Posted by Karen White on
Ghana's population is concentrated along the coast and in the principal cities of Accra and Kumasi. Most Ghanaians descended from migrating tribes that probably came down the Volta River valley at the beginning of the 13th century. Ethnically, Ghana is divided into small groups speaking more than 50 languages and dialects. Among the more important linguistic groups are the Akans, which include the Fantis along the coast and the Ashantis in the forest region north of the coast; the Guans, on the plains of the Volta River; the Ga- and Ewe-speaking peoples of the south and southeast; and the Mossi-Dagomba-speaking tribes of the northern and upper regions. English, the official and commercial language, is taught in all the schools.
Primary and junior secondary school education is tuition-free and mandatory. The Government of Ghana support for basic education is unequivocal. Article 39 of the Constitution mandates the major tenets of the free, compulsory, universal basic education (FCUBE) initiative. Launched in 1996, it is one of the most ambitious pre-tertiary education programs in West Africa. Since 1987, the Government of Ghana has increased its education budget by 700%. Basic education's share has grown from 45% to 60% of that total.
Students begin their 6-year primary education at age six. Under educational reforms implemented in 1987, they pass into a junior secondary school system for 3 years of academic training combined with technical and vocational training. Those continuing move into the 3-year senior secondary school program. Entrance to one of the five Ghanaian universities is by examination following completion of senior secondary school. School enrollment totals almost 3 million.
Estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2000 est.)
0-14 years: 42% (male 4,120,240; female 4,063,960)
15-64 years: 55% (male 5,290,675; female 5,391,175)
65 years and over: 3% (male 318,890; female 348,620) (2000 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.87% (2000 est.)
Birth rate: 29.81 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Death rate: 10.22 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.89 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2000 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 57.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 57.42 years
male: 56.07 years
female: 58.82 years (2000 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.95 children born/woman (2000 est.)
Ethnic groups: African 99.8% (major tribes - Akan 44%, Moshi-Dagomba 16%, Ewe 13%, Ga 8%), European and other 0.2%
Religions: Christian 60%, Indigenous beliefs 20%, Muslim 20%
Languages: English (official), African languages (including Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 64.5%
female: 53.5% (1995 est.)
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