- The Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the Development of Education in Ghana.
- Paradox of Belated Presbyterian Involvement in Secondary Education in Ghana.
- PRESEC – A Decision at Last!
- “Whom shall we send”?
- The “Acts” of the Headmasters – 1:
The Engmann Years
- The “Acts” of the Headmasters – 2:
The Klufio Years
- The “Acts” of the Headmasters – 3:
The Datsa Years
- PRESEC on the “Promised Land”
Introduction: The PCG and the Development of Education in Ghana.
Historically, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (embracing the whole of the Basel Mission origins (1828 – 1917), the Black West Indian Missionary input (1843 ff), the Scottish Mission caretaker/supervisory period (1918 ff) to date) has always played a leading role in education in Ghana.
Right from the earliest Basel Mission days, the role of the Presbyterian Church in Education has been characterized by three Lectures:
- Rural orientation
- Emphasis on the Vernacular (Twi & Ga) in missionary work.
- Creation of schools as an integral aspect of the propagation of the Gospel.
As regards “rural orientation” the ill-starred first four missionaries who arrived in December 1828 made a move in this direction when, early in 1829, they left “fast” Osu to set up a station at “quiet” Great Ningo where, tragically, three of them died within one week after each other in August of the same year.
When the Revd Andreas Riis, sole survivor out of the first 9 Basel missionaries also moved from Osu to Akropong in March, 1835, he was following a trend in a preference for working in the interior as against the coastal area.
As a result, up to this day, the Presbyterian Church has been in the forefront in penetration into the interior through its schools. For instance, it is significant that, currently, approximately 90% of the Church’s Basic Schools across the country are in the interior as against only 10% in Greater Accra.
In the case of language and literature development in the Vernacular, the Presbyterian Church has always aimed at being an indigenous African Church. Consequently, in line with its rural bias, the Church has predominantly done its preaching and teaching in Twi or Ga.
Not surprisingly, therefore, it is the Presbyterian Church that has pioneered the development of the script for writing our local languages and undertaken the development of literature in the local languages, including translation of the Holy Bible (and other major works) INTO Twi and Ga, with J. F. Christaller and Johannes Zimmerman, respectively, leading the two language groups.
When it comes to the “Creation of Schools”, the Presbyterian Church has been a leader in the establishment of schools in Ghana, starting from 1843.
Wherever a Church was created, a nursery or primary school was started. Every mission station was also a centre of education, with the resident Minister (invariably a former teacher-Catechist) as the Local Manager of Schools.
It is noteworthy that the pattern of Elementary schools started by the Church (i.e. infant Classes 1-3 and Junior Standards 1-3) has remained essentially the same in substance in the present Primary 1-6 structure.
The “Middle School” in the educational system of Ghana is exclusively a Presbyterian contribution.
In 1867, the Basel Missionary Rev. J.G. Auer saw the need for a “bridge” between the existing Elementary Schools and the Seminary at Akropong; and therefore devised a special syllabus designed “to impart to its boys the curriculum and learning as were obtainable in a first-class European School” of the same level.
It is to the credit of the Presbyterian Church that for over 100 years, the “Middle School” remained the bulwark of the educational system in Ghana, - i.e. until the reforms starting from the mid-seventies which transformed them into the present Junior Secondary/Junior High Schools.
It is also a source of pride to the Church that until the proliferation of Secondary Schools and other higher educational institutions in Ghana in the post –war years, the products of the famous Presbyterian Middle Boarding Schools were in high demand as a source of recruitment into the Civil Service and Commerce both in Ghana and parts of West Africa, notably Nigeria and Congo.
The Presbyterian Church, throughout its involvement in the promotion of Education in Ghana, has been guided by three cardinal principles.
- That any thorough system of education depends upon a steady supply of trained teachers;
- That the education of girls is as important as that of boys;
- That education must not be confined to academic subjects alone.
These “Principles” may seem self-evident or obvious today. But it is to the credit of the Presbyterian Church that for over 50 years, the Basel Mission was the only educational body in Ghana that both recognized them and succeeded in the putting them consistently into practice.
To touch briefly on these three “principles”,
- Teacher Training
The Presbyterian Church towers head and shoulders above all educational practitioners in Ghana. (Government itself included) in pioneering the establishment of Teacher Training Colleges.
In 1848 (i.e. as soon as the products of the first Elementary School came out), the Basel Mission Founded a Seminary at Akropong for the training of teachers and catechists.
This Seminary (now the Presbyterian College of Education, Akropong), is the oldest such College in Ghana and second only to Fourah Bay (founded in 1827) in the whole of West Africa. Indeed, it says much for the foresight of the Presbyterian Church that for nearly 60 years, this seminary was the only Teacher Training College in Ghana, - till 1909 when the Government started one in Accra (later, in 1928, merged into Achimota College), followed in 1924 by Wesley College by the Methodists in Kumasi.
Today, in addition to the College at Akropong, which is now co-educational the Presbyterian Church has four others as follows: Agogo (Women), 1931; Abetifi (Co-ed.), 1952; Aburi (Women),1959; and Kibi (Co-ed.), 1963. Two others at Mampong Ashanti and Krobo Odumase have become a constituent campus of the University of Education, Winneba, and the Krobo Girls’ Secondary School, respectively.
- Girls Education
When it comes to the education of girls, much of the contemporary talk about :gender-balance” and “girl-child education” is nothing but “preaching to the converted” in the ears of the Presbyterian Church.
As far back as 1847 a girls’ school was started at Akropong (with 12 girls) by Mrs. Widmann, wife of a Basel Missionary. The Church has ever since championed the education of girls – in co-educational institutions as well as in all-girls’ schools across the length and breadth of Ghana.
In short, the Presbyterian Church has not only had these schools, but has also encouraged enrolment of girls pari passu with boys in all its schools and at all levels. For instance, around 1917/1918 (i.e. when the Basel Missionaries were deported), against a boy: girl ratio of 6:1 in Government Schools and 7:1 in the Weslyan Schools, the ratio in the Basel Mission Schools was 2.7:1. Today, the boy/girl ratio in Presbyterian Basic Schools is very nearly 50: 50.
The efforts of the Presbyterian Church in the area of technical education were for many years unique in Ghana. As far back as the 1850’s two technical Basel Missionaries were brought to Osu to set up an ‘industrial School’ which gave courses designed to produce joiners, wheel wrights, carpenters, lock-smiths, masons, blacksmiths, shoemakers, book-binders etc. By its steady output of self-supporting artisans and craftsmen the ‘Industrial School’ caused a general improvement in standards of living and particularly, the quality of construction of houses.
The peculiar significance of this development was for the “graduates” of the courses to help in the extensive construction works at the emerging Mission Stations across the country. However, the same practical training came to be infused into the curricula of the Mission Schools, especially the Middle Boarding Schools.
The Presbyterian Middle Boys’ Boarding Schools, in particular, with their monitorial and prefectorial system of student leadership, bore all the hall-marks of the proverbial “Presbyterian Discipline”, which manifested itself in commitment to a whole range of practical work, quite apart from academic work.
In fact, “Manual Labour” was a subject on the school time table; and all pupils participated in gardening, animal husbandry etc. Carpentry, brick-making, brick-laying, smithery and metal work, book-binding, cobbling, organ playing etc., as “hobbies”, became regular features of Middle Boarding School life, so much so that in later life, many “old boys” so inclined needed only a little apprenticeship topping-up to take up these skills as their regular occupations.
Similarly, long before Housecraft/home Economics became standard subjects in schools, all Presbyterian Mission Girls’ Schools gave practical training in sewing, embroidery, knitting, house-keeping, cooking, baking, mother-craft etc. alongside the mere traditional academic subjects.
The crowning glory of Presbyterian “practical training” in schools was the fact that their products, both boys and girls, were imbued with modesty, humility, frugality and honesty as personal attributes; as well as dutifulness, thoroughness and attention to detail in the practical attitude to life.
It is not surprising that Governor Guggisberg, commenting on the deportation of the Basel Missionaries from Ghana in 1917 (as World War 1 alien security risks),declared their departure as “the greatest blow which education in this country has ever suffered”. Guggisberg also ranked Presbyterian education in the whole country as “first and foremost as regards quality of education and character training;” – a fitting testimonial and an acknowledgement of the Presbyterian fusion of academic study and practical preparation for life.
2. Paradox of Belated Presbyterian Involvement in Secondary Education in Ghana.
It is an irony of history that, in contrast to its dynamic pioneering role in the provision of Teacher-Training and Elementary/Middle School education in Ghana, the Presbyterian Church should be such a late-comer in the area of Secondary Education.
At one stage, towards the end of the Basel Mission’s 90-year presence (1828 – 1918), There arose vague speculations about the possibility of developing the Seminary at Akropong along the lines of Fourah Bay in Sierra Leone into a University institution of sorts. But that dream never materialized.
More concretely in 1914, Rev. Arthur Jehle, Basel Mission Principal of Akropong Seminary planned to introduce a Secondary Department attached
to the Seminary. At the end of 1915, perhaps as a variant of Rev. Jehle’s idea, there was a notice in the Christian Messenger as follows:
Secondary School, Akropong
In connection with the Basel Mission Senior School at Akropong, our Society intends to open a
On the 1st February, 1916.
The subjects being taught will comprise:
English classics, Rhetoric, French, Latin, higher Mathematics,
correspondence, Book keeping, Shorthand, Music, Agricultural or Industrial Training, etc.
School Fees: £3 per annum.
Candidates are requested to send in their names together with
their 7th Standard Certificate on or before the 15th January, 1916.
To: Rev. Fr. Monninger, Akropong.
This was the most explicit indication of an intention on the part of the Basel Mission to enter the field of Secondary Education. There is no doubt that, but for the rounding up and deportation of all the Basel Missionaries in 1917, the projected Secondary School at Akropong would have become a reality by 1918, at the latest.
Considering, therefore, that the Basel Mission had been on the verge of opening a Secondary School around 1916/1917, it was all the more surprising that the Scottish Mission which was invited in by the British Colonial Administration, to take over from where the Basel Mission had left off, should be so cool – almost averse – to the idea of secondary education.
Surprising, because, coming from Scotland, with all its great Universities, the Scottish Missionaries were a more scholarly/academic breed than the typical Basel Missionary. Moreover, upon assuming duty, the Scottish Mission made it clear that they saw their role as one of assisting and humbly working together with the local leaders and not to “rule” the Church. Accordingly, they immediately localized the administration of the Church by instituting the first SYNOD at which African leaders were formally elected (Moderator, Synod Clerk, Synod Committee, Presbytery etc.) to deal directly with the running of the Church as a self-governing body.
It was therefore to be expected that the act of enabling representatives of the Church to assume overall authority for its governance (as against the paternalistic, centralized, remotely-controlled model of the “Basel Church’) would inevitably lead to the emergence of internal pressures to assert local responsibility for the direction in which the Church should grow.
Thus, by 1920, a debate had risen about the name of the Church. By 1922 members had started questioning why the ban leading to the deportation of the Basel Missionaries should still be in force, four years after the end of the 1914-1918 World War.
Both concerns yielded results when, at Abetifi Synod in 1926, the Church asserted its independence by adopting the name “Presbyterian Church of the Gold Coast”; and, later the same year, Government lifted the ban on the erstwhile Basel Missionaries, thereby enabling some of them to return to resume service as “fraternal workers” in the field, alongside the Scottish Missionaries. Meanwhile, the long-standing dream of a “Presbyterian Secondary School’ had not been consigned to oblivion.
Awareness that Mfantsipim (Methodist) had been founded as far back as 1876, followed by Adisadel (Anglican) in 1910, with Achimota College (Colonial Government) soon to open in 1927 only went to deepen puzzlement in local circles over the Scottish Mission’s singular lack of interest in the subject.
Perhaps they did not feel mandated by the terms of the Colonial Government’s invitation to the United Free Church of Scotland to expand the education network beyond what they came to meet. Perhaps they felt satisfied with the Middle School/Akropong Teacher-Catechist route to meeting the manpower needs of the Church. Perhaps they did not see any future for Secondary School products in the Church. Perhaps they had an apprehension that such products would be apish in attitude, and therefore difficult to work with in both state and Church.
3. PRESEC – A DECISION AT LAST!
Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that whereas the Scottish Mission remained cool and seemingly uninterested, the local Church would not let the matter rest.
In this respect, that the Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School, Legon was eventually founded at all, we owe not only to the awakening of the Church to its rights as an independent local African Church, but also, more particularly, to the indefatigable leadership role played by the Reverend Nicholas Timothy Clerk, first Synod Clerk of the Church; - a fact acknowledged by the enduring gesture of naming “CLERK HOUSE” at the Legon campus after him.
The election of Rev. N.T. Clerk at the first Synod in 1918 as the first Synod Clerk proved appropriate and most opportune.
Son of Rev. Alexander Worthy Clerk, one of the original Black West Indian Missionaries recruited from Jamaica in 1843 and fluent in both German and English, having been trained (1884 – 1888) and ordained in Basel as an African missionary, Rev. N.T. Clerk became an effective intermediary between the “Basel” and “Scottish” ears in the Church. He proved himself an energetic and eminently competent administrator; and his long 14 year (1918 – 1932) tenure helped to stabilize the organization and management of the young Church.
Above all, as a staunch, foresighted advocate of the case for a Presbyterian Secondary School, he steadfastly held the torch of learning aloft and boldly kept the struggle alive. By the time he left office on retirement in 1932 and was succeeded by Rev. Daniel E. Akwa as the second Synod Clerk, the “Secondary School issue” was no long a half-hearted “WHETHER”, but a resounding, pressing demand – “WHEN?”.
The “hour of decision” struck in August, 1937 at the Synod of the Church held at Odumase krobo.
At that Synod the perennial subject of the Secondary School predictably came up accompanied by the now familiar arguments for and against. However, instead of the usual routine of stopping at the brink and deferring a decision, the African delegates took the bull by the horns and, by an overwhelming majority, forced through a RESOLUTION, against the advice of the Scottish Missionaries, to start a Presbyterian Secondary School for boys with immediate effect from January 1938, using the Basel Mission building at Odumase as its temporary home, pending development of a permanent site elsewhere in due course.
The Scottish Missionaries tried to bring the vociferous jubilation down to earth by drawing attention to some implementational implications of the major decision just taken, - not least, the fact that the four-month period between Synod and the intended opening of the school in January, 1938 was hardly enough for recruiting suitable staff, not to mention other logistics. It was pointedly hinted that the Scottish Mission had its own manpower problems and would not be pressurized into undertaking emergency recruitment of teachers for the new school.
But the exhilarated mood of the African delegates was: “We have our men; and we shall certainly start in January, 1938.”
This attitude of Synod amounted to calling the bluff of the missionaries. In the circumstances, the Church could simply not afford to falter or fail and risk a “we told you so!” from those whose advice it had spurned.
Accordingly, before Synod ended, it was arranged for Church Agents in residence to relocate before December, 1937. My father, Rev. C.H. Clerk, Manager of Presbyterian Schools in the then Ga-Adangme District, moved his residence and office from the western wing of the Basel Mission building to Somanya; and Rev. H.A. Hammond, Minister-in-Charge of the Odumase congregation, similarly, moved out of the eastern wing of the building into an adjacent compound house, which became the new manse.
By the end of November 1937, the Basel Mission building had been fully vacated, ready for occupation by the new Presbyterian Secondary School.
4. “WHOM SHALL WE SEND?”
Having taken the momentous decision to start a Secondary School, with a “We have the men” boast, it required the faith of Abraham to take the first step forward, considering the desperate pancity of the wherewithal to accomplish the task.
The then existing mission secondary schools all started with expatriate staff; all still had a significant presence of expatriate teachers, either University graduates or subject-specialists. Achimota College, in a class apart, was munificently blessed with buildings, equipment, surroundings and all the facilities that go to make a first-class educational institution.
By comparison, the Presbyterian Church had virtually nothing ready to begin with.
Given the precipitate, almost defiant, manner of Synod’s decision, nevertheless, to proceed with founding the new school, it would have amounted to a most humiliating Clint-down and an embarrassing loss of face for the Church to go back on bended knees to plead with the Scottish Mission to help start the school.
If ever proof was required of the mysterious ways in which God moves to perform His wonders, then the manner in which Presec came into being and precociously made a name for itself from the very start provides one such concrete evidence.
Having taken the plunge, it became a matter of utmost priority that the “men” be quickly found and assembled.
In this, it was wonderful how, gradually, some of the best teachers in the Church with an inclination towards self-improvement through private study for public examinations were identified and rallied round for posting to Odumase, as and when the need for their expertise arose.
Thus it came to pass that for the first ten years (1938 – 1948), the school operated without a single university graduate on the staff. Apart from three already in possession of the London University external Inter-BA/BSc qualification, all the rest of the pioneering staff were ordinary Akropong-trained teacher-Catechists who had obtained the Cambridge School Certificate or the London Matriculation Certificate and were aspiring to the Intermediate Degree qualification.
Yet the dedication of the pioneering staff was prodigious. In the words of the first Senior Prefect (now a nonagenarian);
“The love and enthusiasm with which our masters taught us were very much admirable. All the masters obtained their certificates through hard private studies … but each of them …. Exhibited knowledge which could have done honour to a Master of Arts. They treated their subjects with great confidence and skill, and took interest to see that what they taught was well understood and studied by the students. We (students) had confidence in them and kept striving ahead until the results of the first Senior Cambridge School Examination in 1941 proved their worth.”
Indeed, in spite of the harsh environment, the difficult conditions, the typical Spartan Presbyterian boarding school life, and the minimum of equipment available, the school achieved the best results that any of the better-endowed schools could boast of in those days. It was not surprising that in the eighth year of its existence, a team of Education Officers from the Education Department, who carried out a thorough inspection, recommended the school for upgrading to the status of a “Government Assisted Secondary School” because of the high standard of performance that they observed in all fields of school work.
For this early recognition, the students, then and since, who responded to the “call” at their level to “come along and join” Presec, also need honourable mention.
Most of them came from the Presbyterian Middle Boarding School tradition, used to “discipline” and hard work. Many of them were holders of the Standard Seven Distinction Certificate who could have gained admission to any of the established good schools. Yet they chose to come to Presec. They knew why they were in the school and were not discouraged by the ‘deprived” conditions. On the contrary, they worked hard and, inspired by the industrious example of their teachers, set the pace for high academic achievement that has become the hallmark of successive generations of Presec students to the present.
But it, today, Presec stands peerless among Senior High Schools in this country, this proud achievement is due, in no small measure, to the disciplined, creative and inspiring LEADERSHIP given to staff and students alike by the three illustrious HEADMASTERS who responded to the “call” to lead the school at different stages of its development. It is these heroes that we are gathered here to honour posthumously, for all time, by the instituting of the “ENGMANN, KLUFIO, DATSA MEMORIAL LECTURES’ series.
In Pauline terms, Rev. Engmann Augustus Wilkens Engmann. Engmann planted, Rev. Enoch Joseph Klufio watered, and Mr. Edward K. Datsa transplanted Presec from the “nursery” to solid soil. In architectural terms, (to change the metaphor), of their respective contributions dovetailed to smoothly into one magnificent edifice, it is undoubtedly due to the striking parallelism in their career paths that instilled in them a synchronized sense of mission which they brought to the task before them.
In the first place, these three Headmasters all went through the “Presbyterian mill’ of the elementary and middle boarding school system in their home towns of Osu, La and Amedzofe, respectively. Each went on to do the 4-year Teacher-Training course; and even though Mr. Datsa did his at Achimota College, he, like the others, went on to do the “5th (Theological) Year” at Akropong to come out as Teacher-Catechists. While teaching in mission middle boarding schools, each studied privately; and after obtaining London Matriculation, followed up with the London University Intermediate B.A: Rev. Engmann by private self-tuition and the other two through Achimota College “Inter-House”.
Eventually, all three proceeded to Britain on Colonial Government Scholarships for their Degrees and Diplomas in Education: Engmann to Exeter University and London; Klufio to Southhampton University and London; and Datsa to Glasgow and Edingburgh.
They were all versatile men of many parts, with various interests. All of them had an ear for music and were organists. They were all passionate students and teachers of their vernacular languages of Ga and Ewe. Apart from his interest in Ga Orthography, Engmann was a lexicographer; and at the time of his death had prepared a voluminous Ga Dictionary in manuscript which is now being edited for publication. Klufio for his part was a Ga Playwright and also did serious research into the Orthography problems of the Ga language. Even in retirement, he was appointed a translator at the Bible house, engaged in revision work on the Ga New Testament (1966 – 1972) followed by similar revision work on the Ga old Testament up to the time of his death.
Over and above all these academic and linguistic interests, Rev. Engmann, in particular, could draw magnificently and was a sensitive fine artist (especially in water-colour). He was an expert in the culinary arts and was known to be an EXCELLENT COOK.
In addition to the similarity in the career patterns of the first three Headmasters, fortunately it also happened that each successor Head served briefly under his predecessor before taking over: Klufio under Engmann, then Datsa under Klufio. This made for synchronization of vision and continuity in performance.
5. THE “ACTS” OF THE HEADMASTERS – 1
The Engmann years
As a student, Rev. Engmann was something of a prodigy with a voracious appetite for studying a wide range of subjects, and an ability to breeze through external public examinations with deceptive ease.
In view of his accredited brilliance, no sooner had he completed his teacher-training (1919-1922) than he was retained in 1923, just turned 20, as a Tutor at the Seminary at Akropong. There, he taught many of his own contemporaries, some of whom were much older than himself. In his tribute at Rev. Engmann’s funeral, Rev. Prof. C.E. Baeta testified that “he was my teacher at Akropong College during the years 1924 to 1926 and we became such good friends that he requested me to be “Best Man” at his wedding”.
In 1929, he was transferred to Bana Hill and then to Osu Salem (1930-1933) before being transferred back to Akropong to be Headteacher at the Middle Boarding School, in 1934. It was as Headteacher at Akropong Salem that immediately after the Odumase Synod, the “call” came notifying him of his selection and appointment as Founding Headmaster of the proposed Secondary School.
Rev. accepted the challenge promptly; and in November, he moved to odumase to prepare the ground.
Towards the end of the month he sent out a circular notice to the main mission stations announcing an Entrance Examination, to be taken at each station, for the selection of students for the new Presbyterian Secondary School.
The results list came out towards the end of December; and the successful candidates were instructed to report at Odumase on 31st January 1938 to the formal opening and commencement of classes on 1st February, 1938.
Lined in readiness for the pioneer students were three members of staff: Mr. E.A.W. Engmann, Mr. F.C. Agyei Tetebo; and Mr. Ako Kingsley, a former teaching colleague of Mr. Engmann at Akropong Salem. (They werejoined a few months later by Mr. Ellis Djoleto, a pre-medical student who taught science briefly before leaving for his medical course in the U.K.
By the starting date of 1st February, 1938, TEN students had reported. Significantly, they all came from the Middle Boarding Schools: Akropong, osu, Bana hill, Larteh, Anum, Nsaba etc.
Around 9.00am on 1st February 1938, the Moderator, Rt. Rev. C.E. Martinson, and the Synod Clerk, Rev. D.E. Akwa, arrived. At 10a.m prompt, with the 3 masters and 10 students seated, the two officers of the Church commenced the historic opening ceremony. The Synod Clerk conducted the opening Service. The Moderator then delivered an Exhortation, pronounced the benediction and declared the school officially opened – with no fun fare.
The Moderator and the Synod Clerk left for Accra immediately after the opening; and the students went briskly to their classroom as if they had been together for several weeks.
The ten boys all remained in the same class for the first term. But at the beginning of the second term, following the arrival of six more students, the class was separated into two. Those deemed capable of completing the course in four years were put in Form 3, while the rest remained in Form 2. More students kept arriving during the second term and they were slotted in accordingly into Form or Form 3.
In the first year, the subjects studied were: English, Mathematics (Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry), British empire History, Geography, Religious Studies, Latin, Greek, Pitman’s Shorthand, Practical Music, Vernacular and Science.
There was some experimentation and students kept changing subjects till 1940 when definite subjects were chosen for the final examination in 1941. A new subject “Applied Mathematics” was introduced in 1940 and taught by Rev. Engmann himself. Surprisingly, those who opted for that subject all passed at the final examination, with some obtaining “A”, even though they had studied it for only two years.
In 1939, two more teachers joined the staff straight from Akropong Seminary, to bring the number of teachers to five for the period up to 1941. These new arrivals were Mr. R.L. Jones and Mr. J.L. Anang (who was to become the author and composer of the inspiring words and rousing music of the Presec School Anthem. Mr. Ellis Djoleto, a pre-medical student awaiting his chance to go to Britain to qualify as a Doctor, also came to help with science, briefly.
It is a compliment to Rev. Engmann’s abundant faith in the mission of the school and the clarity of his vision of its future greatness that even when the student population by the end of the first four years stood at a mere 70, he designed and put up buildings to accommodate a two-stream school of between 240 and 300 students over the next five years.
The first class of 9 students presented by the school for the Cambridge Senior School Certificate examination in 1949 indicated the dedicated efforts of their five teachers by achieving 6 clear passes (66%) with two Grade 1’s, a very respectable result in those days!
Rev. E.J. Klufio, who was to take over the reins as Ag. Headmaster in 1944 when Rev. Engmann (at the very mature age of 41) left for further studies in the U.K., joined the staff in 1942.
Those of us Odadees who entered the School in 1946 had the privilege of studying under Rev. Engmann in our final year, 1949 when he returned from the U.K. to resume duty as Headmaster. We were therefore first-hand witnesses to the source of his greatness and success as the Founding Headmasters built.
One needs to visualize the situation in which Rev. Engmann found himself as Pioneer to appreciate the special qualities of mind and ability that he brought to bear on the task assigned to him.
Here was a brand new school, starting from scratch, with very low visibility and hardly known except in very narrow, core Presbyterian circles. The school was yet to bear “fruits” by which it would be known, or make a mark on the basis of which it would gain acceptance.
At the same time, in view of the ad hoc circumstances in which the school was started, almost without planning and with very limited resources (except for the lofty hollow “shell” of the Basel Mission building and its bare compound), the future looked very uncertain.
However, being basically :self-taught” and never having had secondary school education themselves, Rev. Engmann and his starting band of teachers all lacked solid experience and had no clear goals to begin with.
To this daunting situation Rev. Engmann brought personal qualities required to move forward into the uncertain future, undeterred by seeming obstacles. More specifically, he provided practical effective leadership by being responsive to the demands of the moment and the needs of his students and staff.
First, was his personal charisma with his innate simplicity and disarming smile which attracted and inspired others to follow and work with him. In retrospect one has to admire how he held his small “look” together in the difficult pioneering years, with hardly any defections among the students.
Next, was Rev. Engmann’s high sense of entrepreneurship. A favourite Biblical quote of his was “Faith without works is dead”. Impelled by this, he had no time for mere talk and was always up to some “works” to achieve results; even if it meant adopting some unorthodox (but not illegal) methods from time to time, to cut through some routine bureaucratic “Gordian knots”.
Another “gift” of Rev. Engmann’s was his resourceful versality, combined with in
Ever scornful of mediocrity, and impatient with sloth, Rev. Engmann instilled in his students an abiding respect for hard work, a zeal for learning and a boundless quest for perfection. Another favourite quotation of his at school assembly was:
“Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage”
His frequent repetition of these words had a liberating influence on our thinking and self-concept. We grew to believe in ourselves and not allow our lowly surroundings dampen our aspirations. On the contrary, we “Odumase boys” learned to be proud of our ramshable buildings to such an extent that we were never overawed by the imposing structures of other schools; and in terms of self-confidence we never felt inferior in the company of other students, but dealt with them on equal terms whether in athletics or academics.
Above all else, Rev. Engmann had the endearing habit of starting every address to us students, on all occasions, with: “CHRISTIAN GENTLEMEN”. This, coupled with “CHRISTIAN TRAINING” in the School Anthem, had a lasting ennobling and challenging effect on students, a sort of double-barreled inoculation against both un-Christian behavior and ungentlemanly conduct for the rest of our lives.
6. THE “ACTS” OF THE HEADMASTER – 2:
The Klufio Years
Rev. E.J. Klufio was associated with Presec for a total of 24 years, inclusive of periods of absence on study-leave, from September 1952 until his retirement from teaching at Odumase in January, 1966.
During this span of time, he headed the school for a total of eighteen years: five in an “Acting” capacity, and thirteen as substantive Headmaster. This made him the longest-serving Headmaster of the school, a record unlikely to be equaled let alone surpassed by any other Headmaster in the annals of the School.
Rev. Klufio was only two years younger than Rev. Engmann; and they therefore belonged more or less to the same generation. But in temperament, the two were very different. Similarly, in terms of managerial style, they each had a different approach befitting the stage of growth of the school.
It was a fortunate stroke of history that Rev. Klufio had the opportunity of serving under Rev. Engmann for two years (1942 – 1944) in the initial stages; because as a member of the pioneering team, he experienced the teething problems and appreciated the need for the relative tenderness with which the students were handled.
By the time he took over as Ag. Headmaster in 1944, the school had reached a fast-growing stage of institutional adolescence requiring a more firm approach in handling the affairs of the school. Thus, temperamentally, Rev. Klufio complemented Rev. Engmann.
Rev. Klufio was noted for his diligence and unexcelled discipline. He was a staunch champion of the prefectoral system, and woe betide any student brought before him for assaulting or even insulting a prefect! Any such breach of discipline was simply inexcusable. No extenuating circumstances could be pleaded and the “rod” would not be spared!
Generally reserved and seemingly stern, rigid, querulous and forbidding, yet, somehow, Rev. Klufio was not distant. On the contrary, he was surprisingly very accessible to students who had any problems with their studies, or with how a teacher was handling his subject.
A man of prodigious erudition, Rev. Klufio in his students an appreciation of the value of true scholarship and correctness. For instance, once, after much student clamour for a “school magazine”, one was at last produced, edited by the students themselves. When the publication came off the press and was delivered to the headmaster’s office, Rev. Klufio meticulously went through a copy and was so dissatisfied with the magazine on so many grounds that he impounded the whole consignment and had it destroyed. To him the PRESTIGE of PRESEC was sacrosanct and nothing mediocre should be tolerated. Nobody questioned the Headmaster’s stance, and everyone saw the point.
The much fabled reputation of Rev. Klufio as a strict disciplinarian however does not mean that life under his Headmastership was intimidating or regimented. Rather, he established a tradition of disciplined, self-respecting hard work with meticulous attention to detail.
It is surprising that the schools rise to fame and universal acceptance took place during Rev. Klufio’s eighteen years at the helm.
The upgrading of the school to the status of a Government-Assisted Secondary School took place when he was Ag. Headmaster.
The approval of the school by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) as an Examination Centre was earned under Rev. Klufio.
In April 1961, the minister of Education, Hon. Dowuona Hammond, accompanied by the Chief Education Officer, Mr. J.W.L. Mills, came in person all the way to Odumase to announce that on account of the highly commendable successes that the school had been chalking in the School Certificate Examinations over the past several years, in spite of the harsh environment in which the school had been working, the government, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Education, had directed that the school should mount a sixth form course in Science and Arts as from the following September (1961).
This was a great vote of confidence in Presec. Although at the material time of the Minister’s historic visit Rev. Klufio was at Glasgow university in the middle of his one-year study-leave, the accolade belonged fully to him for his inspiring leadership.
Indeed, Presec’s march to greatness under Rev. Klufio was characterized by achievements in many ways. For years Presec was a great “Singing School” and this was made possible by the pressure on the staff at the same time of so many teachers who, quite apart from their academic subject-areas, were also musicians in their own right: J.L. Anang, R.L. Jones, O.B. Dokosi, Lawrence John-/Teye, Fred Jiagge, E.V.D. Mante, Kofi Tagbotor (Later Dr.), not to mention Klufio himself and S. Geoffery Boateng, the official music master. The beauty of the situation was that such was the esprit de corps among the staff and between them and the general student body, that whenever it came to learning, practicing or performing any musical production, everyone cheerfully played some part.
Further, under Rev. Klufio, Presec became a famous Games and Athletics School, under the excellent coaching of its great Sports master, the late W.E. Amoah. Over a period of about 10 years, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, PRESEC dominated the Inter-College scene of games and athletics in Ghana, winning several competitions and producing great sportsmen, some of whom became national heroes.
In this connection, it is worth mentioning that contrary to the general picture of Rev. Klufio was a stein and unfriendly person, he showed that he had another smiling face when it came to games and sports. Students discovered that he was an avid sportsman and a keen fan of the school football team. He often went down to watch the team practice, and made coaching comments. He always followed the school team to both home and away matches and it delighted students to see him on the ridelines lustily cheering the boys with gay abandon.
Another notable aspect of the Klufio years was the Enhanced Stature and Visibility that the School began to enjoy and the attendant influence it wielded. For a school that had no Assembly Hall the whole of its 30 years at Odumase, the list of personalities who took the trouble to visit Presec was both impressive and encouraging.
One such visit was the case of the hon. Minister of Education taking the trouble to come down all the way from Accra to personally convey Government’s approval for Presec to mount Sixth Form courses in Science and Arts, to which referee has already been made.
Another landmark visit was when the Principal of the then University College of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Dr. W.E. Duncanson, accepted the school’s invitation to be Guest Speaker at the 1955 Speech Day. The Speech Day. The speech he delivered probably did not register deeply: Out of the sight of the Guest Speaker, resplendent in his full academic robes, was so spectacular that it undoubtedly converted many of the students into future university graduates.
Similarly, the visit by Pr. W.W. Sawyer of the University College of Ghana, (author of Mathematician’s Delight) at the invitation of one of the mathematics teachers, had a sensational impact on the students who heard him, and the generation that followed them. So captivating was the talk on Mathematics and the demonstration the speaker gave by listening to mathematics problems or complex equations and spontaneously solving the question mentally and giving the correct answer on the spot, that the students shed their maths phobia and the whole school became a “Mathematics School”.
On the whole the legacy of the “Klufio Years” was that Rev. Klufio consolidated what was started by Rev. Engmann.
The school reached great heights of spectacular achievement under him. It is commonly agreed that such spectacular results became possible because staff and students alike were really dedicated to their work. The teachers were able to lead and inspire their students to aim height and work hard.
It is generally acknowledged that discipline, already a hall-mark of the Presbyterian tradition became even more strongly associated with Presec under Rev. Klufio. But Rev. Klufio was not a hard task-master; and the school performed spectacularly precisely because, under, staff and students alike respected authority and were willingly prepared to live under discipline, - Presbyterian Discipline, as an inseparable part of their Christian training.
7. THE “ACTS” OF THE HEADMASTERS – 3
The Datsa years
Mr. Edward K. Datsa has deservedly gone down in history as the Headmaster who led the “exodus” of Presec from its original home at Odumase to the “Promised Land” of “Mile 9” at Legon in 1968.
What is not equally well-known is the fact that he actually served at Presec three times. The first was in 1948 for four months only from August to December, when he was recalled by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church for a special assignment. The second was from January 1959 as Senior Graduate Teacher and as Acting Headmaster from February 1961 to the end of August when he transferred his services to be founding Headmaster of the newly established Sogakofe Secondary School. His third “coming” was immediately after five years at Sogakofe, from September 1966 to end of August 1973, when he had to retire pre-maturely following Government’s reduction of the compulsory retirement age from 60 to 55.
It is this third seven-year period of service as substantive Headmaster, in particular the courage, wisdom and superlative leadership skill he exhibited in planning and implementing so successfully the move to the new site, that has earned Mr. Datsa the indelible honour of belonging to the TRIUMVIRATE of GREAT HEADMASTERS OF PRESEC.
Perhaps the most astounding turn of events in the history of Presec is how the issue of the relocation of the school to a new site became such a cause célèbre.
From the very outset in 1938, it was known that Odumase was a temporary arrangement and that the school would be moved elsewhere in due course. All generations of students nourished the hope that the move would be in their time.
Meanwhile a large tract of land was being acquired from the La Stool at mile 9 on thee Accra-Dodowa road; and, soon, “Mile 9” became synonymous with “The Promised Land”. Apparently deeply impressed by the Team of School Inspectors’ on the potential of the school, the Colonial Government, as early as 1948, allocated an amount of £230,000 for re-housing the school.
Unfortunately, at this point in time, the whole question of a new site became deeply mired in controversy, both within the Church and between the Church and the Traditional Authority of the host (Odumase) Community, which was to delay the eventual move for twenty years.
Within the Church, the debate was whether the new site should be at or near Christiansborg (Osu) for historical reasons (Osu being where, symbolically, the Church was first planted in 1828, by the landing of the first Basel Missionaries) or at Akropong, then effectively the “Capital Station” of the Church, or elsewhere. On the side of the Manya Krobo Traditional Authority, the contention was that the school, having now become famous and synonymous with “Odumase”, the pride of the whole community, why move it at all?
At this time Mr. C.J. Amaning was brought in as Ag. Headmaster in the interregnum between Rev. Klufio’s departure in 1947 for further studies and the expected return of Rev. Engmann from the U.K. in 1949. Sensing the dicey game being played by the contending forces over the fate of their school, the student-body held a protest meeting in 1948 and passed a resolution to the effect that if the Church didn’t come out with something definite about the relocation of the school by the end of the year, then they would boycott classes the following year. The resolution was presented to the Ag. Headmaster, Mr. Amaning, for onward transmission to the Synod Committee of the Church.
The student’s resolution probably did not carry much weight, since its time deadline was clearly unrealistic. However, it was also evident that the Colonial Government was felling inclined to sympathize with the case of the Krobo Authorities, but was waiting for the Church’s firm opinion.
Because of the intense lobbying giving in, The Church convened an Emergency Synod at Osu on 15th June, 1949 to deal exclusively with the relocation issue. At the end of the day, after intense debate, the Church announced “Synod’s irrevocable decision” in favour of “a site near Christiansborg”; and Government acceded to the decision.
Nevertheless, despite the Church’s unequivocal declaration, and even after construction work had commenced at “Mile 9”, the undercurrent of strong feelings still persisted. As late as the 1965/1966 academic year, when the new buildings had reached an advanced stage, long-standing tension among the students erupted in the third term into an ugly placard-bearing demonstration through the streets of Odumase town. To present the situation from getting our of hand, the school was immediately closed and the students sent home without taking their end-of-term examinations. The sole reason for the demonstration and near-not was a feeling among the students that the school’s authorities were not doing enough to have the school moved from Odumase Krobo to its new site at “Mile 9”.
On the occasion of Mr. Datsa’s third coming in September 1966 as Substantive Headmaster, therefore, he was walking into a “mine-field” of delicate problems requiring him to step gingerly yet firmly and with a sense of purpose as well as direction.
The first hurdle was his first meeting with the teaching staff on re-opening day – the last Friday of September 1966. With the exception of one whom he had himself recruited five years earlier when he was Ag. Headmaster, all the rest where fresh faces and he had to win their confidence. After sympathizing with them for the trauma they had experienced during the unfortunate student demonstration at the end of the last term, he commended them for their past contribution to the greatness of Presec and urged them to continue in the same selfless spirit. Touching on the tensions leading to the student disturbances, he assured them of the good faith of the Presbyterian Church, and the need for patience on the part of both staff and students while the authorities did their best to expedite work on the relocation.
His next hurdle was meeting all the students on the first Monday, knowing that they would all be critically assessing “the new headmaster”. To create the proper atmosphere for this important encounter, Mr. Datsa moved this assembly from the usual open-air space under the great baobab tree (Father Odadee) to the Chapel of the Local Presbyterian Church.
Addressing the whole school, welcoming them back, he reminded them of the prestige of the school by reminding them of the great alumni who had preceded them and the need to jealously guard the reputation of the school Concerning “Mile 9”, he assured them that the Presbyterian Church and the Ministry of Education were even more anxious than the students themselves to get the school relocated. Work was proceeding feverishly at the new site. All that was required of them was to exercise patience.
Then with a flash imagination he promised that after the school had settled down to work, arrangements would be made during the term for both staff and students to visit the new site at separate times to see with their own eyes how work was progressing. This idea put the whole school in high spirits.
Meanwhile Mr. Datsa remained mindful of the advice he had been given by both the Ministry of Education and the Presbyterian Church Offices to strike a balance between preoccupation with matters related to the move of the school to “Mile9” on the one hand and with supervising students and staff (both teaching and non-teaching) in their work on the other to ensure that discipline, academic standards and important social values were not sacrificed.
The two promised excursions to the new site were duly arranged, the staff trip first and then the students. In both cases, it was arranged for the contractor himself to meet the group and show them round the site. In the case of the students’ group, Mr. Datsa took the trouble to prepare for them a questionnaire to provide their observation, designed to let them see for themselves services and facilities not yet in place and which would take some time to install: such as lack of water, electricity and furniture (for the dormitories, classrooms, dining hall and staff bungalows), incomplete science laboratories and absence as yet, of playing fields.
In the subsequent discussions with the two separate groups, the Headmaster was dismayed to find that instead of the incomplete state of affairs convincing the teachers of the need to be patient for just a few months, the sight of the new buildings had so raised expectations that some of these otherwise seasoned teachers started behaving like the Israelites with Moses in the Wilderness, completely out of touch with reality. In their delirious excitement, these teachers wanted the school to move in immediately arguing that staff and students should be prepared to “rough it”.
Surprisingly, the separate follow-up meeting with representatives of the students who had also been to inspect the new site showed them o be more amenable to reason. With the help of their own responses to the questionnaires it was easier o make them appreciate the implications of the uncompleted projects at the new site, and why it would serve no meaningful purpose to rush to relocate into uncompleted facilities.
Mr. Datsa’s handling of the impetuous, ill-considered expectations and demands of his staff and students demonstrates his firmness and maturity as a manager. He made it plain to them that decisions in such critical situations cannot be forced “from below”; and that the prerogative to give the green light rested with the Presbyterian Church and the Board of Governors of the school.
Another test of Mr. Datsa’s sagacity as a Headmaster can be seen from his handling of the even more delicate situation involving the Paramount Chief of the Manya Krobo Traditional Area, Nene Azu Mate-Kole, a powerful opponent to the proposal to relocate the school away from Odumase, who was also a member of the Board of Governors of the school.
Because of Nene Azu Mate Kole’s known hostility and also the strong public and local community opinion against the plan to move the school, on assumption of duty as Headmaster, Mr. Datsa was strongly advised never to put on the agenda for Board meetings anything about the removal of the school to its new site at “Mile 9”. So adroitly did Mr. Datsa walk this tight-rope of secrecy that the Konor never did learn what was going on till too late. It is said that when he later heard from official sources that the Presbyterian Church had approved the school’s relocation to Legon, he became so disgusted with what he considered to be the perfidy of the Church that he immediately renounced his membership and joined the Roman Catholic Church.
By the beginning of the 1967/1968 academic year, everyone realized that this was the last year of the school at Odumase, and the count-down towards the relocation ‘D-Day’ began. In the second term, January-April 1968, the Administration started drawing up, a master plan to ensure that the move would go ahead without a hitch.
Towards the end of the second term a letter came from the Ministry of Education fixing a date for the contractor to hand over the buildings. This was joyful news. On the appointed date the Headmaster, the Board of Governors, and representatives of the Ministry of Education went to the new site and the school was formally handed over to the Board members, with the promise that a few items of furniture not yet in place would be supplied in time for the re-opening of the new academic year in September 1968.
The final evacuation was like a battle-plan, with Mr. Datsa as the strategist-General. Towards the end of the third term, on 6th July, 1968 a grand farewell party was organized at the school to say good bye to the local community. The Paramount Chief, his sub-chiefs, members of the different religious denominations, other dignitaries and a large cross-section of the local citizenry were all invited to attend. Regrettably, but understandingly, the Paramount Chief wrote to acknowledge the invitation with a diplomatic “regret” on behalf of himself and all his sub-chiefs because of a prior engagement.
The following Monday the Headmaster announced to a jubilant student assembly the handing over of the school buildings at “Mile 9” At the end of term, the students were reminded that this was their last day, as a school, at Odumase Krobo. On the Re-opening day of the next academic year, all continuing students were to report at the school’s new premises at “Mile 9”.
As soon as students had left, plans for the actual move swung into action with clock-work precision:
- July – mid August saw Mr. Datsa dashing back and forth between Odumase and Accra to follow up final preparations at the P.W.D. for the delivery of furniture and equipment to the school.
- By mid-August the carting of the school’s property was in progress.
- By the end of August, the majority of the teaching staff had moved to the new site.
- At the end of August, the non-teaching staff followed.
- On Thursday 12th September 1968, the entire administrative machinery of the school moved in convoy to “Mile 9”.
- At 8.00a.m on Monday 16th September 1968, the offices of Presec, Legon were formally opened for the first time for work to begin.
- On Friday, 20th September, 1968, Mr. Datsa and his teaching staff held their first meeting to prepare for the arrival of the students.
- By 7.00a.m on Wednesday 2nd October, 1968 the students had started arriving to set foot on the Promised Land – at last!
- On Monday 7th October, 1968, classes started in full swing, after a brief informal morning assembly to welcome all to their new home.
- That same Monday, the Headmaster went to Accra to make the necessary courtesy calls – on the Moderator and the Synod Clerk of the Church, the Ministry of Education, especially the Chief Education Officer to report that the school had opened at Legon and to thank all of them for their help in bringing this happy event about.
- On 18th October, 1968, the Board of Governors held its first meeting at Legon. At his meeting the Board unanimously adopted the insertion of “Boys” in the name of the school, to distinguish it from any other future “Presbyterian Secondary School” in Accra or elsewhere.
- On Sunday 1st December, 1968, a special thanksgiving service was held in the Assembly Hall in connection with the arrival of the School at Legon. Among the huge crowd of distinguished invited guests (who included Prof. A.A. Kwapong, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana and the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Rev. Prof. C.G. Baeta) was REV.E.A.W. ENGMANN, the Founding Headmaster of the school.
Well could Rev. Engmann on that occasion sing his “Nun Dimitis” – for at last, his eyes had seen the glory he must have dreamt about 30 years ago, when, with his two teachers and the little band of 10 students, he started the school at Odumase Krobo.
Although he remained Headmaster for another five years till his pre-mature retirement on 31st August 1973, he had already earned his reward was a “good and faithful servant” – by crowing the work of his predecessors and fulfilling the dreams of generations of Old Boys of Presec.
Presec on the” Promised Land”
It is a source of pride for all connected with Presec that the school did not rest on its oars after successfully settling down on the Promised Land, but continued to forge ahead “Trudging along to happy victory”.
Thus, in the second year at Legon (1969/70) enrolment was doubled to make the school four-stream. The following year, with the help of the Ministry of Education, the school was able to re-mount the sixth Form Course in Science and Arts which was started at Odumase but collapsed because of the adverse conditions in those days.
Soon, in the third year, new courses were added to the curriculum, namely: Agricultural Science (with a school farm and poultry section), wood carving, and Typewriting. For the first time, the school was fully staffed, mainly because of increased space and improved housing facilities.
With the change of environment from the cramped Odumase campus to the more spacious setting at Legon, it became possible for the students to engage in a wide range of out-door activities – in true Presbyterian “manual labour” fashion that enabled them to develop initiative, resourcefulness and the spirit of give and take. A very important development in the social life of the school was the emergence of voluntary societies and clubs among the students, which helped them to develop a practical outlook in life.
Meanwhile achievement in academic performance continued to remain high, resulting in a string of excellent examination results from year to year.
The highest testimony to the academic excellence of Presec was the introduction of Sixth Form Science College in 1975, which attracted bright students – male and female – from other schools. The “Science College” concept was phased out in 1996; and for the 12 years it functioned, Presec produced some of the best A-Level science results ever in Ghana. It is not surprising that, for years, the University of Ghana Musical School was jokingly referred to as a “Presec Annex” – because the overwhelming majority of its students were products of Presec!
Today, now aged 72, Presec has become a great all-round school, on spacious land, with great potential for higher excellence in future.
REV. DR. NICHOLAS T. CLERK
CURRICUL VITAE – MAIN POINTS
(Presec select, as appropriate)
- Born : 3rd March, 1930 – Aged 80
- Education : 1. Usual Presbyterian Primary/Middle
2. PRESEC (Odumase) 1946 – 1949 (Was Senior Prefect
3. Presbyterian Training College – Akropong Akuapem, 1950-1951, for Post-Secondary Teachers’ Certificate “A”
N.B: In typical Presec tradtion, privately studied for London University Inter-BA exam along-side teacher training Course, and passed while still at Akropong.
4. In view of the Inter B.A. qualification – posted to Presec to teach in 1952
5. Sept, 1952 - Won Colonial Scholarship for Degree Course in the U.K. – University of Leicester and obtained B.A. Hons English, Upper 2nd Division of London University in 1955.
6. Sept, 1955 - Returned to Presec to continue teaching.
7. 1957/58 - At Institute of Education, University College of Ghana for Post-
Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) of London University.
- Absorbed into Ministry of Education as EDUCATION OFFICER after obtaining PGCE.
- Tutor, Government Training College, PEKI (1958 – 59)
- Tutor, Government Training College, TAMALE (1959 – 1961)
- 1961 - Lecturer in English, Department of Liberal Arts, U.S.T., Kumasi
- 1962 - Recruited to newly established Institute of Public Administration, Served at GIMPA for 28 years, rising to be DIRECTOR, GIMPA, 1975 –
- 1981 - Re-assigned by Government (PNDC) to PUBLIC SERVICES COMMISSION
1988 – 1989: Served in UGANDA (UN Appointment) as CHAIRMAN OF THE UGANDA PUBLIC SERVICES
REVIEW AND RE-ORGANISATION COMMISSION.
Returned to resume as member P.S.C from 1990 till retirement in 1997.
(1) While at GIMPA – obtained MASTER & DOCTOR of PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION Degrees at the University of Southorn California, Los Angeles:
1964 – 1966 - M.P.A
1968 – 1970 - DR. P.A.
(2) While with Public Services Commission (after Uganda) Enrolled as mature student at Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon for a 1-year Diploma in Theology Course. (1992 – 1993)
(3) Was ORDAINED Presbyterian Minister in November, 1993 and currently serving as an Attached Minister with PCG Congregation at Nungua.
PRESEC is the leading secondary school in Ghana. It regularly had one of the best GCE O - level and A - level results prior to the change of the national examination system to BECE and SSSCE. The graduates of its institutions regularly gain admission to the most competitive courses in the various universities.
- In 1995, PRESEC, won the 2nd edition of the National Science and Math Quiz competition. PRESEC, Southern Sector Champions, defeated Opoku Ware School, Northern Sector Champion in the Final of Finals.
- In 1999, PRESEC scooped four out of the seven WAEC (West African Examinations Council) awards for the very best individual performances in the final examinations for over 500 Secondary Schools. This was a feat that has still not been equaled to this date.
The 2002 PRESEC Civic Education Club handing over ceremony. On the right are the class of 2002 executives led by Yaw Boakye-Yiadom, Club President, (tallest) handing over to the class of 2003 executives. Looking on are former PRESEC headmaster J. J. Asare, NCCE officials, local club patron Oromasis Abbey
- In 2002, at the National Constitution Quiz organized by the National Commission for Civic Education, PRESEC represented by the PRESEC Civic Education Club emerged victorious. The club was led by Yaw Boakye-Yiadom a science student.
- In 2003, PRESEC repeated the feat of 1995 by defeating Opoku Ware School in the National Science and Math Quiz competition. The gentlemen who represented the school were Michael Gbipki, Reza Abdullah and Elorm Sekyi. Michael Gbikpi went on to chalk the overall best performance in the WAEC (West African Examinations Council) SSSCE examinations that year.
- On 1 July 2006,PRESEC won the prestigious National Science and Maths Quiz for a third time. The school was given the competition trophy for keeps. The lads that made history for PRESEC and the competition were Timothy Kotin, Roland Ribeiro and Kofi Seffah. PRESEC defeated St. Peters' Secondary School, then defending champions, in the final.
Presec wins NIIT
- On 16 June 2008,NIIT Ghana successfully organised the Inter-school ICT Quiz contest at The Great Hall, Kumasi which showcased the best talent from five Regions of Ghana. A total of 78 schools participated from these regions in various regional qualifying rounds to make it to the mega-finals. One winner from every region, contested for the National Title of NIIT ICT Expert 2008 in Kumasi. And as expected, PRESEC, emerged the ultimate champions- NIIT ICT Expert 2008 Winners beating the regional champions: St. James Seminary SHS, Sunyani (Brong-Ahafo), Opoku Ware School, Kumasi (Ashanti Region), St. Augustine’s College, Cape Coast (Central Region) and Baidoo Bonsoe SHS, Takoradi (Western Region). The boys, who outdistanced the 2nd Prize winners Opoku Ware School by an astonishing 1020 points, were the first year students John Kotey Kotei and Peter O'Hara Adu.
- On 8 July 2008, PRESEC again won the National Science and Math Quiz for a 4th time. The lads that made history for PRESEC were William Dove, Daniel Yeboah-Kordieh, Roland Krieger and George Blankson cementing the school's status as the best secondary school in Ghana by once again defeating Opoku Ware School in the final.This made it the 3rd time PRESEC has defeated OPOKU WARE in GRAND FINAL, although they also has a very superior all-time record against their rivals PREMPEH COLLEGE as far as SCIENCE QUIZ is concerned,not forgetting the recent famous humiliating defeat they handed to PREMPEH in a 96-46 SCORE.On 24 June 2009, not only did PRESEC win the prestigious quiz competition for a fifth time, but also, they became the first school ever to successfully defend their title as National Champions. PRESEC defeated Achimota Senior High School in the final. The gentlemen who made history for PRESEC were Jeffrey Asala, Frank Adu-Poku and Prosper Dzidzienyo.
- In 2010, two PRESEC students, Joseph Asare and Samuel Amoako-Frimpong, represented Ghana and won a bronze medal in the International Junior Science Olympiad, out of 35 countries across the world.
- In 2010, two PRESEC students were honoured at the WASSCE 2009 Excellence Awards Ceremony. They were Frank Adu-Poku who was adjudged the Best Candidate in the General Science Program, the National Best Candidate and then the Overall Best Candidate in West Africa; James Nti Omane was also adjudged the Overall Best in the Business Program.
- On 13 May 2011, PRESEC won the VRA 50th Anniversary Inter-Schools Debate Competition beating Mfantsipim School in the finals of the competition.
- September 2011, PRESEC won the Sprite Ball Inter-Schools Basketball Championship, defeating defending champions, Achimota School 10-8 in the finals.
Presec wins Coke Hits
- On 2 September 2011, PRESEC won the maiden edition of the Coke Hit Single. The competition featured musical talents from 32 senior high schools who vied for the ultimate title of "Coke Hit Single" - Best high school musical talents in Ghana.
- In March 2013, during the WASSCE 2012 Excellence Awards, Michael Siaw Larbi did the school proud once again by being adjudged the Overall Best Candidate in the General Arts Program in the West African Examinations Council's examinations (West African Examinations Council) conducted throughout the West African sub-region; in a year where the Council recorded its highest number 'ever' of candidates meeting its minimum eligibility criterion for the excellence awards, that is 8 grade A1s - (530 candidates out of the total 174,385 candidates who sat for the May/June WASSCE in 2012).
The Legon campus started with four student boarding houses. Three were named after notable Presbyterians. These are Kwansa House, Clerk House and Engmann House The fourth was named Akro House after the people of Krobo at Odumase. The next two houses to be built were Riis House and Labone House. With the completion of the National Science College buildings, more houses were added such as Ako Adjei House and Owusu-Parry House (Named after the First Senior Prefect).Another house, yet to be named admitted its first residents in September 2010.Currently[when?] a new house is being built which is the tenth house in the School