Right from primary school and junior high school, senior high school in Ghana are also considered important and essential, for all the students who may wish to advance to tertiary level of education. With the Western African Examination board involved, admission to the senior secondary level is not a child’s play. It requires hard work and commitment in the studies if you are to excel in the Basic education certificate examination and hopefully stay ahead of the competition into joining the right school.
Although there are quite a number of schools in the country competing for attention and recognition, there is a tentative list of top senior high schools in Ghana and their categories that may help in shading light on the performance level of the various schools in the region. It is this senior high school ranking in Ghana that has made it possible for the best schools to emerge.
Understanding high schools in Ghana and their categories
The education system in Ghana is based on 6-3-4-4 format. This simply means that first six years are under primary school education which is usually compulsory for every child to be involved in, taking into account that its provided free of charge by the government schools. It typically acts as a foundation for the learning progress of the children in the country. Even though, the curriculum is set for simple reading and writing with part-time drawing and playing, it significantly helps the children mental health, concentration and general discipline.
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The middle school, which is the junior high school takes over once the students are done with their lower grades lessons. It runs for the next three years before progressing to the next level with a stipulated pass mark for the national examination conducted in all the participating schools. The Western African Examination Council is usually in charge of the assessment and awards the marks according to the students’ abilities. The examinations are usually held in between May and June while the entry period for the schools conducted in October/November.
Participating schools are required to upload their Statement of Entries as well as the students’ selection of senior high schools before being validated. However, other than being a gate pass to the senior secondary category of learning, the examination is also essential for certificatification and also the admission of some students to the technical institution.
The grading system
The grading of the students’ performance is not entirely based on the council’s nationwide examination as the final marks are usually grounded on the continuous internal assessments carried out by the schools and the external examination. Generally, it’s one of the vital examination certificates for the State, with the participating students having been approved by the Ghana Education Authority.
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There are usually nine subjects taught in the junior high school which include; Ghanaian language, English, integrated science, social studies, information technology, moral education, math, basic designing, and French. However, save for the other subjects, the French language is usually optional when it comes to assessment at the national level.
The results sheets and statements are usually released in August to all the participating schools and private candidates. They are sent free of charge by the council, however, thanks to the advancement of technology you can simply check your results online either through your computer or even smartphone. Other than the online technique, you can as well get it through a text message by sending the name of your examination index number and the personal identification number for the result checker card used. It’s usually a simple process even though you are still required to follow the guideline as stipulated. The same also applies when checking your result placement for the high school that you have been admitted to, although you will have to merge your index number with the year of completion then sending it to 1060.
As for the certificate, you will have it one month after the examination results have been released. They are printed and submitted by the council to the various schools and private candidates. Nonetheless, they are only produced in a single original copy and hence once misplaced, lost or even damaged by the students, they can never be replaced. Therefore, it’s always advisable to keep it safe as it is as valuable as your learning endeavors.
The scripts, on the other hand, are also kept for three months once exam results have been released, before getting rid of. They are mainly kept for reference in case of any queries relating to the released results. The three-month period is usually for review and scrutiny by an accredited concerned party in areas that had not been ironed out properly. In most cases, it’s usually the head of schools that tend to seek clarification on why the performance dropped or came as they did. Well, unfortunately, private junior schools tend to be better than their public counterparts in terms of facilities and even the general performance.
The senior secondary school is also another crucial stage for the students. The compulsory program mainly focuses on five subject; English, mathematics, social studies, physical education, and science. Nonetheless, it also provides a platform where the students can freely choose to specialize in either one of other four subjects, which are agriculture, business, general arts, and science. With a successful performance in the national basic examination, merited students can proudly be admitted in the recognized senior secondary schools. Interestingly, many of the senior secondary schools are owned and managed by the state.
The competition for pride, recognition and general uplift of the school performance has made the secondary school, a very competitive category in the country. Every school strives to climb up the ladder and be the biggest SHS in Ghana. There are quite a number of schools in the country which further explains the stiffness of the contest, and that is why there are divided into various sub-groups.
List of Senior High Schools in Ghana and their Categories
Even though the number of junior high schools is more than that of senior secondary schools, it’s still enormous in the country. They are usually grouped according to their geographical regions. Currently, there are ten main regions under which the schools are sub-divided which include;
- Ashanti region
- Brong Ahafo
- Central Region
- Greater Accra
- Northern Region
- Upper East Region
- Upper Western
- Western Region.
Generally, there are about five hundred senior secondary schools. Regardless of the number, there are some popular schools that have been dominating and always been on the top list of the senior high school rankings in Ghana such as the Wesleyan High School. It is commonly referred to as Mfantisipim school and is not only among the top senior high school in the country but is also on the top fifty schools list in the continent.
There is a list of well-known and reputable schools which have always been in the top 100 senior high schools in Ghana. These include;
- Koforidua secondary school
- Ghanata senior high school
- Accra Girls secondary school
- O’Reilly Secondary
- Labone Secondary
- Ghana Secondary school
- Adisadell College
- Pope John secondary school
- Kash Money Brotherhood International School
- Achimota secondary school
- Keneshie secondary/Technical school
- Armed Forces Secondary/Technical School
These and many schools have always been working tirelessly not only to stay ahead of other SHS in Ghana rankings but also facilitate quality kind of education for the students and future leaders of the nation.
The ranking of the senior high schools in the country usually appears in three main categories namely A, B and C. Schools in category A are known for high-class standards when it comes to performance and that is why the top section of the rankings is always reserved for them. Some of the well-known schools that fall under this category include:
- Mary’s Boys Senior High School
- St. Peter’s Mission Senior High School
- Presbyterian Senior High School
- Shama Senior High School
- St. Augustine’s Senior High school
- Dansoman Senior High School
Category b schools in the central region and other parts of the country may post average performance but it is still considered among the best. Overall, category A schools in Ashanti Region seem to have a relatively big portion in the rankings of the high schools.
Private Senior High Schools in Ghana
There are quite a number of well-known senior high schools in Ghana. Usually many of them are also on the top lists of the best senior school rankings and even though their fees are usually high, there is a guarantee of quality services since they have all the essential resources and facilities needed to make learning experience, not only interesting but also worthwhile. Some of the well-known private schools include;
- Ghana International School
- Lyncolyn Community College
- American International School
- British International School
- Tema International School
Impact of Ranking Senior Secondary Schools
Generally, the ranking of the senior secondary schools tends to have mixed reactions not only in Ghana but across the globe. There are people who perceive it as ideal for the competitive positive growth of education system while some view as it as unnecessary as it only generates meaningless competition and academic rivalry, not to mention widening the gap between the smart privileged students from their slow learning counterparts.
Regardless of the different views, the ranking of schools has made it easier to scrutinize the schools’ performance for the years it has been operational. Junior students always want to associate themselves with the best performing senior school in the region and hence by cross-checking the list for top schools and how long they have carried the mantle, they will easily have the information they need and work hard to be part of the school as well.
Efforts of schools in various regions, that are now at the top of the bar nationally but earlier on were on a lower slot, like some category b schools in Ashanti region and other areas as well, can be noticed and acknowledged through their current excellent performance.
Additionally, there is always a sense of pride for the best performing schools not only among its students and staff but the entire region and country as well. The Mfantisipim school is among the many top listed schools that have brought a sense of pride for the nation for being number twenty-one in a continental ranking. It has put Ghana on a world map for exemplary education standards.
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Apart from that, academic competition and the urge to be among the top schools or even raising the bar has really raised the standards and quality of the education system. It has made the students together with their teachers to be on toes boosting their mental abilities and intelligent quotients in pursuit of knowledge and deeper understanding of many of the classroom concepts.
Nonetheless, the ranking of schools as discovered by researchers from the Harvard University, affected the admission of schools significantly. Many people mainly rely on the rank of their prospective schools rather than other small details such as availability of the necessary resources that they may need to pursue their career. This is further propagated by the media who hail the best performing schools and crown them as best in all academic areas.
The ranking has also been perceived to discourage and reduce the morale of some of the students who may be slow in grasping the content, yet still, have a load of pressure hovering around their heads forcing them to catch up with the pace. In as much as its usually based on opinions and the debate between the positive and negative impacts of ranking does not seem to end anytime soon. Meanwhile, the senior secondary schools are always expected to deliver the best quality of education that can be reflected in the performance.