A Brief of Presbyterian College of Education
The Presbyterian College of Education, Akropong (PCE) formerly known as Presbyterian Training College (PTC), Akropong, established on the 3rd July 1848 by the Basel Evangelical Society is the first and oldest institution of higher learning in Ghana and second only to the Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone. This great initiative was taken after the death of seven earlier missionaries, leaving alone Andreas Riis, who was later returned to Basel in 1840. Riis’s second coming with some Jamaicans was successful and the first preparatory school was established in Akropong – Akuapem in 1844. With the increase in the number of pupils at the preparatory school, the need for specially trained teachers was highly sought for in 1847. As a means of obtaining these teachers, a Seminary was established in 1848 with five pioneer students and Rev. Johann Dieterie as the first Principal.
The main aim of the Seminary was to give teachers a sound, generally and basic education as well as attitudes and skills to live shining and exemplary lives. To those teachers, discipline was the key and that reflected even in the style of their haircuts. Of course, those teachers carried with them Basel Missionary training which was then flowing in their blood.
The pioneers of PCE were responsible for the expansion of basic schools in the then Gold Coast. The products of those basic schools established by the pioneers also became the products of the first Secondary Schools established in the country. The College also provided staff for the University College of the Gold Coast, when it was first established in 1948, 100 years after PCE was established. The PCE has also contributed to the development of various aspect of national life, such as the development of Ghanaian Languages, Sports, Religion and Computer training, hence the name “Mother of Our Schools”.
The PCE, Mother of Our Schools has since 1848, grown in size, seen academic excellence and acquired many structural developments. The school population has increased from five men to over 1,800 men and women. Indeed, it’s worth noting that, the Mother of Our Schools started as a male institution until its status was converted into co-educational in 1958 with the admission of 17 women under Rev. Noel Smith, the last white Principal of the College.
In 1860, the first permanent buildings of two floors were constructed. In the 1920s many structural changes took place in the College. The then Governor of the Gold Coast, Governor Guggisburg, who had an interest in education, influenced the beginning of the building of many more blocks which are now known as the castle blocks. The Staff Bungalows, Assembly Hall and an Administration Block were constructed in 1950 under the Scottish Administration.
A six-classroom block, new male dormitory block, female dormitory and staff bungalows were also completed between 1957 and 1979. The ultimate of all the structural development was the 1948 Chapel, called the “Centenary Building” built of stones by Tutors and Students during the administration of Dr. Noel Smith.
Currently, a new Science Laboratory, a Library, Classroom Blocks, an Assembly Hall Complex, 16 Flat Staff Bungalow, New Administration Building, Beautification, expansion of the College road network have been constructed as part of the upgrading of the College to a tertiary institution and to benefit the status of the College as the Mother of Our Schools.
The Demonstration schools
The PCE demonstration primary school was established in 1929 as practising school for PCE students. The school was the brain child of Rev. William Fergusson, Principal from 1929 – 1937.
On 4th February, 1929, Rev. Fergusson went to the Presby Junior School and made a request for twenty pupils each from classes 1 – 3 to enable him start a new Primary School on PCE Campus. His request granted, Rev. Fergusson marched the jubilant pupils to start what is now PCE demonstration Primary/JHS with Prof. Kwamena Po as the first headteacher.
In academic work, PCE has transcended exceedingly. As a mother, she has always been a forerunner and pathfinder in the educational set up in Ghana. Over the years, PCE has run various programmes for her students. Some of these were the early five and six-year programmes to produce all-round Teacher/Catechists, a Three-Year training and One-Year catechist courses in the early 1923 – 1927. Then a Two-Year Post-Secondary course, Specialist Certificate courses for Mathematics and Science teachers, Three-Year Post-Secondary course, a Three-Year Diploma in Basic Education course and now, Four-Year Bachelor of Education Programmes.
Among the unique feature of PCE is the training of persons with disability. The College was the first to start training of visually impaired in 1945. The training started when the Principal of the College from 1937 to 1947, Mr. Douglas Benzies, assembled a number of blind children and started teaching them how to read and write with the braille. It was that effort which was to mark the beginning of the Special Education Unit in the College in 1945. For now, PCE remains the only College of Education which trains both visually and hearing impaired.
The founding fathers of PCE, the Basel missionaries, which included men like Johannes, Chrysteller, Zimmerman and Dr. Rapp, were interested in the development of the orthography of indigenous Ghanaian languages like Twi, Ga and Ewe. Their aim, then, was to make it possible for their converts to read the bible. Their effort provided the basics later for old students of the College like C.A. Akrofi and Prof. Nketia to build on and produce great literary works in Akan.
The PCE, through the missionaries, first introduced cocoa which is up till today our major cash crop and foreign exchange earner for Ghana. The missionaries even successfully planted and processed some beans to beverages long before Tetteh Quarshie went to Fernando Po, the island where he is known to have brought cocoa from. Tetteh Quarshie worked for one of the Missionaries at the College compound and therefore knew about cocoa before he left for the island of Fernando Po and having seen what he already knew in PCE and for that matter Ghana, it was natural for him to have brought some back. PCE therefore brought Cocoa to Ghana and Tetteh Quarshie commercialized Cocoa in Ghana.
The PCE was the first to introduce football and volleyball in educational institution in Ghana. No, wonder the College has Olympic-size stadium and has always been the overall best at the National Teacher Training Colleges Games as well as Colleges of Education Games over the years. In fact, during sporting games, it was PCE versus the rest.
A new direction of PCE
In 2017, the College was accredited to run Degree programmes by the National Accreditation Board and this, is on-going.
Interesting historical titbits
Did you know that;
· One of the pioneers of P.C.E was Jamaican and that P.C.E was once a men’s College?
· The first Europeans who settled in Akropong all died with the exception of, Andreas Riis, who contributed to the establishment of P.C.E?
· The College became co-educational in 1958? The College Chapel was built by students and tutors and was commissioned in 1956.
· P.C.E became purely Teacher Training College from 1951?
· The College with only 5 students. The first School for Blind in the whole West Africa sub-region was started on P.T.C grounds?
· Rev. Dr. Noel Smith was the last white Principal of the College; he recently visited the College with his wife in October 2002?
· Rev. E.A. Asamoa was the first Ghanaian Principal of the College from 1963-1965?
· The former head coach of the black stars E.K. Afrane was a student of P.C.E?
· P.C.E has even produced a PRESIDENT for Ghana, His Excellency E. Akufo Addo. President of the 2nd republic?
· Moderators of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana from 1918 to 1994 all attended P.C.E?
· Nana Sir Ofori Atta I, a member of the Legislative Council also attended P.C.E?
· The First Speaker of Ghanaian Parliament, Sir Emmanuel Quist was a student of P.C.E?
· St. Andrew college and Komenda training college were nursed in P.C.E before were relocated at their present sites?
· P.C.E is the only College that trains hearing and visually challenge when it comes to Teacher Training Education?
· Dr. Ephraim Amu was once a tutor in the College; he was dismissed for preaching in a traditional cloth in the Chapel?
· Former Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Patience Addow was a student of the College and was among the first batch of females when the College became co-educational?
· The College Seminary was founded in temporary accommodation in 1848 under the leadership of Rev. Johann Dieterie who was the first Principal of the College?
· After the Basel mission was deported 1918 just after the World War I, the Gold Coast Government invited the Scottish Missionaries to take over the Administration of the College in 1919?
· The late Rev. Sintim Misa, one time Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, remarked during the 125th anniversary of the College; “Education is an instrument for social change and P.C.E is undeniably the institution that has contributed immeasurably to social changes in Ghana”. It is equally the place from where have come not only social change, but also deeply religious products. It has therefore made a unique contribution to the development of our country?
· Tutors who had started their earliest careers at P.C.E. went out in the 1950s and 60s to handle newly – established Training College as Principals?
· P.C.E. has up to date produced about Twenty Thousand teachers who have gone out to work in all parts of the country from south to north, east to west and the immense contribution the products of the College have made socially, economically and academically to the general growth and development of the country cannot be overemphasized?
· The list of P.C.E success s stories is interminable because of the host of the product who perused other professions and became lawyers, architects and medical doctors, farmer’s, soldiers and chiefs?
· P.C.E has also produced traditional rulers like Nana Kwasi Akufo I, Nana Osei Ofori Atta I and Nana Boache Tromo III, who were or are still paramount chiefs of their areas?
· P.C.E has produced for the nation countless Professors for the universities, prominent among them are Prof. Ablade Glover, Prof. M. Kwamena, Poh, Prof. Emeritus C. G. Baeta. One time commissioner of Police and Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. A.A. Beeko, was a student of the college?
· Mr. S.K. Akoto, Mr. Alfred Kye and Mr. T.K. Agadzi, well – known legal practitioners are all the products of the college.
· Musical composers like Prof. J.H. Nketia, Rev. Dr. Otto Boateng, and Mr. J.M.T. Dosoo, Dr. Geoffrey Boateng, Mr. Onwona Osafo, Prof. S. Asiamah were all products of the College?
· Some members of the College Choir, including the current Dean of Students, Mr. Ralph Amoah Offei, visited Scotland to participate in competition in September 1997?