What is Tertiary Education in Ghana?

Tertiary Education in Ghan

Tertiary education in Ghana plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of its citizens and contributing to the nation’s development. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of tertiary education in Ghana, its historical background, the types of institutions, admission requirements, programs, challenges, opportunities, and the role it plays in national development.

Historical Background of Tertiary Education in Ghana

Tertiary education in Ghana has a rich history, with early beginnings dating back to the colonial period. It has evolved significantly over the years, with key milestones and reforms. During the colonial era, education was primarily for the elite. However, since gaining independence in 1957, Ghana has made substantial efforts to provide equitable access to tertiary education for all its citizens.

Types of Tertiary Institutions in Ghana

Ghana boasts a diverse range of tertiary institutions, including:

1. Universities

  • Public Universities: These include renowned institutions like the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and the University of Cape Coast (UCC).
  • Private Universities: Ghana also has several private universities offering a variety of programs.

2. Polytechnics

  • Polytechnics provide practical, skills-based education in fields like engineering, agriculture, and technology.

3. Technical and Vocational Institutions

  • These institutions focus on equipping students with practical skills relevant to various industries.

4. Colleges of Education

  • These institutions train future educators to serve in schools across the country.

5. Professional and Specialized Institutions

  • Ghana also has specialized institutions for specific fields, such as health and the arts.

Tertiary Education Admission and Requirements

To gain admission to tertiary institutions in Ghana, students must meet certain criteria. These criteria may include a minimum grade point average (GPA) from their secondary education, relevant entrance examinations (if applicable), and the successful completion of the application process. Financial considerations, such as tuition fees and scholarships, are also important aspects to consider.

Tertiary Education Programs and Degrees

Tertiary education in Ghana offers a wide range of programs and degrees, including:

1. Bachelor’s Degree Programs

  • Undergraduate programs that typically last for three to four years.

2. Master’s Degree Programs

  • Graduate programs for those seeking advanced knowledge and expertise.

3. Doctoral Degree Programs

  • For individuals pursuing research and academic careers.

4. Diploma and Certificate Programs

  • Short-term courses and programs in various fields.

5. Specialized Training Programs

  • Specialized training in areas like nursing, engineering, and the arts.

Challenges and Opportunities in Tertiary Education in Ghana

While Ghana has made significant progress in expanding tertiary education, it faces several challenges, including issues of access, quality of education, funding, and affordability. Despite these challenges, there are abundant opportunities for personal and national development through tertiary education, including increased employability and a skilled workforce.

Notable Ghanaian Universities and Institutions

Ghana is home to many prestigious universities and institutions. Some of the notable ones include:

1. University of Ghana

  • The oldest and one of the most esteemed universities in the country.

2. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)

  • Known for its excellence in science and technology education.

3. University of Cape Coast (UCC)

  • A prominent institution, particularly in the field of education.

Government Initiatives and Policies

The Ghanaian government has implemented several policies to improve access to tertiary education, including the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy. Additionally, various scholarships and financial aid programs exist to support students in their educational pursuits.

Role of Tertiary Education in National Development

Tertiary education in Ghana plays a crucial role in shaping the nation’s development. It contributes to workforce development, research, and innovation, and has a significant impact on culture and society. Ghana’s universities and institutions have produced professionals, scholars, and leaders who contribute to the country’s progress.

As Ghana continues to evolve, tertiary education is likely to see trends in emerging fields of study, technological advancements, and increased international collaborations. This will further enhance the quality and diversity of education available to Ghanaian students.


Tertiary education in Ghana is a dynamic and evolving sector that holds immense potential for individuals and the nation as a whole. Accessible and diverse, it serves as a cornerstone for national development, fostering a skilled workforce, innovation, and cultural enrichment. Aspiring students should embrace the opportunities it offers and contribute to the bright future of Ghana.


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