A GNA feature by Laudia Nunoo Sawer
Kpone (GAR), Jan. 13, GNA - The rain was pouring heavily and a gridlock had ensnared the Tema-Aflao highway.
Like most drivers, I took the painful decision of using the rough and dusty but now muddy back roads of the Devtraco Courts towards Kpone.
During this adventure, I spotted a little girl, aged about six years walking briskly in the rain with a back pack firmly in place.
My conscience pricked me to offer a lift. Just as she was comfortably seated, I heard loud chorus: “Madam, madam, madam can we also join.”
Four boys, resplendent in yellow and blue uniforms, almost drenched, also jumped in as we had a long conversation about their school.
They all attend the Kpone Methodist Basic School, the first in the area but quite hidden and brazen although it has been around for the past one hundred years.
Located in the heart of the town (Kpone or Kpone-on-sea), it has an uncompleted wall almost around it with a small portion painted yellow. It's many classrooms sprawl on a big dusty compound enveloped in an aura which serves as a memorial to missionary education in the community.
Kpone-on-sea is a fishing town and the seat of the Kpone-Katamanso Municipality.
Establishment of the first school in Kpone
The Methodist Primary School was opened on Monday, March 18, 1918 as an infant school for the first three years as it enrolled less than 40 pupils with its founder, Catechist T.T.O. Amanquah and only teacher, who was also in charge of the Methodist Church.
Classes were held in the Methodist Chapel. There was no need for a partition as only one man taught the various classes. As local interest grew in the acquisition of formal education, enrollment increased so they had to make use of the mission house’s veranda for its junior school.
The Amanquah Family
History of the school has it that Catechist Amanquah saw the need to educate the children of Kpone and therefore established a school using the church facilities.
Mr Amanquah’s passion and zeal to educate the Kpone people was deeply appreciated especially by his family and the local traditional council that even after his demise, plans were made to ensure that his dream survived him.
Mr Jonas Nartey Amanquah, a brother of the founder, was impressed and enthused with the vision of the school and donated their family land for the construction of the first classroom block of the school.
Another sibling, Mr Atta Amanquah, also took the mantle from his brothers and ensured the sustenance of the school.
He took the responsibility of a lifetime PTA chairman for decades before his demise. The school fondly remembers him for bequeathing his residence to the Home Science Department.
The school relocated from the church to its present location in 1950 when a school building was constructed by the natives of Kpone.
Mr J.D. Amankwah, became the first head teacher of the Kpone D.C. Methodist School when it was separated from the ‘A’ in the 1967/68 academic year after it was opened as the ‘B’ stream in October 1963 when enrolment in the Methodist Primary School exceeded a single stream.
Kpone Methodist Middle School (JHS)
The history of the school indicated that Kpone State Council opened a middle school in January 1952, but it was disapproved and closed down by the Minister of Education. Approval was however given in 1953 for the council to privately run it while final year students of the school were allowed to sit the Middle School Leaving Certificate Examination.
The Methodist Education Unit in 1959, decided to take over the Kpone State Middle School starting from form one.
In 1987, all middle schools in Ghana were turned into Junior Secondary Schools by the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government which reverted the four year tenure of completion to three years.
The school’s name was thus changed to Kpone Methodist Junior Secondary School and subsequently Kpone Methodist Junior High School.
The Kpone Methodist Primary School and the Junior High Secondary School were merged in 2013 to become the Kpone Methodist Basic School. Before then, the school was split into ‘A’ and ‘B’ streams.
The merger brought the two streams under a single umbrella, with a common mission, vision and core values under the current head teacher, Ms. Juliana Asante Sarpong.
It currently has a student population of 1,529, teaching staff of 35, and six supporting staff. It hopes to obtain a model status by the year 2020.
The school, according to its administration and folklore, has improved in terms of infrastructural development in recent times. These include the construction of a computer laboratory, a canteen and fencing of the school, which is ongoing.
It has produced boys and girls who have ably represented the Greater Accra Region in sports competitions.
Culture is the bedrock of the school due to its location within the Kpone traditional set up.
It can also boost of an Army Cadet and brass band which provide music for contingents of school children to march during the municipality’s independence celebrations.
Teachers of Kpone Methodist Basic School are proud of their products as they noted that most of them passed with distinctions in the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) and have gained admission to Ghana’s -elite senior high schools including Mfantsipim, Mfantsiman, Achimota,Accra Academy and Krobo Girls.
The school is proud to produce Miss Amanquah Dede-Wayo, who was adjudged the best student in the Kpone Katamanso Municipality for 2017.
Among its prominent old students is Dr Samuel Nii Noi Ashong, a principal lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and a Board Member of the Bank of Ghana and a former Minister of State at the Finance Ministry under President John Agyekum Kufuor.
Dr Ashong narrated how he got enrolled at the school at a tender age of five after he pressurized his father to send him to school.
He has fond memories of his classmates, teachers and head teacher as well as the academic and general life experiences from Kpone Methodist which he said shaped him throughout his schooling and working life.
To maintain its position as the first school to be established in Kpone, the old students of the school must vigorously and consciously support the school by providing some of its needs as well as mentor and encourage the students to obtain more academic laurels.
The Methodist Education Unit, Kpone-Katamanso Municipal Assembly, Kpone Traditional Council, Ghana Education Service and the many companies operating in the town must support the school to become a true pacesetter in the area.