Until recently, formal Basic Education was for all Ghanaian pupils from Kindergarten to JuniorHigh School 3 (KG to Grade 9), after which learners could progress to formal Senior High education, vocational education and training, direct entry into employment or distance learning.
However, in the current education reforms, Basic Education has been redefined as a concept to include Senior High School.
The system is thus subdivided into five key phases as follows:
Key Phase 1 [Foundation level comprising Kindergarten 1&2],
Key Phase 2 [Lower primary level made up of B1 to B3],
Key Phase 3 [Upper primary level of B4 to B6],
Key Phase 4 [Junior high school level of B7 to B9], and
Key Phase 5 [Senior high school level comprising SHS1-SHS3].
Key Phases 1 and 2 constitute Early Years of education.
Structure of Pre-tertiary Education Explained
Education at Key Phase 1 begins at age 4 with Kindergarten (KG) education and connects with Lower Primary education up to age 8.KG education pre-disposes children to conditions of formal schooling, imbuing in them the desire for learning during future years.
The second, or Upper Primary phase, seeks to lay a strong foundation for inquiry, creativity and innovation, and lifelong learning in general, and to provide building blocks for higher levels of education (Anamuah-Mensah Report, 2002).
The third phase of basic education is the three-year Junior High School or JHS (age 12-15 years) which is lower secondary education that provides the opportunity for pupils to discover their interests, abilities, aptitudes and other potential.
The final phase of basic education is the three-year Senior High School or SHS (age 15-18 years), which is upper Secondary education that allows learners to specialise in any one of the following programmes: Science, General Arts, Technical and Vocational, Business, and a not less than one-year appropriate apprenticeship training programme.
The SHS education is the platform that delivers an extensive gamut of academic knowledge and skills required for entry into further education and training in the tertiary institutions of Ghana and elsewhere.
In this context, after sitting and passing the West Africa Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC), SHS graduates may gain admission into the Universities, Polytechnics and such specialised institutions as Nursing Training Colleges, Colleges of Education and the Ghana Police Command.
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