Sixth Form, the precursor of the Advanced Level School Certificate Programme, was introduced at Achimota School in 1949, and subsequently extended to other secondary schools in Ghana (the Gold Coast).

In 1951, some of the pioneer students in this Programme established a discussion group for the purpose of discussing matters of national and international interest. It should be pointed out that 1951 was a year of great expectations in the Gold Coast. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was installed as Leader of Government Business under the Coussey Constitution in that year, a historic step, which heralded the progression of Ghana and, indeed of Africa, into the era of political independence. Students in those days engaged in passionate discussions and debates on high matters of state and current international affairs. The Sixth Form Discussion Group published its own Journal known as “The Light”.

The above picture captures eighteen of these young adults who were preparing themselves for some form of tertiary education but with no clue as to where their hopes and dreams of further education or professional training would materialize, apart from the University College of the Gold Coast.

The University College of the Gold Coast was established in 1948 and offered degrees in the basic subjects in the humanities and the sciences. However, there were no professional schools at the College.

Kumasi College of Technology was established in 1950 with rudimentary facilities for engineering. This meant that any student aspiring to read medicine, law, the various branches of engineering and other professional subjects could only entertain the hope that he or she would win a scholarship to study overseas.

As it turned out, most of the eighteen students eventually studied at tertiary institutions throughout the world and pursued careers which were highly improbable when they were at Achimota. A number of factors contributed to this.

The Gold Coast Government traditionally provided a limited number of scholarships for medical training in the UK. In 1952, the opportunities for medical training were vastly expanded when the Cocoa Marketing Board initiated its novel programme of offering medical and science scholarships tenable in Germany.

Secondly, the Government in 1951 abandoned its earlier policy of withholding scholarships for legal training in the UK. Until then legal education was only available to students from affluent families who could afford to send their wards to the UK to read law.

The result of these developments is that the 18 students received a diverse international education from the Gold Coast, UK, US, Germany and other countries and eventually pursued careers which were virtually inconceivable to them as students.

Three of them studied medicine in Germany. Of these Hiadzi became Professor of surgery at KNUST, Samuel Opoku was a private physician in Kumasi, while Ohene-Asa served for some time at Tetteh Quarshie Hospital, Mampong Akwapim before returning to Germany. Of the four students who studied medicine in UK. Hudson was an orthopedic surgeon at Korle-Bu; Andani Andan qualified as a surgeon and served as head of the Police Hospital, Accra, before going into private practice in Kumasi; Anoff was a pediatrician at the Military Hospital, where a ward is named after him; and Asafu-Adjaye qualified as a physician. Ofori-Boateng studied law in the UK and served as a Supreme Court Judge and an Electoral Commissioner. S.K.B. Asante read law in UK and United States and became Solicitor-General of Ghana, Director of the UN Centre on Transnational Corporations, New York and President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Gyening studied veterinary science in the UK and became Chief Veterinary Officer in Ghana.

EMK Aidam qualified as an engineer in the UK and became a top corporate executive.

Those who went to the University College of the Gold Coast included E.D. Offori who studied Zoology and after receiving a doctorate in the UK, taught at Achimota and eventually served as an entomologist at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Geneva; Tettey Lartey, who after reading English, worked as a broadcaster with BBC in London; Fred Gadzekpo who read Economics and became a top business executive and Jibidar who studied French before working abroad. Incidentally two members of the group, Andani Andan and Asante, were installed as Paramount Chiefs while practicing their professions.

The picture also reflects Achimota’s celebrated policy of admitting students from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Offori, Gadzekpo, Aidam, Hiadzi and Kugbe came from the Trans Volta, now Volta; Opoku, Agyei, Asafu-Adjaye and Asante hailed from Ashanti; Tettey Lartey and Sackey from Accra, Gyening from Akim Oda; Ohene-Asa, Ofori Boateng and Anoff from Akwapim; Andani Andan from Northern Territories, Hudson from Central Region and Jibidar from Togoland.

These Sixth Form pioneers made their contribution not only in Ghana but also to the international community. E.D. Offori served with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Geneva, Ofori Boateng worked with UNEP in Nairobi for a while; Ohene-Asa spent a part of his medical career in Germany; Tettey-Lartey served with the BBC London, Jibidar worked outside of Ghana and S.K.B. Asante’s international career took him to the World Bank Washington DC, UNCTC New York and to universities in the USA and UK.

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Last updated at : 16 January,2019
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