to develop management tools including a dashboard to robustly monitor and track outcomes and to ensure that teaching and learning processes are continuously improved. With collaboration at the heart of the process, Big Win is helping to ensure that the curriculum reform is implemented in a coherent, consistent, and aligned manner.
Communications: Big Win supported the engagement of a strategic communications expert to carry out a two-day workshop for communications staff across several agencies responsible for implementing the curriculum reform. During the workshop, the staff were supported to develop a message framework and core narrative for the curriculum reform, ensuring that they could effectively communicate its value to a range of key stakeholders. Big Win is also supporting the government’s work with a Ghanaian communications and branding firm, which is assisting the Ministry in effectively branding and generating widespread support for the reforms.
Leadership: Minister Prempeh took part in the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program early in his tenure, and he has credited the program for setting him on the right trajectory to deliver on his education priorities. Since his time at Harvard, he has emerged as one of Ghana’s most successful ministers, most notably delivering within one year the President’s promise of free Secondary education for all.
Hanushek, Eric et al. “Education and economic growth: It’s not just going to school, but learning something while there that matters,” Education Next, March 2008.