Irregular and incomplete primary schooling in rural Ghana. A case-study of late enrolment and early drop-out in the eastern region
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This study takes a closer look at the issue of late enrolment and early drop out in a rural area in Eastern Region in Ghana. Children enrolling in school later than the recommended age of six, is a persistent problem in Ghana in spite of a fee free public school. Using qualitative methodology through household interviews in two villages, interviews with teachers and staff at Ghana Educational Service, a registration scheme and diaries the study seeks to unravel some of the stories behind these delayed enrolments and as drop-outs. Through the methodology used the topic of irregular schooling gets a new meaning and becomes a focal point. Empirical findings and discussion is including issues such as late enrolment, temporarily drop out, regular school absence and repetition of classes. By using qualitative methodology, parents and school staffs opinions about what causes late enrolment is being explored, which unveil some surprising and questionable practices in school. One of these is the sacking" of pupils due to unpaid fees in public fee-free primary schools. Another is the caning of pupils as a punishment for the same. It is my argument that primary schooling in Ghana involves direct payment of fees, in spite of the school fees being abolished in 2005. And that this affects the rural poor in terms of enrolling a child in school and/or keeping the child in school at a regular basis. The most vulnerable children and families therefore struggles to engage fully and uninterrupted in primary school. I argue for a stronger management of rural schools. Structuration theory is used to look at the interconnectedness of structure and agency, showing that structures lays the foundation for much of the choices made, but agency is also visible within the structures, opposing to a structuralist view that agency is prohibited under constraining structures. From the schools perspective the main argument is a need for increased funding for the government schools. The Capitation Grant is often delayed which leaves the school managements with the difficult task of running a school with an empty budget. There seems to be lack of communication between the local community and the school and here I argue that parents needs to be viewed as resources and to have more influence on the schools activities. This can increase levels of trust in the public school, which is a pending issue.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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