Educational Policies on Access and Reduction of Poverty: The Case of Ghana

By Dzidza, Peter Mawunyo; Jackson, Ian et al. | International Journal on World Peace, June 2018 | Go to article overview

Educational Policies on Access and Reduction of Poverty: The Case of Ghana


Dzidza, Peter Mawunyo, Jackson, Ian, Normanyo, Ametefee Korbla, Walsh, Michael, Ikejiaku, Brian-Vincent, International Journal on World Peace


INTRODUCTION

The end of the Trio-Crisis in Africa, Colonialism (1960s), Cold War (1998) and Apartheid (1994), whose combined effects were perceived by many African countries to have denied them from achieving their desired political and socio-economic growth (Ikejiaku, 2009), culminated in inequality and poverty on the continent. This led to low income, illiteracy, disease, and extreme poverty that diminished any rational expectations of sustainable development and economic prosperity at the start of the new Millennium. The innumerable and insurmountable effects of these crises have left Africa extremely poor compared to other continents.

While poverty is a global phenomenon, it is now Africa's middle name. With about 1.3 billion extremely poor people in the world, about 280 million resided in Africa in 2009 (UN, 2009). This increased to 330 million in 2012 (World Bank, 2016). Out of Sub-Sahara Africa's (SSA) 719 million population, approximately 50 percent live in extreme poverty when measured by less than one U.S. dollar per day (World Bank, 2005). The term poverty evolves but it is often defined in relation to income, lack of material or want and capability deprivation poverty (UNDP, 2006; Chambers 2006:3-4; Ikejiaku, 2009).

The United Nations (UN) indicated that the most effective remedy for extreme poverty is universal primary education and have listed it as Millennial Development Goal (MDG) 2, which should be used to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015 (UNDP, 2005). Unfortunately, two years after the expiration of the MDGs targeted year of 2015, extreme poverty and hunger still remain and constitute a formidable challenge to various countries in Africa. Out of the US$72 billion debt reduction package approved for the 36 countries classified as Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) in the world, 32 of them are in Africa (Misam, 2011; IMF, 2011). The severity of poverty in Africa has resulted in poor infrastructure development, famine, epidemics, and military intervention in government. These developments make Africa the first home of humanity but the last to be free from poverty, inequality, hunger and disease.

Ghana, a SSA country, is poor despite its rich natural resources endowment of gold, diamond, manganese and a large deposit of hydrocarbon. Currently, the nation serves as a model in democratic governance in Africa with well over twenty-four years of consistent practice of democracy.

Despite the wealth bequeathed to Ghanaians and its democratic credentials, Ghana's buoyant economy after independence was burst in 1983 with the debt stock of US$824,502,000 and 123 percent inflation (IndexMundi, 2017; and Sowa and Kwakaye, 1993, 3). Ghana's poor economic performance during these post-colonial periods was the result of the political instabilities that resulted in five military governments from 1966 to 1981 because of a poor salary structure (Addae-Mensah, et al., 1973). This led to a mass exodus of trained and experienced teachers in Ghana and and skilled and unskilled portions of the work force to Europe, the United States, and Nigeria. The majority ended up in Nigeria to take advantage of the emergent petro-chemical industry. The 1979-1980 global recessions and the 1982-1983 droughts in Sub-Saharan Africa, which led to the spread of wild bushfires, worsened the plight of Ghanaians. The deportation of 1.5 million undocumented Ghanaian nationals back to their country of origin by Shehu Shagari's government of Nigeria in 1983 aggravated the domestic situation in Ghana (Aremu, 2013). This prompted the Ghanaian government to institute minimum price legislation policy, which caused the hoarding of essential commodities, profiteering, and black marketing among the business communities.

To liberate the masses from the clutches of poverty, the military government dispatched the members of its economic management team to socialist allies abroad such as China, Cuba and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) to solicit economic assistance. …

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