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Comparative History of Education in West Africa
(British) Gold Coast / Ghana and (French) Cote d'Ivoire

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Lee, Yeonhwa
Research Paper, AP European History Class, Fall 2009

Table of Contents

Part One: Colonial education
I. Brief background
II. History
II.1 Colonial education in general
II.2 History of the system and institutions
II.2.1 British Gold Coast
II.2.2 French Ivory Coast
II.2.3 Comparison
III. Analysis
III.1 Colonial policies, the effects, and the origins
III.1.1 British Gold Coast
III.1.1.1 Overcoming doubts
III.1.1.2 Relevant history
III.1.2 French Ivory Coast
III.1.2.1 Discrepancy of values and beliefs
III.1.2.2 Relevant history

Part Two: Post-independence education
IV. Introduction: Post-independence
V. Education in post-independence Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire
V.1 Nationalism
V.2 The appeal of education
V.3 Assessment of post-independence education

Part Three: Conclusion
VI. At a glance: education in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire
VII. Conclusion

Part One

I. Brief background
            The history of European colonization of Africa is well-known, including that of British colonization of Gold Coast and French colonization of Ivory Coast. The former colony Gold Coast is current day nation Ghana, and the former colony Ivory Coast is now Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, the country especially insisting on its name being given in French.
            Gold Coast was located on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. It first encountered Europeans when the Portuguese landed in 1471. Soon after, Europeans from many countries began to trade with or via Gold Coast. European traders gave the name "Gold Coast" to this region for its gold resources; other than gold, the area became famous for other goods such as knives, beads, rum, and guns - slave being the major trade item for some time.
            The British first started to exert significant influence when they established the British Gold Coast in 1821; privately held lands were seized, and lands held by other European governments were purchased or gained by treaty (until 1872). Britain expanded its domain by invading local kingdoms - the Ashanti (Asante) and Fante - fighting a number of wars with the natives. By 1901, the British had united all kingdoms and tribes of the Gold Coast, forming a single colony. Having defeated the Ashanti, Britain declared the Ashanti people its protectorate in 1902.
            With the Second World War came the wave of nationalism and demand for autonomy. In midst of this new flow of ideas, in 1956, British Togoland, the Ashanti Protectorate, and the Fante protectorate were merged with the already existing colony, Gold Coast. Not long after, in 1957, Gold Coast gained independence as a state, renaming itself as Ghana (1).
            Ivory Coast was also located on the Gulf of Guinea; it bordered and now borders Gold Coast/Ghana to the east. The first to contact Ivory Coast was also the Portuguese, some time around 1460s. The French took interest in Ivory Coast in 1840s and it their protectorate through a treaty drawn in 1843-44. In 1893, France made Ivory Coast its colony, with the intent of increasing production of goods such as coffee and cocoa for exports.
            After much forced labor which provided the French with goods, Ivory Coast saw the rise of Felix Houphouet-Boigny. After Ivory Coast became an autonomous member of the French Community in 1958, it gained independence soon after, in 1960, as the wealthiest French West African nation. It was contributing 40% of the region's total exports (2).
            Although the economic, social, and political spheres of these colonies are the areas most dealt with, this paper focuses on the British and French policies concerning education and compares the two. Interestingly, their different education policies resulted from the different backgrounds and history Britain and France had.

II. History

II.1 Colonial education in general
            Education is a necessary tool with which a society produces the knowledge needed for survival and sustenance. It is necessary for establishing, maintaining, and improving the basic institutions and values of society. Such a mechanism did exist in Africa since the pre-colonial times, which exerted its influence by means of Islam, indigenous culture and tradition, and Afro-Christianity, whose sources such as the Koran and the Bible stimulated a drive for literacy and learning. Everything was still on an oral basis. However, the introduction of Western education and especially colonial education policies was what pulled up the education level in Africa.
            The arrival of European missionaries introduced Western education. European languages as well as African languages were taught, and proficiency in European languages was almost an informal requisite to having jobs of messengers, cashiers, artisans, and even professionals. In other words, "the degree of competence in Western education and European languages became the new index of status, and this also corresponded with the income level and social influence." By 1935, Western education was prioritized over traditional forms of education and had become the very dividing factor between the elite and the uneducated majority (3). This phenomenon could be witnessed in Gold Coast and Ivory Coast as well, where the British and the French, respectively, enforced education policies that exemplified colonial approach to education. This was a general similarity between the two.

II.2 History of the system and institutions

II.2.1 British Gold Coast
            A Privy Council memorandum of 1847 was the first overt action the British took concerning education. It called out for an 'industrial schools for colored races' while proclaiming the "interdependence of moral and physical training, the need for the school to make an impact on the local community in respect of agricultural development and improved sanitation, the need to adapt the content of the curriculum to local needs" (4). It was based on this document that the British implemented many of their educational policies for almost a century to come, until 1957.
            Soon after the establishment of a General Board of Education and local boards in 1882 and the introduction of the office of a full Director of Education for the Gold Coast in 1890, Gold Coast annexed the Ashanti and the Northern Territories in 1902. After the turn of the century, the education in Gold Coast began its booming period - that is, relative to its conditions in the previous century. Increase in the exports of cocoa brought favorable economic conditions, a considerable portion of the revenue from which was devoted to the education sector. The people themselves acknowledged the necessity and significance of education and provided financially and physically for purposes of education.
            In 1918, the Governor of the Gold Coast, Sir Hugh Clifford, declared as goals: "primary education for every African boy and girl; a training college for teachers in every province; better salaries for teachers; and ultimately, a 'Royal College.'" In the following years, various institutions and schools were founded. In 1919, the new Governor of the Gold Coast, Sir Gordon Guggisberg, devoted himself to the expansion and an increase in quality (to first-rate) of education. Hence, in the following year, through a compromise between a local committee on education, which sought three new institutions - a secondary school, a new Government training college for male teachers, and the same for female teachers - and the Governor, who believed that such a plan would strain the government's budget, one institution which combined the three elements came into existence. This institution was the Prince of Wales College, later to be renamed Achimota College and School, built at Achimota in Accra in 1927. Outstanding students were awarded with scholarships to study in British universities. The establishment of this college was especially meaningful as it represented the fruit of early colonial efforts towards education.
            New establishments of schools were a trend: a number of trade or industrial schools including the Accra Technical School, schools even in the neglected provinces of the Northern Territories such as a Trade School in Yendi in 1922. As there came to be basis for emphasis and focus, educational policies geared to technical and agricultural education.
            The interesting point at this stage in Gold Coast's educational development is that the government realized "the impossibility of instituting free and compulsory education." The government therefore began to subsidize the education sector. It could not cover everything. The government encouraged conventional payments so that education could be respected and not be taken for granted. Further note on tuition, in the Northern Provinces, payment in kind was acceptable as well, money replaced with livestock or foodstuff.
            In the few decades before independence, many events and circumstances led to the expansion and development of education in British Gold Coast. World War II (1939 ? 1945) influenced the education system in Gold Coast, as the war called for the European educators and inspectors to join military service. This naturally brought Africans to the position of educators, such as Mr. V. A. Tettey, as the first African Deputy Director of Education. Years after the war, in 1950, the number of primary and secondary schools in total amounted to 3,000, the number of students reaching 280,960. 6.6 % of the population (4.2 million) was in school receiving education (5). Years before the independence, Gold Coast witnessed great and steady growth of education. Education spread more widely from its monopolistic center Cape Coast to Accra, Kumasi, etc. In many of the schools, "an education which matched the best European standards and at the same time directed the attention of their students to their African heritage" was provided (6). At this stage of educational development, Gold Coast encountered its independence.

II.2.2 French Ivory Coast
            The colonial education of French Ivory Coast, especially secondary education, was relatively unripe and narrowly provided in the period 1900 ? 1960. The history of colonial education in French Ivory Coast is relatively simple, and the narrow original purpose of it explains the lack of breadth of this particular history.
            The French educational policy was to "give part of the population a summary education (a knowledge of French and arithmetic) and to train a native support staff for administrative services" (7). the French government did welcome, to a degree, Catholic and Protestant missionary groups to lay the foundations for primary and secondary education in Ivory Coast (8).
            Governor-General Roume introduced in 1911 a hierarchy of schools to be implemented: primary-elementary, professional, and higher primary. African monitors worked at village schools. Administrators registered the children of chiefs and powerful families, as teachers took in talented children. There were also less accessible regional schools only open for Ivoirians of French citizenship which taught at a level equivalent to that of schools in France. Although a number of schools were built around this time, regions such as Agboville, Dimbokro, Grand Lahou, and Aboisso received no money for education, thereby barely being able to construct about 15 schools through private subscriptions (9). In brief, by 1923, French Ivory Coast had basic network of primary schools, and in 1928, the first secondary school opened (10). But all in all, education was provided only to select group of students, and there were regions which were severely underfunded.
            The education programs despite their narrow reach was well-structured. The French Ivory Coast system developed paths for much higher education for the qualified. Village schools implemented a six-year program, which ended with a Certificat d'Etudes Primaires Elementaires (CEPE) examination. Qualifiers of CEPE usually moved to the city for jobs, and less than 10 % of graduates moved on with the higher level education. At Bingerville, the ecole primaire superieure (higher primary school) sent a few outstanding students, who completed its program, to the Ecole Ponty in Senegal, other graduates becoming teachers or village monitors (11). It is rather clear that the French policies believed in high quality education for the superior few and thus carefully extended the education programs to post-graduate opportunities.
            As a result of this selective education, in 1945, four students were university graduates, three or four in French universities, 200 ? 300 graduates of the Ecole Ponty. In 1948, the estimated ratio of school age children in school was one in twenty, a relatively meager number, albeit an improvement from the one in 100 in 1922. Education came to be more accessible and widespread in Ivory Coast as it came near its independence. Rate of enrollment reached 20% in the 1950s, a drastic increase in number although comparatively still small. Students studying in France, about 1,000 at this point in time, for both secondary and post-secondary course of education received scholarships (12). Such actions of the French government can be seen as preparation to replace European officials and administrators with natives, a process which would require "an educated demographic base." Nevertheless, even these students were largely chosen sons of tribal chiefs (13).

II.2.3 Comparison

            The education system of the British Gold Coast was relatively well-developed and distributed, with adequate support and intention of the British Government. Because the directed recipient of the British education in the Gold Coast was the mass, its emphasis was on technology and agriculture. On the other hand, the education system of the French Ivory Coast was well-developed as well, but in a different sense: it had a concrete higher education course. Its directed recipient was not the mass, but the privileged few; and thus, education did not focus on technology or agriculture, but on quality education of sophisticated studies.
            The differences between the French and British colonial education systems can easily be traced to their beginnings. The starting point of the British Gold Coast, as the previously examined Privy Council memorandum of 1847 demonstrated, emphasized "interdependence of moral and physical training, the need for the school to make an impact on the local community in respect of agricultural development and improved sanitation, the need to adapt the content of the curriculum to local needs" (14). The purpose of the British education was development of communities and elevation of living conditions through learning. However, the intentions of the French education policies varied from those of the British from the beginning: to give a condensed version to a select few for administrative purposes, as examined above.
            One similarity is that both countries' education expanded as independence approached.

III. Analysis
            Comparison of facts between education in the British Gold Coast and in the French Ivory Coast demonstrates the similarities and differences of the two. Facts themselves did explain the reasons for some questions, such as why the French offered education to a select few. However, in order to fully understand the two colonies' policies, the actual effects, and the consequences, a deeper analysis of the mindsets of the colonists as well as their history is necessary: examining the broad to comprehend the narrow.

III.1 Colonial policies, the effects, and the origins

III.1.1 British Gold Coast

III.1.1.1 Overcoming doubts
            The first doubt that sparked debate within the British administration was about education itself. Indeed, as aforementioned, British Gold Coast saw a boom in its education system, with the British government in considerable support. However, education did not receive unanimous support from all sectors of the British society. The British government in London stood firm in the stance that education was "one of the main benefits which British rule should bring to Africa." However, most British officers in Gold Coast doubted education (15). Systematic popular education was a new concept pushed by the British parliament for Great Britain itself, less than half a century old - a royal commission on popular education first appointed in 1858 (16). Therefore, whereas the British government optimistically believed in education, the British officers still distrusted popular education and the possible effects. Many regarded education "merely as one of the spending departments." Only few recognized the investment value of education, and thus, many British officers were prone to give up after two or three failures, lacking patience and concluding that trying to educate African elders, for example, to comprehend modern ideas was a waste (17). Education had not yet proven to be "the way."
            The second doubt involved the potential and future of Africa (Gold Coast, to be specific). Whereas the first is a clash between faith and lack of faith in education, the second involves a discord between faith and lack of faith in Gold Coast. Some of the British obstinately believed that the main occupation of the people of Gold Coast would continue to be subsistence agriculture and that Great Britain would continue to exert influence and impose the indirect rule system on Gold Coast. Such beliefs impeded education as it seemed like an unfruitful project. A. G. Fraser, one of the founders of Achimota College, criticized the slow pace at which education in Gold Coast progressed, but he was met with severe counter-criticisms from many British officers who did not see a brighter future for Gold Coast in general (18). To critics who asserted that "the African is not capable of exercising those qualities that will be conferred on him by higher education," Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg, Governor of Gold Coast, in 1924 replied that Africans must be given the chance to elevate from a lower to a higher level of development and that history proved such elevation to be possible. He added that even without educational facilities and training, Africa had seen successful men both morally and intellectually; just what would happen with suitable facilities and training was something to anticipate (19). He saw great potential in Gold Coast. As such, there was much exchange of proposals and doubts thrown back and forth. Out of the extensive talks came the colonial policies on education in British Gold Coast.

III.1.1.2 Relevant history
            The experience Great Britain underwent when dealing with its colony India caused it to doubt education.
            The fact that the leaders of Indian movements expressing political discontent were mostly students in British-established universities of India, and the fact that some explanations link the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 to the British education conducted in English, warned the British about the potential "harms" of education that might backfire. Thus, the British, reflecting upon the events of the past century, had to be more careful in reaching decisions in terms of educational policies in the 20th century (20). People feared that enlightenment of the natives might beget instability and be a threat to their authority. Nevertheless, based on the analysis of the development of the education sector in the Gold Coast, it seems that fear did not obstruct education in the colony so as to hinder its expansion significantly.

III.1.2 French Ivory Coast

III.1.2.1 Discrepancy of values and beliefs
            The French exhibited a number of discrepancies when they prepared and implemented their policies. The most representative two can be summarized as the following: the discrepancy between interests - colonial order versus ideologies and values; and the discrepancy between ideal and reality - assimilationism versus reality.
            The first one could be witnessed between the French desire to maintain colonial order and other values the French had a reputation for cherishing. Egalitarianism was one of the core values of the French Revolution (1789 ? 1799). Egalitarianism by definition is "a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic rights and privileges" (21). However, this value was not upheld in the French educational policies in the Ivory Coast, for the right to education was not granted to all. Moreover, the French authorities abandoned their "pedagogical and sociocultural" duties by denying majority of the population of learning age the opportunity of secondary education. At best, the French wanted the select few Africans of Ivory Coast to play a subordinate role ("support staff") in the administration.
            The most motivating factor for the French to introduce education in Ivory Coast was, as previously explained, the fact that education would enable Ivory Coast natives to work as administrators, in the "lower echelons of the workforce." This was why the French offered primary education - summary education - which consisted of 3R's: reading, writing, arithmetic. In secondary, higher level of education, the French perceived a potential threat to their established colonial authority; they believed that advanced education would breed seeds of resistance, discontent, and recognition of the illegitimacy of their rule. Thus, despite the values and ideologies the French had been defending such as equality and fraternity, they implemented policies which put the general Ivoirian public down and favored children of tribal chiefs and influential families. Consequently and naturally, excluding few institutions, the French Ivory Coast did not develop secondary education offered to a wider range of students until after the Second World War (22). The desire to hold colonial power and the desire for Ivoirians' French education had been compromised in the form of giving higher level education only to a chosen few.
            The second discrepancy involved ideal and reality. After France began to obtain considerable lands in West Africa, French colonial thinkers started to devise adequate strategies and formula for governing the areas. Most of them concluded that assimilation was the most logical choice. Assimilation was a political philosophy that the French adopted which called to "propagate among the natives the language, the methods of work, and, progressively, the spirit and civilization of France." It rationalized French rule over Ivory Coast even if it ignored the indigenous inhabitants in the process. It degraded or nullified existing social and political institutions and replaced them with those of French (23). The ultimate goal of assimilation was "the elimination of parochial cultures and the creation of men who are peers and culturally undifferentiated" (24). Of course, education was one of the major methods by which the French wanted to realize assimilation. This was why, in the French Ivory Coast, the French insisted on French as the official language of education, an obstinacy which hindered the education process. In addition, the colonial education introduced in Ivory Coast as well as in other colonies had almost the identical curriculum as that in France (25).
            In this process, a rift between the aim of assimilationists and the reality of Ivory Coast occurred. The assimilationists themselves knew of "the enormity of their undertaking to expect the creation of instant Frenchmen from African peasants" (26). Other onlookers also commented that bringing assimilation to reality was extremely difficult, if not impossible. Furthermore, as the French government did not try to educate all native Ivoirians in the first place but only a select few, the French education system came to be elitist, nurturing only the privileged and talented students (27). In conclusion, the assimilationist policies of France engendered only a small "ruling class." The French limited the distribution of education; but in this act, they themselves were provided with limited access to Ivoirians whose traditional mindsets they wanted to change into those of the French (28). Partly according to plan, partly unexpectedly, goals and reality proved different and contributed to bringing about the same consequence as the first discrepancy: higher education only to some. The French could only succeed in "creating a political elite that would identify with France and French culture" (29) due to conflict in goals and ideals.

III.1.2.2 Relevant history
            History explains why the French had such a strong conviction in assimilation. Assimilation is in part based on an egalitarian philosophy. Egalitarianism, as observed above, emphasizes the equality of all men; it also stresses "the essential unity of mankind" despite environmental differences. From this thought stemmed the idea of "elimination of parochial cultures and the creation of men who are peers and culturally undifferentiated." The French viewed African cultures as parochial and believed that their colonies should be culturally undifferentiated through unification into a French culture.
            Looking at the historical aspect, egalitarianism and all relevant ideas emerged and took on a significant role in the French Revolution. It was the belief of egalitarianism that destroyed the rigid stratification of Estates. It was the belief of egalitarianism that drove the French to abolish all slavery in 1794 (30). Hence, assimilation with egalitarianism explaining its legitimacy naturally appealed to the French, whose history was much indebted to this political philosophy. Nonetheless, assimilationist attempts in terms of education failed due to conflicting intentions and resulted in producing an elite.

Part Two

IV. Introduction: Post-independence
            Gold Coast gained independence from Great Britain and rose as Ghana in 1957, under the leadership of Dr. Kwame Nkruma. Ivory Coast gained independence from France in 1960. Henceforth, the educational history of the two countries has less characteristic of being distinct under a certain colonial power, but has more of having similar qualities due to the common denominator of being fledgling independent nations with a fledgling autonomously-controlled education.

V. Education in post-independence Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire

V.1 Nationalism
            In West African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast, nationalism played a vital part in their history in that it was a driving force in the achievement of independence and continued in its influence after independence. One of the ways in which nationalism lived on was in social welfare expression: people's demand for education sprouted partly from nationalistic sentiments. Nationalists believed that in order to restore the dignity of the general population of their countries, people had to digest knowledge, which could only and most effectively be aided by education. Also on a more practical level, capacity to self-govern had to support nationalists' claim for independence, for without such premise, the claims were simply irrational and irresponsible. Thus, from a nationalist point of view, education served as an "instrument for producing the skills that would permit them to take over the running of government from colonial officials" (31). Nationalists' raising their voices for the expansion of education was a common phenomenon in both Ghana and Ivory Coast.
            In addition, nationalism not only reasoned for a greater presence of education in society, but also was manifest in the manner of development of education. For instance, the education in Ghana after independence shaped to hold a distinctly autonomous characteristic. The University College of Ghana, established in 1948, changed to University of Ghana in October, 1961, 4 years after the nation's independence, and decidedly became entirely independent of foreign universities. This was a significant turnabout considering the intimate relationship the former University College of Ghana enjoyed with the University of London (32). Such transitions portrayed the state's desire to educate its own people with its own education.
            This phenomenon was not an isolated case of one university in Ghana but, more widely, of the nation's education system. Soon after Ghana gained independence from Colonial British on March 6th, 1957, education topped the priority list of the government as it worked to guarantee free compulsory basic education, free textbooks for all students, and local authorities who monitored. The drastic increase in the number of schools during the First Republic led by president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah reflected such efforts (33).
            In Cote d'Ivoire, a similar movement in policies toward an independent education system that suited an independent nation ensued. By late 1980's, the government was "producing its own text books, previously purchased in France, to reflect local rather than Foreign cultural values" (34). As Ghana worked to establish an education system independent of the existent British influence, so did Cote d'Ivoire in regards to the French.

V.2 The appeal of education
            Nationalism ignited a spark in post-independence education of Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, but the spark could grow and remain because of the manner with which people of these countries perceives education in general. After independence, the education systems of the two countries expanded at a dramatic pace, and the augmentation led by the governments was well-received by the people, who have been characterized as having "far too much ambition" and being "far too aware of developmental possibilities." This is a distinct characteristic of people in these West African nations that contributed to the expansion of education and that paved a different path from Latin American countries, which also declared independence from colonial powers with much nationalism but failed to reap the motivation for education. The peoples of West African countries believed in "upward mobility of educated individuals" in the social stratum, and such behaviors welcomed development in education after independence.
            However, the aforementioned temperament of people in Ghana and Ivory Coast has also been begetting problems for modern West African society. The dramatic expansion of education has not been met with increase in the number of opportunities in the job market. "Primary education in Ghana, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast has pushed too far ahead of economic growth and employment openings. The same may soon hold true of other forms of educationˇ¦." Thus, fear that the "upward mobility" that people counted on will be unachievable is prevalent, for not only does the state imply failure of a system but it also has the potential to incite social disruption, as seen in Dahomey, and to perhaps even provoke leftist movements, as seen in Guinea and Mali (35). Establishing a basic, stable link between education and employment remains to be a task for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, as in the latter, the link was practically destroyed by the economic recession of the 1980s: "Graduates, in effect, expected more than society could give them." (36).

V.3 Assessment of post-independence education
            Although British Gold Coast and French Ivory Coast had evidently different education systems with varying philosophies behind the colonial powers' policies, the education systems after independence for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire exhibit a similar pattern. At the outset, both governments invested heavily in education to develop concrete systems and to increase coverage. However, as time passed and as the newly independent governments began to face problems, the education sector was influenced.
            High investment in education is a laudable trend in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, and it has continued for decades. Ghana, in the past decade, has been spending between 28 and 40 percent of its annual budget on education (37). Cote d'Ivoire also has had high regard and expectation for education, which is reflected in the amount of money it allotted to the sector. During the early 1980s, Cote d'Ivoire spent the largest share of its gross national product and its national budget on education out of all other countries in the world.
            Nonetheless, despite the monetary support from the government, the education in both countries suffers for a variety of reasons. The education system in Cote d'Ivoire has been facing three major problems among many: high drop-out rate, regional inequality, and lagging teacher-training programs. Because the society in Cote d'Ivoire has yet to witness a strong correlation between education and employment, drop-out rates are high as the opportunity cost of receiving education seems greater compared to the expected social and economic benefits. As for regional disparity, in 1986, enrollments in the south reached four times as those in the north, suggesting that the problem was more serious than what the government had previously understood it as. In regards to teachers, despite the steady increase of school-age children - for instance, by 1995, estimates indicated that the school-age population would increase 50% after a solid annual increase of 4.3 percent - the teacher-training programs did not follow through. Thus, the quality and quantity of teachers have become a grave issue. However, constant efforts such as introducing computers and automated data processing equipment to schools, beginning from the National University in 1987 and to lower levels of the education system later on, have been made (38).
            The education in Ghana has also had a problematic path of development in spite of the auspicious beginning with independence. In the late 1970s, due to continued political instability after a military coup in 1966, "poor management, corruption, and general macroeconomic turmoil" disrupted the education system, then under the control of a new education committee headed by Professor Kwapong. Situations worsened by the 1980s that the education system bordered "dysfunctional." The military government of Jerry John Rawlings introduced reforms that restructured the education system and tried to attack the recurring problems. For example, non-formal education for drop-outs and adult learners served as the national literacy campaign. Later, the civilian government under President Jerry John Rawlings implemented the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (fCUBE) in 1996, with the key goals of improving access, quality, efficiency, and participation, aiming to provide opportunity for basic education to every school-age children by 2005 (39). And since then, minor reforms have continuously surfaced, after the government was succeeded by J. A. Kufuor in 2001. Regrettably, however, Ghana has yet to witness significant progress (40). Ghana has definitely kept an immense public and private expenditure on education since its independence in 1957; however, its illiteracy rate still marks over 60 % (41). Singlehandedly, this fact points to the ineffectiveness and the inefficiency of its education system.
            An absolute assessment of the education systems in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire would indicate that much work is necessary, both in terms of access and quality. However, considering the economic and political conditions and history of the two, they certainly have made progress. Post-independence, both countries had various agenda, such as the establishment of a well-run autonomy, political stability, and economic growth. In the midst of such objectives, the amount of investment both governments have been willing to make toward education indicates that education has been among their priority.

Part Three

VI. Education in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire at a glance
            The following tables are organized statistics that show the progress of education systems in British Gold Coast, later Ghana, and French Ivory Coast, later Cote d'Ivoire, according to the number of schools and students enrolled. The statistics focus on the primary and secondary levels of education for scrutiny of the availability of such basic education best represents how much effort the governments put in to improve the general standard of living of the broadest range of the population through education. For the same reason, technical and vocational schools have been excluded from the data set. In addition, acquiring statistics of regular intervals of decades was not possible due to availability, and thus, some entries are of numbers that are closest to those of intended years.
            See (42) for references.

Table 1 : British Gold Coast Statistics
Year Gold Coast
(In approximately 10-year-interval) Government Schools Assisted Schools Enrolled (Primary and Secondary) Government expenditure (in pounds)
1910 9 138 14,889 5,921 (1908)
1919 16 (1917) 175 24,724 33,620 (1917)
1929 22 (1927) 234 33,054 146,728 (1927)
1937 27 (1935-36) 371 46,292 176,711 (1935-36)

            There was a steady increase in the number of schools, enrolled students, and the amount of government expenditure, every decade. The statistics partly supports the claim that the rate of expansion of education accelerated as independence dawned.
            Stateman's Yearbooks provide no specific record of the discussed statistics for Cote d'Ivoire while it was under French colonial rule; phrases such as "there were a few" replace specific numbers which are provided for entries on British Gold Coast. Reasons the French did not release information about this particular sector of its colony are unknown. Educated guess points to lack of availability, necessity, or perhaps even will, on the part of French, considering the relatively unimportant presence education had in French Ivory Coast.

Table 2 : Post-Independence Ghana Statistics
Year Ghana
(In approximately 10-year-interval) Primary/Middle School Primary/Middle: Enrolled Secondary: School Secondary: Enrolled
1961-62 5,107 638,151 69 15,317
1970-71 12,463 (1967) 1,734,608 (1967) 108 46,520
1980 ? 81 * 6,843 (primary only) 1,014,964 (primary) 4,000 500,000 (approx.)
1990 ? 91 14,314 2,108,775 N/A ** 829,518 (1989-90)
2000 18,080 N/A 503 N/A
* In 1974, a complete re-organization of the system took place.
** Removed due to incongruence.

            shows the progress of education in Ghana, post-independence. Due to the frequent reforms, it is possible that some numbers are incomprehensible due to a temporarily different categorization or by an oversight, such as the number of secondary schools from 1980 ? 81 to 2000 (4,000 ? N/A ? 503). The numbers evidently prove that after independence, Ghana witnessed dramatic expansion of education over the decades. The number of schools and students increase in a manner never before seen under the British. This reflects the enthusiasm with which the government pursued education. It is true that the numbers do not portray the issues of quality, management, problems that accompanied political instability, and the effect of educational reforms that took place frequently. Nonetheless, the table does testify that Ghana is on its way to fulfilling its objective of providing Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (fCUBE) for all school-aged children, although the original target was by 2005. This table also raises a serious problem in the current society of Ghana as it shows how many students discontinue their education after their primary and middle school. The number of students enrolled in secondary school has been drastically low compared to the number of students in the lower levels of education; and due to the low demand of secondary education, the number of secondary schools has also been small compared to that of primary and middle schools. Thus, one can point out that although it is evident that Ghana has been expanding its education and guaranteeing access, it now has to focus more on retention of students, in terms of education, and a social safety net for the educated, in terms of the society.

Table 3 : Post-Independence Cote d'Ivoire Statistics
Year Cote d'Ivoire
(In approximately 10-year-interval) Students in Primary Students in Secondary
1961-62 200,150 (1593 schools) 6,736
1970-71 415,251 (1964-65) 28,541
1980-81 892,135 (1977-78)
1990-91 1,179,456 245,342
2000 1,734,416 (1996-97) (7599 schools) 474,847 (1994-95)

            shows the growth of primary and secondary education in Cote d'Ivoire. Some numbers double over a decade, and one even increases by more than 400 percent. Evidently, many more students have become beneficiaries of education, and Cote d'Ivoire's investment in education which once was the largest per national budget in the world, as aforementioned, has resulted in thousands of schools. Retention is also a serious issue in Cote d'Ivoire: in 1961 ? 62, the retention rate dwelled around 3%, and it has improved to be roughly 27% in 2000, which is still very low.
            This table also has limitations in that it does not reflect quality, capacity of teachers, etc - the many elements that demonstrate how much education is provided satisfactorily. Nevertheless, the fact that ever since Cote d'Ivoire as an independent nation took control of its education, organized statistics of number of students and schools has become available attests to a significant transition from education under the French which saw no more purpose than to create lower rung officials serving the French, to an education that arose from nationalistic sentiments, that aims to create an educated population.
            Note: the numbers presented in
are not directly comparable to those of
because of the difference in population the two countries have. Around 1970, the population in Ghana was estimated to be 8.4 million, while in Cote d'Ivoire, it was approximately 3.84 million. In 2000, the UN's projected population of Ghana was 19.93 million, while it was 15.14 million for Cote d'Ivoire. The larger population of Ghana must be taken into account; but a greater care is necessary when comparing, for the total population does not portray the percentage of school-aged population included in it. For instance, in 1965, in Cote d'Ivoire, 43% of the total population was below the age of 15.

VI.2 Conclusion
            Part one of the paper examined the similarities and differences in the colonial education systems of British Gold Coast and French Ivory Coast. Tangible similarities and differences such as those on the establishment of institutions, funding, management, and education programs reflected what kind of policies and eventual aims the colonists had. Point of variation began with the very purpose of education in the two colonies - albeit nominal in nature - the British being for the enlightenment of Africans in Gold Coast in areas of agriculture, technology, sanitation, etc, and the French being for the employment of natives to simple administrative tasks. Whereas Great Britain geared to or at least tried to provide free education for all, France specifically limited accessibility of education in Ivory Coast to students of privileged class such as sons of tribal chiefs.
            Moving a step further from this analysis, it is then apparent that such differences in policies had their roots in the varying political philosophies of the two colonizing countries. The French subscribed to assimilation, which sought to replace Ivoirian elements with those of French. Almost everything French took precedence over everything African. Less characteristically distinct than the French and hence not discussed much throughout the paper, the British also had a philosophy of their own: adjustment. Compared to the French, the British stressed cultural adaptation, introducing to Gold Coast metropolitan systems and institutions while having them "rooted in their own culture"(43).
            Historical aspects also served a purpose in explaining the stances and philosophies of Great Britain and France. Although the British government was in general support of education in Gold Coast, they were cautious and in discord, particularly the parliament and the British officers at the field, reflecting their past experience with the Indians. The French colonial philosophy of assimilation had its historical roots in the French Revolution, the abolition of slavery, and the values that arose from the events such as egalitarianism - although they were not consistently kept.
            Part two of the paper discussed the education in post-independence Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. The development of education in the two countries was similar in that it followed the path that could be identified as common for most newly independent West African countries. Nationalism and interest in education fueled the education sector. People in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, as those in other West African countries and perhaps in other colonized nations, desired to regain their dignity and to rise to obtain respect through education. Parents in these nations were willing to make sacrifices so that their children would receive education and become political or administrative elite (44). With such enthusiasm from the people, the governments of Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire increased state activity in the education sector and invested heavily in education, spending a significant portion of their national budget on it. Both countries worked to guarantee free compulsory education for all school-aged students, with free textbooks, etc.
            However, assessment of the development of education quickly illustrates that the education systems in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire have been far from satisfactory. Each country suffered from a number of factors. For instance, Cote d'Ivoire struggled against high drop-out rate, regional inequality, and the quality and quantity of teachers. Ghana underwent political instability which hindered education from growing on a steady political and economic setting. Despite its efforts such as Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (fCUBE) of later national representatives, its yet high illiteracy rate sheds light on the problems of its education system. As is in West Africa in general, Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire lack reasonable link between education and employment due to lagging economy, which contributes significantly to the low retention rate in both countries.
            Part three examined the expansion of education in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire through statistics. Apparent was the scale of growth, as numbers increased in rates never before seen under each respective colonial power, Ghana under the British and Cote d'Ivoire under the French. The statistics proved the fervor with which the two nations increased state activity and investment in education. The tables also especially testified to the high drop-out rates plaguing both countries. Nonetheless, the numerical data had limitations as most problems facing Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire were ones of qualitative characteristics such as teacher-training.
            The education in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire has a long history and also a long way to go. Initially shaped by the colonists' interests and philosophies, the education in the two nations encountered a new phase with the gain of independence. Many voice that it is now time for rejuvenation, another new phase. Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire should do well to utilize the national and international resources to improve their education, both quantitatively and qualitatively (45).


(1)      "Gold Coast (British Colony)." Wikipedia.
(2)      "Cote d'Ivoire." Wikipedia.
(3)      "Education and social change." General History of Africa VIII., 678-679.
(4)      "British Educational Policy in West and Central Africa."
(5)      "History of Education in Ghana."
(6)      Conton, W. F. West Africa in History: Since 1800, 76-77.
(7)      Mundt, Robert J. Historical Dictionary of The Ivory Coast (Cote D'Ivoire), 62.
(8)      "Cote d'Ivoire - Educational System - overview."
(9)      Mundt, Robert J. Historical Dictionary of The Ivory Coast (Cote D'Ivoire), 62.
(10)      "Cote d'Ivoire - Educational System - overview."
(11)      Mundt, Robert J. Historical Dictionary of The Ivory Coast (Cote D'Ivoire), 62-63.
(12)      Ibid., 63.
(13)      "Cote d'Ivoire - Educational System - overview."
(14)      "British Educational Policy in West and Central Africa."
(15)      Ajayi, J. F. and Espie, Ian. A Thousand Years of West African History., 414.
(16)      Flowers, Rick. "Defining Popular Education."
(17)      Ajayi, J. F. and Espie, Ian. A Thousand Years of West African History., 414-415.
(18)      Ibid., 414.
(19)      "The Education of the African." 226-227.
(20)      "British Educational Policy in West and Central Africa."
(21)      "egalitarianism." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
(22)      "Cote d'Ivoire - Educational System - overview."
(23)      "Assimilation and Association and French Colonial Rule in Africa."
(24)      Clignet, Remi P. and Foster, Philip J. "French and British Education in Africa."
(25)      Mills, Wallace G. "French Approaches in Colonial Policy."
(26)      "Assimilation and Association and French Colonial Rule in Africa."
(27)      Mills, Wallace G. "French Approaches in Colonial Policy."
(28)      "Education." The Education System.
(29)      ibid.
(30)      Clignet, Remi P. and Foster, Philip J. ˇ°French and British Education in Africa."
(31)      A Thousand Years of West African History., 484.
(32)      West Africa in History, 144-5.
(33)      "Brief History of State-Organized Education in Ghana."
(34)      "Education in Cote d'Ivoire." Wikipedia. .
(35)      A Thousand Years of West African History., 484-485.
(36)      "Education in Cote d'Ivoire." Wikipedia.
(37)      "Education in Ghana." Wikipedia.
(38)      "Education in Cote d'Ivoire." Wikipedia.
(39)      "Free Compulsory Basic Education Prgramme (FCUBE): Ghana, 2007."
(40)      "Brief History of State-Organized Education in Ghana."
(41)      "Education." Historical Dictionary of Ghana, 78.
(42)      Statesman's Year-book 1910, 231, 807; 1919, 239, 872.; 1929, 256, 910.; 1937, 280, 954.; 1961-1962, 304, 1027., 1970-1971, 408, 942.; 1980-1981, 538, 732.; 1990-1991, 567, 393.; 2000, 730, 735, 499, 503
(43)      Clignet, Remi P. and Foster, Philip J. ˇ°French and British Education in Africa."
(44)      A Thousand Years of West African History., 484-485.
(45)      "Brief History of State-Organized Education in Ghana."


Note : Websites listed below were visited in 2009.
1.      Article : Gold Coast (British Colony), from : Wikipedia,
2.      Article : Cote d'Ivoire, from : Wikipedia,
3.      Habte, Aklilu and Teshome Wagaw. ˇ°Education and social change.ˇ± in Mazrui, Ali A. General History of Africa: VIII Africa Since 1935. Oxford: James Currey Publishers, 1999.
4.      Brown, Godfrey N. British Educational Policy in West and Central Africa.,
5.      Conton, W. F. West Africa in History: Since 1800 (Volume 2). London: George Allen & Unwin LTD, 1966.
6.      Mundt, Robert J. Historical Dictionary of The Ivory Coast (Cote D'Ivoire). Metuchen and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1987.
7.      "Cote d'Ivoire - Educational System - overview." StateUniversity.Com.
8.      Ajayi, J. F. and Espie, Ian. A Thousand Years of West African History. Ibadan: Ibadan University Press, 1967.
9.      Flowers, Rick. "Defining Popular Education." 2004. .
10.      Guggisberg, Sir Frederick Gordon. "The Education of the African." The Keystone. London: 1924. in Collins, Robert O. West African History. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1997.
11.      "egalitarianism." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. <>
12.      "Assimilation and Association and French Colonial Rule in Africa." Problems in the History of Colonial Africa.
13.      Clignet, Remi P. and Foster, Philip J. "French and British Colonial Education in Africa."
14.      Mills, Wallace G. " French Approaches in Colonial Policy."
15.      Keltie, John Scott. Epstein, M. The Statesman's Year-book, 1919. London: Macmillan, 1919
16.      Epstein, M. The Statesman's Year-book, 1929. London: Macmillan, 1929.
17.      Epstein, M. The Statesman's Year-book, 1937. London: Macmillan, 1937.
18.      Steinberg, S. H. The Statesman's Year-book, 1961-1962. London: Macmillan, 1961
19.      Paxton, John. The Statesman's Year-book, 1970-1971. London: Macmillan, 1970.
20.      Paxton, John. The Statesman's Year-book, 1980-1981. London: Macmillan, 1980.
21.      Paxton, John. The Statesman's Year-book, 1990-1991. London: Macmillan, 1990.
22.      Turner, Barry. The Statesman's Yearbook, 2000. London: Macmillan, 1999.
23.      Keltie, J. Scott. Renwick, I. P. A. The Statesman's Year-book, 1910. London: Macmillan, 1910.
24.      U.S. Library of Congress, Country Studies : Cote d'Ivoire, Education : The education System.
25.      Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education Programme (FCUBE), Ghana, 2007.
26.      Ohene, Allan. "History of Ghana."
27.      28.      29.      30.      31.     

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