Harney Lecture Series

Resource Inequality and the Quest for Socioeconomic Mobility Among Ghanaian Youth

October 18, 2023 | 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Harney Program

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This event will take place in-person in Seminar Room 108N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON.
Every Ghanaian government administration over the past four decades has made substantial investments with the aim of reducing educational inequality experienced between the wealthiest and poorest students. One of the key policy changes towards this effort was the abolishment of senior high school fees, starting with the 2017-18 school year. Under the new free secondary education structure, the Ghanaian government pays for all fees associated with public senior and vocational high schools, including room and board, textbooks, and most activities fees. This paper seeks to evaluate whether such policies have resulted in demonstrable improvements in reducing education inequality experienced by students in public senior high schools in Ghana. I use primary data from 2,034 surveys and 565 in-depth semi-structured interviews collected from eighteen senior high schools across Ghana during the 2020-2021 academic year. Results demonstrate that clear differences remain between the most selective and least selective schools, most notably in terms of mentoring and teaching, academic resources within the school itself, and social and knowledge networks of individual students. Prominent differences between regions and ethnic groups were also present. Gender, however, was not a significance predictor of educational inequality, as female students appear to have closed the outcome gap between male students.
About The Speaker
Tristan Ivory is an assistant professor in the Department of Global Labor and Work in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. His research is principally concerned with sub-Saharan African geographic, social, and economic mobility. Tristan’s first research project examined sub-Saharan African migrants in Japan. More recently, he has begun a multiyear longitudinal interview project that will track sub-Saharan middle-class high-school students to assess whether there is a substantial correlation between international migration and better economic and social outcomes. He also is involved in several smaller projects aimed at assessing labor market outcomes for foreign-born individuals across a number of receiving country contexts.
This event is co-sponsored by the R. F. Harney Program in Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies, Munk School and the Centre for Global Social Policy.
Harney Program
Mustafa Aryan mustafa.aryan@utoronto.ca


headshot of Tristan Ivory
Tristan Ivory

Assistant Professor, Department of Global Labor and Work, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University