Cape Coast, like the city-state of Bonn, holds the nation’s histories from sports to academics. Sadly, Philip Quaque Boys School is now a death trap for Cape Coast pupils who currently attend school there.
The school carries the history of Ghana, with a plethora of the nations’ brains emerging from it. Rt. Hon. Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi-Hughes (was the Speaker of the Ghanaian parliament between 2005 and 2009), Nana Ato Dadzie (former Chief of Staff under ex-President Jerry John Rawlings regime ) and a host of others dignitaries like the Oguaa Omanhen, Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, have benefitted immensely from this school.
Regardless of the brains, this school has trained, it is very depressing to note that the school is now in a horrible state.
History of the School and how it has become a death trap.
Some few metres away from the Cape Coast Castle stands the ancient educational facility.
Philip Quaque (1741 to 1816), sometimes referred to as Philip Quacoe, a pioneering educator and evangelist, was the first African Anglican missionary in the Gold Coast.
He was the son of Birempon Cudjoe, a successful caboceer (chief) of Cape Coast, and was educated by the Rev. Thomas Thompson, the first missionary from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (S.P.G.), who arrived in the Gold Coast in 1752.
He opened a school in Cape Coast (formally called Government Boys School, now Philip Quaque Boys School and Philip Quaque Girls School) for the town’s children, and since he wanted to train teachers for his school, he sent Philip Quaque, Thomas Cobbers, and William Cudjoe to England in 1754 to be educated.
After visiting Anomabo, he decided to open a small private school for mulatto children in his own room in Cape Coast Castle. The only black children who might also have attended this school from the outside were probably children of wealthy Africans.
The pattern of education was based on the English charity school system of Islington. Quaque gave religious instruction and taught reading and writing; arithmetic was taught only when the children could read very well.
The Cape Coast school aimed at training clerks for the “Public Office.” By 1797 there were three African “writers” working for the Committee of Merchants in the Cape Coast, and these are believed to have passed through Quaque’s School.
The school was maintained jointly by the Committee of Merchants and the S.P.G. through its committee in London. Later, responsibility for the maintenance of the school was entrusted to a local educational authority called the Torridzonian Society which was formed in the Cape Coast in 1787, and to which Quaque belonged.
The main aim of this society was to improve the school and transform it into a good boarding school. Under the society’s direction, the school became the first on the Gold Coast to introduce school uniforms for its pupils.
Prior to naming it Philip Quaque Boys school, it was referred to as the Government Boys’ School until it was relocated to its present site and named after the founder in recognition of his work. Since its creation in 1765, It has been 250 years since it was renamed in 1765.
According to school authorities, the present school campus was initially used as a military barracks by the British soldiers (West African Frontier) after World War II.
Due to the purpose of its construction, its architectural design was not meant for schooling. Had it not been for the closure of some of its doors, one could see the end of the building from one end through the corridor.
The building is situated just a stone’s throw away from the Gulf of Guinea but the voice of the sea is hushed by the school’s ancient fence wall. The atmosphere was conducive for learning.
Philip Quaque Boys school under threat
In a televised video on Nyanis TV, one’s face is greeted with an unpleasant view of a dilapidated structure that is only a recipe for disaster. The walls are cracked, with almost all the roofing ripped off.
With the recent rainfalls, the building collapsed to the ground leaving the space to the bare ground.
Below is a video of the recent happenings. Click the link to watch the full video.
Sources: obcommunication.com and Nyanis TV
Reference: Daily Graphic and F. L. Bartels, “Philip Quaque 1741-1816,” in Transactions of the Gold Coast and Togoland Historical Society , Vol. 1, Part V, Achimota, 1955;