Prince of Wales College and School, later Achimota College, was founded in Achimota, Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1924 by Dr James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey, Rev. Alexander Garden Fraser, and Sir Gordon Guggisberg, the British Governor of the Gold Coast (1919-
1927), as an elite secondary school based on the British model of public education.
Governor Guggisberg urged local Gold Coast residents to create the institution to provide teacher training, technical training, and secondary schooling for the colony.
The Governor’s request came after a committee he appointed in 1920 to investigate education in the Gold Coast, recommended establishing a secondary boarding school.
The committee also recommended its location, in the coastal town of Achimota, about 10 miles from Accra, the capital of the Gold Coast.
Born and raised in the Gold Coast Colony, Dr Aggrey served as a teacher and secretary of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society before going on to the United States where he earned a B.A. at Livingstone College, a small African American institution in North Carolina, and his PhD. from Columbia University.
Desiring the involvement of Dr Aggrey in founding Achimota, Governor Guggisberg acceded to all three terms set forth by Dr Aggrey: African members of staff occupy an equal position to Europeans; appointments would be the discretion of the principal, rather than the colonial government; and the school would teach children as young as six.
Though Guggisberg’s Committee recommended that girls should not be admitted, Dr Aggrey and Rev. A. G. Fraser stipulated that Achimota must be coeducational.
Achimota College hired staff before there were buildings so that teachers could study the local languages, establish local interest, and gain experience teaching in Gold Coast schools.
On January 28, 1927, Achimota College was formally opened with 120 students.
The College was government-funded and in a unique break from missionary education tradition, it was interdenominational, with students and staff practising their own denomination of Christianity. Additionally attending religious services was optional.
In 1948 Achimota College became three separate institutions, the University College of the Gold Coast (now the University of Ghana), the Achimota Teacher Training College, and Achimota School.
Achimota College still operates today as Achimota School under the oversight of the Ghana Education Service, providing senior high school education to young women and men.
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology also had its roots in Achimota College’s Engineering School.
The school has educated many African leaders, including Kwame Nkrumah, Edward Akufo- Addo, Jerry John Rawlings, and John Evans Atta Mills all of whom are former Heads of State of Ghana.
Former President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama had his primary education there while former Prime Minister of Ghana, Kofi Abrefa Busia also taught at Achimota.
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