T. I. Ahmadiyya Senior High School
T. I. Ahmadiyya Senior High School Website
Between 1948 and 1952, three secondary schools sprang up in the Ashanti Region, all of them sited in Kumasi, the region’s capital. In order of seniority (that is, the date of establishment), these were Prempeh College, T. I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School and Opoku Ware. What made T. I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School different was that, while Prempeh and Opoku Ware were Christian mission schools. The school was founded by a Muslim organization, the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, now more popularly known in the country as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission. This was at a time when, rather regrettably, some Muslims thought that taking your child to “the white man’s school” was the surest way for the child to go to hell after death. To the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, however, setting up “White men’s schools” was in line with the Holy Quran’s teaching about the a1quisition of knowledge. Not long after the first Pakistani Missionary of the Mission arrived at Saltpond, the Mission’s first primary school was founded. That was some 77 years ago. In March 2001, T. I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School will be celebrating its Golden Jubilee. How has the school fared? The decision to establish a secondary school was taken without too much sweat. What presented initial problems was the decision on where to site the school. After much discussion, the final decision was taken to site the school in Kumasi. The beginning was not so hopeful. Funding for establishing the school came from the meagre contributions of members of the Mission, not a very large group back then, and assistance from the Missions headquarters in Rabwah Pakistan. Structurally, it was no better. The Mission “borrowed” two classrooms from its Primary School at Asafo, Kumasi near the Ropoks Café’. It was not until 1954 that the school moved to its present site near the Kumasi Sports Stadium. Right from the beginning, the school threw its doors open to both sexes, to students of different ethnic groups. Religion and nationality. But there were problems. It should be noted that, in addition to their duties as administrators, the Principal and the Vice principal also taught classes. Dr. Ahmad taught Geography and English Literature while Mr. Saud Ahmad taught English Language and History. Both did a very good job. One other problem is worth mentioning. When the school started, Sunday was a working day for the school while Friday was declared a holiday. After some time, this arrangement did not go down well with the non-Muslim teachers, who were in a majority, anyway. As result, at one time, the school ran a four – day – week. Friday was still off, Saturday was naturally a common holiday while Sunday was a holiday for the Christians. The problem was to be resolved later when an extra period was added to periods from Monday to Thursday while Friday became a working day but with fewer periods. Initially, there was no rush to obtain admission to the school partly due to the Sunday classes and partly due to prejudice born of ignorance. The fact is that there were still those who thought that only Islam was taught at the school. Teachers sometimes told interesting stories of people wondering how they (the teachers) could teach in a Muslim school when they know neither Arabic nor Hausa Even today, almost fifty years after the establishment of the school, it is not uncommon for people to ask whether other subjects are taught in the school. They do not ask whether you have to be a Roman Catholic before you can become the headmaster or students of Opoku Ware School. But get introduced to a stranger and the likely question is how you cold be the head of a Muslim secondary school. Some are not even aware that the school has been government – assisted since 1956, a full 43 years. One prejudice that dies hard has to do with some people’s perception of the school as an abode of indiscipline and violence. Some people gape in surprise when they are told that since its founding in 1950, the school has never witnessed the kind of mindlessly – violent and destructive demonstration for which some other schools have gained notoriety. But that is the truth of course; the school has had its fair share of agitation from time to time since 1954 when the first protest occurred. Fortunately, the school has been spared the kind of mayhem that has often led to the closure of some school and the sending home of students. For example, in the spate of violent demonstration that hit schools in Ashanti in 1992, an unpleasant situation that led to a special meeting of the Regional security Council, the school was an oasis of calm. Agitations during the headship of the first two Ghanaians headmasters, Mr. T. A. Boateng and Mr. Y. K. Effah, and during my time in 1994 were peacefully attended to.
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