Inequality of education in colonial Ghana: European influences and African responses


How and why did African households under colonial rule make the decision to educate their children or not, and how did this micro-level decision making affect the diffusion of education in colonial Ghana? This paper addresses these questions and shows that many households were reluctant to enrol their children in school because the costs of colonial education were prohibitive, and the benefits were limited. Unemployment of school leavers was a major social problem throughout the colonial era and returns to education did not justify investments in education. The demand for education was relatively high in areas where the demand for skilled labour was high, and from the late 1930s when there were growing pay-offs to colonial education. Overall, the paper points to the need to examine interactions between supply and demand factors in order to understand variations in human capital accumulation in sub-Saharan Africa.

Economic History of Developing Regions

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