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Nationality: Noun and adjective--Ghanaian(s).
Population (2001 est.): 19.7 million.
Density: 82/sq. km. (212/sq. mi.).
Annual growth rate (2001 est.): 2.1%.
Ethnic groups: Akan, Ewe, Ga, Moshi-Dagomba.
Religions: Christian 69%, indigenous beliefs 8.5%, Muslim 15.6%, other .07%, no religion 6.2%.
Languages: English (official), Akan 49%, Mole-Dagbani 16%, Ewe 13%, Ga-Adangbe 8%, Guan 4%, others 10%.
Education: Years compulsory--9. Literacy--72.6%.
Health: Infant mortality rate (2000 est.)--58.2/1,000. Life expectancy--56.9 yrs.
Work force (4 million): Agriculture and fishing--54.7%; industry--18.7%; sales and clerical--15.2%; services, transportation, and communications--7.7%; professional--3.7%.
People of Ghana
Ghana's population is concentrated along the coast and in the principal cities of Accra and Kumasi. Most Ghanaians descended from migrating tribes that probably came down the Volta River valley at the beginning of the 13th century. Ethnically, Ghana is divided into small groups speaking more than 50 languages and dialects. Among the more important linguistic groups are the Akans, which include the Fantis along the coast and the Ashantis in the forest region north of the coast; the Guans, on the plains of the Volta River; the Ga- and Ewe-speaking peoples of the south and southeast; and the Moshi-Dagomba-speaking tribes of the northern and upper regions. English, the official and commercial language, is taught in all the schools.
Primary and junior secondary school education is tuition-free and mandatory. The Government of Ghana support for basic education is unequivocal. Article 39 of the constitution mandates the major tenets of the free, compulsory, universal basic education (FCUBE) initiative. Launched in 1996, it is one of the most ambitious pretertiary education programs in West Africa. Since 1987, the Government of Ghana has increased its education budget by 700%. Basic education's share has grown from 45% to 60% of that total.
Students begin their 6-year primary education at age six. Under educational reforms implemented in 1987, they pass into a junior secondary school system for 3 years of academic training combined with technical and vocational training. Those continuing move into the 3-year senior secondary school program. Entrance to one of the five Ghanaian universities is by examination following completion of senior secondary school. School enrollment totals almost 3 million.