Most of the older schools, started by Christian missions, have received substantial financial help from the government, but the state is increasingly responsible for the construction and maintenance of new schools. Projected adult illiteracy rates for the year 2000 stand at 29.8% (males, 20.5%, females, 38.8%).
Primary education has been free since 1952 and compulsory since 1961. Primary school lasts six years and is followed by seven years of secondary schooling. In 1995, Ghana had 12,134 primary schools with 71,863 teachers and 2,154,646 pupils. General secondary schools had 841,722 pupils in 1992. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was estimated at 30 to 1 in 1999. In the same year, 51% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school, while 26% of those eligible attended secondary school. The supply of teachers continues to fall far short of the number needed to keep pace with increasing student enrollment. Ghana has three universities with a combined 1990 enrollment of 9,609: the University of Ghana, in Legon, outside Accra; the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi; and the University of Cape Coast.
In 1996, education accounted for 19.9% of the total government expenditure. As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 5% of GDP.