Curriculum for Pre-tertiary Schools in Ghana

curriculum in ghana

Curriculum is very a important topic when it comes to education. Teachers, Parents, Learners and all other stakeholders need to possess a reasonable amount of knowledge about this concept. Why?

The Curriculum is like the backbone of any educational institution. It guides Teachers and learners on their journey of knowledge and skills impartation and acquisition. Parents would know what their wards are experiencing in school and all other stakeholders will know what to expect at the end of a set duration to serve as an indicator of expected performance.

We simply cannot underestimate the essence of having a well-designed curriculum.

In this post, let’s try to delve into the concept of curriculum, some common types of curriculum that exist and the factors that experts consider when designing curriculum. We will then zoom in on the current curriculum being run in Ghana in subsequent posts.

What is Curriculum?

The term “curriculum” refers to a set of courses, content, and learning experiences offered by an educational institution.
It can also be defined as “all the experiences both in and out of the classroom that learners are made to go through in order to achieve the broad educational goals”.
A set of activities that a learner is exposed to throughout a programme of study.

The term actually originated from the Latin word known as “Currere”.
Currere” in Latin means “race course”, “to move” or “to run a race”. In every race, athletes move from one point to another trying hard to achieve a set target. This idea suggests that students come to school at one point, move or race through the various activities or experiences aiming to achieve a set goal or target.

Curriculum Vs Syllabus

The concept of curriculum as understood in different parts of the world has been used interchangeably with the term Syllabus.

Technically speaking, however, the term curriculum is broader than the concept syllabus.

Development of Curriculum in Ghana

Ghana’s curriculum was developed with the following factors in mind: Knowledge of God, Love for God, Sound Moral Character, Quality Education.

Currently in Ghana, the agency under the Ministry of Education mandated to develop curriculum for basic and second cycle institutions is the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA).

logo for the national council for curriculum and assessment
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment

This agency was previously known as Curriculum and Research Development Division (CRDD). It used to be a division under the Ghana Education Service. Now redefined, the NaCCA is a full fledged agency under the Ministry of Education.

Responsibilities of the NaCCA

Apart from the design and development of curriculum, other responsibilities of the NaCCA are:

  • writing of the textbooks
  • assessment
  • design of manuals
  • reporting of outcomes of research on curriculum issues to the nation

Workers at NaCCA are expected to exhibit a great deal of expertise in instructional design and curriculum development in order get a good and well-developed curriculum for our schools.

Factors NaCCA Consider in Designing Curriculum for Ghana?

Before we introduce any new curriculum, one of these two instances must hold true.

  1. There is no curriculum already in use
  2. The current curriculum in use already needs to be redesigned to meet the changing needs of the nation

We will get to know the above factors after we have done deep analysis of our current state identifying the need for a new curriculum. This is referred to as Needs Assessment or Needs Analysis.

During this kind of analysis, the designers will compare two (2) main things:

  • The Current State (where we are now…)
  • The Desired State (where we wish to be)

If the analysis turns out that the current state is very similar to our desired state, then the designers will conclude that there is no need for a new curriculum.

Otherwise, the researchers must prove to stakeholders why there is the need for a new curriculum. They must explain in details how the new curriculum will make a difference.

How Do We Know Whether We Need A New Curriculum?

During the analysis to decide whether or not we need a new curriculum, 3 important things must be considered:

  1. The Learners (here we consider age, interest, learning styles, RPK, financial background of learners, cultural background, capabilities etc)
  2. The Content (this considers topics and available materials that will be appropriate based on the goals)
  3. The Context and Task to be performed (the culture of the people, human resources, material resources, national aspirations,)

Experts consider a lot of things when designing curriculum for the Ghana. A

  • national aspirations
  • needs of learners
  • difficulty of the topics
  • availability of TLMs
  • the quality of the human resource
  • the culture of the people

Teachers are always the actual implementors of the curriculum.

Some Types of Curriculum You Need to Know About

Sometimes you will hear Educationists say: “Curriculum is Prescriptive”. When they say that curriculum is prescriptive, it means that it is designed with a specific plan or set of guidelines. In other words, a prescriptive curriculum tells us what students are expected to learn, the sequence in which they are expected to learn it (this topic first, then this topic next or from this this class you graduate to this level and so on…), and often the methods, materials and even the language that should be used for teaching and learning. So, a prescriptive curriculum is one that prescribes or specifies what students should learn and how they should learn it, often following a predetermined plan or set of guidelines.

On the other hand, when a curriculum is “descriptive” or “permissive”, then it only describes what broader learning goals students must be made to attain at the end of a course or programme permitting teachers to determine how they will achieve the desired learning outcomes.

In discussing the concept of curriculum, there are a few terms or concepts we need to understand. Here are a few of them:

It is good to evaluate a curriculum from time to time/periodically. This helps to find out whether it is still fit for purpose or not.

Let us understand that curriculum can be grouped under several categories depending on who is the doing the categorization and what factors are being considered.

Let us consider a few of the types of curriculums that exist.


Hidden curriculum refers to activities and experiences that transmit norms, values and beliefs in the classroom and the social environment but which are not specifically stated in the curriculum. They are sometimes referred to as unstudied curriculum.
Hidden or unstudied curriculum can situate Informal learning within the school experiences.


It refers to the kind of curriculum that is sanctioned and approved for it to be followed. One of the features of written curriculum between administrators and teachers is that it minimizes the gap between what administrators think and teachers’ expectations.


This refers to the part of the curriculum that has the required resources (human and material) to implement.
In order to better align supported curriculum with taught curriculum, designers must pay close attention to Context Analysis (resources available).


It is the type of curriculum that the teacher assesses the students on. If not carefully followed, it is likely to derail the goals of written curriculum.


This is the changes in values, perceptions, and behavior as a result of the school experience.
In order to enrich the experiences of the students, it is ideal to involve them in real-life problem-solving.
The kind of curriculum that allows the use of concrete materials for hands-on experience is suitable for children.


school girls in class in ghana
students in class experiencing the taught curriculum

Taught curriculum is the aspect of the curriculum that is actually interacted with the students by the teacher. This type of curriculum is more likely for an observer to see. It is otherwise known as the “Curriculum in Action”.
Sometimes, there can be mismatch between Taught Curriculum and Written Curriculum. This can be as a result of any of the following reasons: Time, Available Resources, and Knowledge of the Teacher handling the curriculum.


This refers to a body of knowledge, skills and attitudes expected to be learned by all students.


This is the type of curriculum that identifies the skills, concepts and content that are emphasized throughout the learning process.
A recommended curriculum is a set of courses and educational experiences that educational authorities or institutions suggest or advise for a particular level of education. This curriculum is typically designed to meet certain standards, learning objectives, and educational goals. It represents a guideline for what educators, schools, and students are encouraged to follow in order to achieve a well-rounded and comprehensive education.

The concept of curriculum is a very important one. All stakeholders need to have a good level of knowledge about the concept.

In our next post, we will continue with some more interesting areas of curriculum. See you…

Nana is an emerging blogger and IT professional who possesses a remarkable talent for eloquent storytelling.
His stories cut across social issues, political landscapes, and the ever-evolving world of technology.
He has a keen eye for detail and a passion for each subject he explores.
Nana invites readers into his world where he makes words come to life.

One thought on “Curriculum for Pre-tertiary Schools in Ghana

Leave a Reply

Your Message Is Confidential. Areas with this mark * are compulsory.