The region has 57.1 per cent of the population (15 years and older) being literate; this figure is almost the same as the national average of 57.9 per cent. Most of the literate (37.0%) can read and write in both English and a Ghanaian language. Another 16.6 per cent of the population are literate in English only. There are more males literate (69.8%) than there are females (46.3%) and it is similar in all districts. About 2 per cent of the adult population in the region are literate in only a Ghanaian language, while less than one per cent are literate in languages that are neither English nor Ghanaian.
In the districts, the picture is not too different. In Cape Coast, however, two-thirds (75.1%) of the people are literate while in Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese, almost half (45.1%) are literate. In addition, Cape Coast has the highest proportion (52.8%) literate in both English and a Ghanaian language while Gomoa has the lowest proportion (29.9%) in the region literate in both of these two languages.
About a third of the population in all districts except Cape Coast have never been to school. The relative advantage of Cape Coast may be the fact that as regional capital, the municipality has benefited from more and better quality educational facilities than other districts.
There are more females (43.4%) than males (26.2%) who have never been to school. Slightly more than half (52.8%) of the population of the region have attained primary or middle/JSS education. With the exception of Cape Coast (9.3%), Gomoa (6.3%) and Awutu-Efutu-Senya (6.0%), less than 6 per cent of the population in the other districts have attained secondary level. Barely 3 per cent in all the districts have attained tertiary education, except Cape Coast with 9 per cent at the tertiary level.
There are more males than females at all levels of education in all districts except Cape Coast, which has more females (5.5%) than males (2.7%) with post secondary education. Females are more likely than males not to be in school. While between 15 and 33 per cent of males have never been to school, for females, it ranges between 27 and 52 percent, with most districts in the 40-49 per cent bracket.
Enrolment rates for districts have been computed to examine school attendance/enrolment levels. The rates are Crude Enrolment Rate (CER) and Age Specific Enrolment Rate (ASER). The CER relates to the population attending school at any level to the total population, while the ASER measures the proportion of 5-6 years who are in school Data show that 61.9 per cent of the people in the region are enrolled in schools at different levels.
There are six districts (Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem, Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese, Mfantsiman, Gomoa, Awutu-Efutu-Senya, and Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam) which fall below the regional average. The lowest rate (55.1%) for Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese still means that half of the people are enrolled in school, which is encouraging. Cape Coast has the highest enrolment rate of 77.2 per cent.
The pattern with the ASER is not different except that the figures are slightly higher. The only district that has a lower ASER than CER is Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa.
The region has 1,207 primary schools, 856 junior secondary schools and 49 senior secondary schools. It boasts of some of the best secondary schools in the country and is endowed with two universities.
Between 26.2 and 79 per cent of localities in the coastal districts namely; Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem, Cape Coast, Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese, Gomoa, Awutu-Efutu-Senya and Mfantsiman have primary schools. The proportion for the other districts ranges from of 7.8 per cent in Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa to 19.9 per cent in Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam. With the exception of Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam and Assin almost all communities in the districts which do not have primary schools are within a maximum distance of 10 kilometres from a primary school.
Junior Secondary Schools
Mfantsiman has the highest percentage (65.7%) of communities with JSS facilities. This is followed by Cape Coast (53.2%), Gomoa (43.0%) and Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (31.8%) with Upper Denkyira (8.6%), Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa (5.6%), Assin (5.1%) and Agona (4.2%) having proportions lower than 10 per cent. Just as with primary schools, localities without JSS are almost all located within a travelling distance of 1-10 kilometres to the nearest JSS facility.
Senior High Schools: Very few localities have senior secondary schools (SHS) within the locality. Only Cape Coast (12.7%) has a proportion of its localities with more than 10 per cent having SSS. The remaining districts all have less than five per cent of their localities with SHS. For localities without SHS, Cape Coast has the highest percentage of 57 per cent followed by Gomoa (36%) and Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese (30.9%) which are within 1-5 km from SHS facilities.
Three districts namely; Assin, Twifo-Hemang-Lower Denkyira and Upper Denkyira have less than 10 per cent of their localities within 1-5 km from SHS facilities.
The rest of the districts have percentages between 19 and 30 . The distribution of SHS within 6-10 km is not so skewed. Here, the percentages range from 15.2 per cent in Cape Coast to 44.2 per cent in Mfantsiman. Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam has the highest percentage (26.3%) of communities within reach of 11-15 kilometres from an SHS facility.
Four other districts, namely, Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (22.1%), Awutu- Efutu-Senya (23.8%), Agona (21.9%) and Twifo-Hemang-Lower Denkyira (24.9%) have percentages between 20 per cent and 25 per cent.
The other districts have less than 20 per cent but more than 10 per cent within this distance. Another important feature is that unlike the primary and JHS facilities between 11 per cent and 36 per cent of all localities in the districts are within 16-20 kilometres from an SHS facility.
Four districts, namely, Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam, Assin and Twifo-Hemang-Lower Denkyira have about 13 per cent of localities within this distance and Awutu-Efutu-Senya has slightly lower percentage (11.1%). For the remaining six districts, the percentages are below 10 per cent. Again Assin (48%), Twifo-Hemang- Lower Denkyira (37.2%), Upper Denkyira (23.6%) and Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa (19.9%) are the only districts with a significant proportion of their localities situated more than 20 km. from SHS facilities.
It should be emphasized, however, that since most of the SHS in the country are boarding schools, affordability counts more than the physical distance of a facility from a community. The Central Region has some of the best quality secondary schools in the country, so candidates from the region have to compete with the best students in the country.
This therefore tends to limit the enrolment of candidates from the region. For the communities to benefit from the facilities the quota system should be enforced. In addition, the better endowed schools should admit more day students.