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Educational attainment, Ghana

Codes and Frequencies

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Explore how IPUMS created this variable


      class Educgh:public Editor {

    Educgh(VarPointer varInfo) : Editor(varInfo) {}
    void edit() {

        long a = getRecoded();
        switch (dataSet) {
        case dataset_id::gh2010a:
            if (GH2010A_0416() == 0 && GH2010A_0413() == 1 && GH2010A_0403() >= 3)
                a = 0;
        case dataset_id::gh1984a:
            if (GH1984A_0407() == 1 && GH1984A_0402() >= 5 && GH1984A_0402() < 99)
                a = 0;




EDUCGH indicates the person's educational attainment in Ghana in terms of level of schooling and number of years completed at that level.

Comparability — General

The education system in Ghana experienced some changes in structure over time.

  • Before 1987, it included 6 years or primary (divided in two cycles), 4 years of middle, and 7 years of secondary (divided in a first cycle of 5 years leading to the GCE ordinary and a second cycle of 2 years leading to the GCE advanced).
  • In 1987, middle school was replaced by 3 years of junior secondary school (JSS) and secondary with 3 years of senior secondary school (SSS).
  • In 2007, another reform extended senior secondary to 4 years, but this change was later reversed. This system comprised 3 years of junior high school (JHS) and 4 years of senior high school (SHS).

Pre-school education is not compulsory but two years of kindergarten are considered as part of basic education since 2007. In 1984, pre-school education is neither compulsory nor universal.

The Ghana samples identify basic education levels according to the structure outlined above. The 2000 sample codes together those categories that are equivalent. For 2010, the source variable separately identifies middle school from JSS/JHS, secondary from SSS/SHS, and post-secondary certificates from diplomas. These categories were merged in EDUCGH for comparability purposes.

All samples include a category for vocational, technical, or commercial secondary. In Ghana, junior students can continue in this type of education, with duration of 2 to 4 years, and offered by secondary technical schools, vocational centers, polytechnics, and technical institutes.

Ghana has teacher training colleges for the preparation of teachers for various levels of education. The 1984 sample includes different types of teacher training education, which were classified as post-secondary certificate or diplomas for EDUCGH. Teacher training education last between two and four years, depending of the students' background. The source variable distinguishes between certification A post-middle (for primary and middle school teachers), certification A post-secondary (for middle and secondary school teachers), certification B (for primary school teachers), certification A post B (to allow certificate B holders to obtain the certificate A), and specialist teacher training colleges (for specialized areas).

Higher education is provided by universities and equivalent institutions. Higher education lasts four years in universities (for almost all areas) and eight years in medical and dental schools. At the graduate level, master's degrees last two to three years and PhD programs require at least two years of study. The 2010 sample includes more detailed categories for higher education. In 2000, tertiary education does not specify whether it includes post-graduate studies; thus, this category is coded as equivalent to bachelor degrees from 2010.

In the 2000 and 2010, persons who attended distance or correspondence courses or adult education should have reported their equivalent level and year/grade.


  • Ghana 1984: Persons age 5+
  • Ghana 2000: Persons age 3+
  • Ghana 2010: Persons age 3+


  • Ghana: 1984, 2000, 2010