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Title: Education poverty and culture in Ghana, 1991-2010
Author: Rolleston, Caine
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2011
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Ghana has seen notable poverty reduction alongside improvements in school participation since 1991. This thesis explores the patterns among descriptive indicators and uses regression analysis to examine possible causal relationships with special reference to the role of education in determining welfare and its reciprocal, the role of welfare and other aspects of economic privilege in the determination of school attendance and progression. The study follows a mixed-methods design, following quantitative analysis at the national level with a mixed methods sub-study in a deprived district of Ghana. The primary quantitative study begins by reviewing the literature on modelling of the household consumption function as well as on modelling schooling decisions based on the household production function and considers these relationships in terms of a system of co-determining factors at individual, household and contextual levels. Attention is then given to important methodological issues related to the modelling approach. Two groups of models are estimated using data from the Ghana Living Standards Surveys and findings are presented. The results suggest that education levels play an important role in determining household welfare and that, for higher levels of education; these effects are considerably larger and possibly increasing over time. Educational expansion has, however, meant that access to the benefits from these effects has widened somewhat, although primarily at lower levels of access. Demographic change has also played an important role in welfare improvements. In terms of absolute numbers, access to schooling in Ghana has expanded dramatically although rates of completion and of drop-out have not improved and there appears to be a worsening of age-appropriate completion rates. Nonetheless, the first half of the period since 1991 saw substantial increases in rates of school attendance at the basic education level. This growth appears to have been driven by narrowing regional differentials, increasing welfare, urbanisation, improving gender equity, smaller and less dependent households and a reduction in the number of children involved in child labour. It is in relation to progression towards higher levels of education that more significant inequity emerges and in 2006 completion of lower secondary education in Ghana remained the preserve of children in areas and households of relative economic privilege. To explore issues of access in more detail and in context, an interview-based study was conducted in Savelugu-Nanton District, following quantitative analysis using regional and district-level data. Exploratory interviews with education professionals identified childfosterage and migration by youths into kayaye (head-porterage) as important inhibitors of access. These are considered in detail through two further sets of interviews with household caregivers and migrant workers, supported by quantitative analysis. Findings show that, fosterage, primarily motivated by cultural traditions of kinship obligation, is related to considerable educational disadvantage which, especially in the case of girls who face the additional pressure to accumulate items required for marriage, in turn is linked to migration South into menial labour. Despite recent policies to eliminate costs of schooling, low incomes in the district mean that schooling remains relatively costly, and household decision-making continues to exclude a notable portion of the child population; among whom many are fostered children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available