Ghana has made substantial progress in advancing children’s access to basic education over the past decade. The number of primary schools and overall enrollment at the kindergarten and primary levels have increased by over 100 percent, with gender parity being achieved at all levels of pre-tertiary education. Ghana has a nearly 100 percent primary school completion rate, and in 2019/2020, the Ministry of Education (MOE) implemented a national curriculum reform program.  While access to education has improved, providing quality instruction remains a challenge and many children fail to acquire basic literacy skills at the end of primary school.  

Since 2014, the USAID Partnership for Education: Learning activity has focused on improving reading outcomes for children in grades KG2 to Basic 3, using a phonics-based approach. The activity has supported teacher training, the development of instructional materials, and the improvement of evaluation and monitoring systems in 11 local languages and English. 

The education system also experienced significant disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted in-person learning from March 2020 to January 2021, during which 4.5 million students engaged in remote learning. Although in-person learning has resumed, COVID-19-related school closures continue to impact learners, with many children not returning to school and significant learning loss observable among all students.

In order to address these challenges, USAID’s Education program supports Ghana to improve accountability structures within the basic education system to ensure all actors fulfill their roles and responsibilities. This includes initiatives focused on strengthening teacher and school management capacity to deliver quality education to all students, and effectively implementing policies which contribute to increased education quality and decreased teacher absenteeism.


Over the past decade, USAID has supported the MOE to deliver a systematic, nationwide, phonics-based approach to reading in  English and 11 local languages. Key interventions include:

  • Improving the capacities of teachers, head teachers, administrators, and circuit supervisors to improve the quality of reading instruction in the classroom. 
  • Developing and distributing English literacy instructional materials to children, under the National Reading Radio Program (NRRP), an initiative which mitigated the impacts of COVID-19-related school closures. 
  • Developing and distributing English and Ghanaian Language of Instruction (GLOI) Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs), under the Transitions to English (T2E) initiative.  

Over 700,000 children in kindergarten, first, second, third, and fourth grades in 7,200 public primary schools have benefitted from the USAID-supported phonics-based approach to reading in 11 local languages and English. Five million English literacy instructional materials have also been distributed to1.6 million children, under the NRRP.


USAID partners with the GoG to enhance its capacity to measure learning outcomes and use data to improve school management. This helps Ghanaian education officials to better assess reading and math achievement; and informs policy and management decisions using real-time sector data. 
Key interventions include: 

  • Conducting impact evaluations to assess primary grade students’ basic literacy and numeracy skills. 
  • Collaborating with the GoG to conduct a Teacher Rationalization Study to assess the processes used for deploying and managing teaching personnel. 
  • Tracking the cost of implementing the T2E to help the GoG take over and sustain the program.  
  • Upgrading the MOE’s education management information system.

Over 700,000 primary grade students have been evaluated for basic literacy and numeracy skills. The findings of the evaluation indicated that after two years of program implementation, USAID’s early grade reading (EGR) program substantially improved pupils’ reading skills in both English and GLOI.

Children in an outdoor classroom
Children from the school under the trees in the Northern Region Ghana receive better quality education as a result of USAID's work.
USAID/A. Kauffeld