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03.06.2005 General News

First School In Ghana In Ruins

First School In Ghana In Ruins

Cape Coast, June 03, (Chronicle) -- GOVERNMENT and big shots in Cape Coast, the historic educational city, have neglected the Philip Quaque Anglican Boys School, the first elementary school in Ghana and perhaps in West Africa, leaving the school in complete state of ruin.

Most of the roofs of the school, which was built in 1765, have been ripped off while ceilings of classrooms have collapsed.

The staff common room had diminished leaving a tiny structure as remnant of the once buoyant environment which harbours all teaching staff. This impedes teaching and learning activities.

Speaking to The Chronicle in an interview yesterday, Mr. Robert P. Anderson, the headmaster of the school, said he had persistently informed educational authorities, as well as the municipal assembly, to preserve the ancient edifice by renovating it but nothing had happened.

“My predecessors, Paul D. Asibu and Mrs. Matilda Amo, did whatever they could to restore the beauty of the school but nobody minded them,” Anderson lamented.

According to Mr. Anderson, two years ago, the ceiling of one of the classrooms fell on pupils, injuring one Master Jones, then in JSS Two, in the eye, which compelled the poor school to spent over ¢100,000 on medication.

Just yesterday one of the metal pillars supporting the structure fell down, while classes were in progress causing great fear and panic among teachers and pupils.

A similar event occurred two weeks ago, the headmaster reiterated.

Beside these problems, the school also faces indiscriminate refuse disposal in front of its premises, thus causing environmental hazards to the pupils.

Philip Quarcoo School, which was established over 200 years ago, has produced high calibre state officials, including the current Speaker of Parliament, Right Honourable Ebenezer Begyina Sakyi Hughes, Dr. Sam Jonah, President of Anglogold Ashanti and a former member of Council of State, Nana Prah Agyensaim.

Located near the shores of the sparkling Atlantic Ocean, the school once served as an army barracks during the Sir Garnett Wolseley's, 1873 to 1874 war that was popularly called the Sagrenti War campaign against the then Ashanti kingdom.

At another time in the history of the country, the school served as barracks for the West African Frontier Force, before it was moved to Takoradi in the Western Region.

The building had seen many actions and endured heavy weather for over two centuries without renovation.

Meanwhile, Mr. Anderson has appealed to government to allocate funds through the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund) to assist in renovating the school, since the municipal assembly is incapable of raising funds for its renovation.

None of the local self help groups or NGOs with an agenda to assist Cape Coast has been active on the problems of the school, but according to Mr. Kofi Coomson, an indigene , it would be very much a welcome idea if Cape Coast people in privileged positions can pass a collection box to raise funds to fix this problem and not lean on Government all the time. ' I think this offers an opportunity for the Oguaman Union for example which has the Oguaahene as patron and which boasts of distinguished Cape Coasters and major players from the community like Dr. Phillips, Churcher, Butler, Kofi Bucknor to fix this historical and educational symbol of Cape.'

Readers would recall that The Chronicle in its Wednesday June 1 edition captured a similar story about poor environmental situation at the Antamu Municipal Authority Primary and Junior Secondary School in the Cape Coast Municipality, which had forced some parents to withdraw their wards.