The Impact of Malnutrition on Access to Primary Education: Case Studies from Ghana
This report presents findings of a study that sought to assess the relationship between the nutritional status and access to primary education in two districts - Savelugu-Nanton and Mfantseman districts - in Ghana. In both districts, findings of the study showed that a greater proportion of undernourished children (stunted and low Body Mass Index) were found among children in lower classes, children attending rural schools and among the overage population (children above 6 years) of children in primary one. Children living in rural areas and those who were overage in grade as a result of their poor nutritional status are more likely to be predisposed to problems of delayed school enrolment, dropping out of school and the inability to complete primary education. Furthermore the study revealed that short stature or stunting is positively correlated with delayed enrolment in both southern and northern Ghana and could act as a potential barrier to access to primary education, particularly when, as other studies have shown, parents determine whether their children are ready to enrol in school, not only on the basis of their ages but also their physical appearance (height and weight). These findings reveal that early childhood malnutrition (decrease in growth in stature and weight) is likely to be a potential cause of delayed enrolment into primary school and therefore is an endemic problem in Ghanaian education.
Buxton, C. The Impact of Malnutrition on Access to Primary Education: Case Studies from Ghana. CREATE Pathways to Access Series, Research Monograph Number 68. Centre for International Education, Department of Education, University of Sussex, Falmer, UK (2011) 75 pp. ISBN 0-901881-81-3