Basic Facts:


    Country Name: 

    • conventional long form:  Republic of Ghana
    • conventional short form:  Ghana  

    Location:  Western Africa  

    Population:  20,467,747  

    Ethnic Groups:  Black African 98.5%, *Akan  44%, *Moshi-Dagomba  16%, *Ewe  13%, *Ga  8%,*Gurma  3%, *Yoruba  1%, European and other  1.5%  

    Languages:  English (official); African languages  (Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, Ga and others)  

    Economy:  Having many natural resources, Ghana has approximately twice the per capita output of poorer countries in West Africa.  Despite this, it remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance.  Gold, timber, and cocoa production are major sources of foreign exchange.  The domestic economy revolves around agriculture. (36% of GDP and employs 60% of the work force.)   

    Industries:  mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing  

    Agriculture:  cocoa, rice, coffee, cassava (tapioca), peanuts, corn, shea nut, bananas, timber



    Formed from the merger of the Togoland trust territory and the British colony of the Gold Coast, Ghana became the first country in colonial Africa to gain its independence in 1957.  Its current government is a constitutional democracy in which a president and vice president are elected on the same ticket by popular vote.  Their terms last for four years.


     Family Life

    • In Ghana , affiliation with a clan is through the women and not men.  Therefore, the mother's have a greater status.  (For example, in the Akan tribe view, people get their blood from their mothers and their spirit from their fathers).
    • Over half the population lives in rural areas.  Extended families live close together, many times in a single home.  Individual family members rely on each other.
    • The elders are very respected and advise younger members.  They teach moral, ethical and religious aspects. By watching adults, children learn their tradition roles.  (Girls are taught to be the traditional homemaker, to raise children, to work the fields, and sell products at the market.  Boys are taught hunting, trading and farming.)
    • The family's reputation is very important.  A family's honor is directly influenced by the actions of its individual members.
    • The observance of ceremonies for special occasions is very important.  There are special rituals for every event of life.  These ceremonies bring the families and clans together often for song, music and dance.


    School System

    Ghana has one of the best-developed educational systems in West Africa.  Ghana offers its students 6 years of primary school, 3 years of junior high school with both academic training combined with technical and vocational training, and 3 years of a secondary school program.  After this, students participate in entrance exams to the five universities located within the country.  Education is mainly in English.


    Classroom Applications

    • Professionals should address family members formally.  Because of the family structure, when addressing student needs it is best to utilize the strong support of family.

    • If a student feels intimated when asked questions, his or her response might be limited.  The teacher may then conclude that the student has poor expressive language skills.  This is NOT the case.

    • Professionals should remember that some children learn best when interpersonal interaction is fostered rather than independence.  Encouragement, affection, and praise are highly affective.

    • Some students learn best through listening instead of visually.  Also, incorporating African music, literature, art and history into learning activities has helped to enhance learning.

    Avoid asking personal and direct questions during the first meeting with some students.  Questions may be taken offensively.  For example, asking questions like: 'Can you tell me about your family?' can be offensive because the student does not know you well.
Last Modified on January 4, 2013