Higher Education Marketisation in Ghana: Intentions and Implications for Equity and Widening Participation

  • Gracer Kofi Bondzie

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business (DBA)


This thesis develops an analysis of higher education marketisation in Ghana,
focusing on the emergence of competition, commodification (fee-paying policy),
consumerism (student voice) and individual choices. It particularly examines the
policy shift from free higher education to fee-paying policy in the public
universities, and the universities’ strategic behaviours responding to the policy.
It focuses on the implications of marketisation for equity and widening
participation. A questionnaire survey technique was employed in this study. The
findings suggest that at the national level, there has been an enormous expansion with diversified university-types (public and private, and research/teaching and professional institutions), revenue sources and mode of pedagogical delivery, culminating in an expansion of student enrolment numbers. Though the student recruitment and actual enrollment trends show that the public universities account for an average of about 78 percent of the total students enrolled nationwide annually, they still reject huge numbers of students who desire to gain university education. However, the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) consistently stands at about 17 percent making university education in Ghana reasonably ‘elitist’. This indicates that although marketisation has been a key factor causing this expansion, it has created less favourable conditions for equity of access and widening participation. The thesis concludes that, at best, higher education marketisation has contributed to positioning Ghana’s higher education system within a stratified education landscape, undermining equal opportunity to a ‘progressively free higher education’ envisioned by the 1992 Constitution.
The thesis contributes to understanding the use of the market as a policy tool,
and some key characteristics of equity of access and widening participation in
higher education, including in policy areas concerning financing higher
education and widening participation.
Date of Award15 Jan 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJurgen Enders (Supervisor) & Rajani Naidoo (Supervisor)

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